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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Obamacare is an unhealthy prescription

Governor Scott Walker
By Scott Walker

Scott Walker, a Republican, is the governor of Wisconsin.

Since the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s health-care mandate, there has been exhaustive discussion about the philosophical basis of this federal law. As Election Day approaches, debate will surely grow about the proper role of our federal government.

But while much attention has focused on Congress’s intention to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act, too few are studying the law’s practical impact. The best place to see the effects of the law is in our nation’s laboratories, the states. Although the Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of the act, Wisconsin shows that it is bad policy.

The budget I signed into law last year increased state taxpayer spending on Medicaid by $1.2 billion in our biennial budget, which works out to be one of the largest annual increases in the country. While many states slashed Medicaid funding to deal with budget deficits, we made the biggest investment in the program in Wisconsin’s history.

By putting in place the long-term structural changes needed to make our budget sustainable, we ensured that those who truly need assistance would continue to have access to affordable and quality health care well into the future.

The good news is that responsible budgeting has put our state in a fairly unique position: Nearly 91 percent of Wisconsin residents have health insurance. According to the latest nationally available data, only three states have higher rates of coverage.

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