The Scott Walker Triple Gainer

Yesterday Scott Walker finally announced his much-awaited decision about how to deal with the Medicaid expansion provided for in the Affordable Care Act. And he managed to come up with a “solution” that simultaneously lets him express solidarity with his nullification-minded soul-mates in the Deep South while increasing federal involvement in health insurance in his state and also costing Wisconsin taxpayers some serious money! Quite the triple-gainer, eh?

Here’s a basic explanation from Politico‘s Kyle Cheney:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, avowed Obamacare foe, proposed an ambitious plan Wednesday to cut his state’s uninsured population in half — by getting them covered through Obamacare.

The Republican announced that he is rejecting Medicaid expansion and the billions of federal dollars that would come with it. In fact, he’s proposing a net cut in the state Medicaid program.

Walker would take thousands of people currently on Wisconsin’s relatively generous Medicaid program — people who are above the federal poverty level — and move them into the Obamacare exchange instead, where they can get federally subsidized private insurance. Walker has already said he won’t run the exchange, requiring the federal government to take control instead.

Once that group is out of Medicaid, he’d permit more of the state’s poorest residents to come in. But overall, Medicaid enrollment would drop by about 5,400, according to estimates provided by Walker’s office.

The long and short of it is that by moving people who could have qualified for an expanded Medicaid program into the Obamacare exchanges, Walker is sacrificing the super-match made available by the feds for new Medicaid enrollees.

But hey, at the next Republican governors gathering Walker won’t be teased by the cool kids like Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry and Nikki Haley for buckling under to the Medicaid expansion.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.