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Evers calls for Medicaid expansion to fight racial disparities, COVID-19

Evers calls for Medicaid expansion to fight racial disparities, COVID-19

Gov. Tony Evers reiterated his call for taking federal funds to expand Medicaid on Thursday, saying it would help address health disparities and those struggling in wake of COVID-19.

Evers called for “systemic change to address the disease of racism” in response to marches about the killing of African Americans by police. He noted that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on people of color.

African Americans make up 6 percent of the state’s population, but 19 percent of the total cases and 25 percent of the state’s deaths, Evers said.

Latinx make up 7 percent of Wisconsin’s population and make up 34 percent of the total cases and 10 percent of the deaths.

“One of the most important ways we can help work to address these racial disparities in health outcomes is by accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid,” he told reporters. “Not only would we be able to provide healthcare coverage for tens of thousands of people, but we would reinvest in our healthcare systems and local public health systems.”

Evers said that expanding Medicaid makes “good financial sense too,” as the state deals with COVID-19.

Republican lawmakers have long opposed the plan, with GOP leaders saying they prefer that people buy private health insurance and questioning the long-term sustainability of the expansion.

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