President Obama called on Gov. Scott Walker to join 31 governors who have expanded Medicaid, saying Walker can do it “with a stroke of his pen.”
“He’s denying Wisconsinites their ticket to health insurance, and it’s political,” Obama said Thursday at the United Community Center on the south side of Milwaukee.
Obama also slammed U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, for not telling Wisconsinites the real effect of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Doing so, Obama said, would lead to 20 million people nationwide getting “their health insurance taken away from them.”
But he said Milwaukee is “proof that the Affordable Care Act works,” highlighting the city’s victory in a White House challenge on Healthcare.gov enrollments. The city and county, he noted, used flyers, robocalls, libraries and partnered with Uber to get people enrolled in a plan.
The Milwaukee area enrolled 38,000 new people into the federal marketplace, or 75.2 percent of the 51,000 uninsured people who were eligible to enroll.
That helped bring up the total amount of enrollees in the area to about 89,000.
“That’s enough to fill Lambeau Field and still have a big tailgate party with a lot of folks outside,” Obama said. “Those tailgaters wouldn’t have to worry, because Obamacare covers indigestion for too many brats.”
A spokeswoman for Walker countered the state’s approach has meant everyone living in poverty is now covered through Medicaid without “exposing taxpayers to the potential liability under expanding ObamaCare.”
“If anyone thinks the federal government, which is currently $18 trillion in debt, will not renege on its future funding promises, they are not living in reality,” Laurel Patrick said.
Johnson, R-Oshkosh, did not directly respond to the president’s comments in a statement. Instead, he said 1,200 people in Milwaukee are losing their jobs “because Obamacare is driving a major health insurer out of the field.”
“We need to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that preserve patient freedom and choice, constrains cost increases, and improves access to higher quality care,” Johnson said.