Wisconsin’s approach to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had mixed results. However, because Wisconsin has a lower uninsured rate than any of the 18 other states that did not expand Medicaid when the ACA became law, the path taken by Wisconsin has generated interest outside the Badger state. Wisconsin is the only state that makes all adults below the poverty level eligible for Medicaid. Under the ACA, people above the poverty level are eligible for subsidized insurance plans through the Marketplace or “exchanges,” but those below the poverty level are not. As a result, there are significant coverage gaps in the 18 other “non-expansion” states. While that is not the case in Wisconsin, there is an “affordability gap” for some of the adults over the poverty level.
Wisconsin’s ACA implementation and partial Medicaid expansion have had several positive outcomes; however, when one considers how Wisconsin compares to the expansion states and what happened to parents who lost their BadgerCare eligibility in 2014, the Wisconsin record loses some of its luster.