Lack of Medicaid expansion leads to hundreds of deaths in state annually

By Timothy Shaw, M.D.
The Capital Times (Madison, Wis.), Letters, Dec. 26, 2016

Each time I pass a billboard displaying the number of Wisconsin traffic fatalities in the past year, I always have the same thought. How horrible for those people and their loved ones. As of Dec. 18 this year, Wisconsin has had 572 traffic fatalities.

Each year this death total closely correlates with the same number of unnecessary deaths due to treatable medical conditions Wisconsin has due to lack of health insurance. Wisconsin under Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled state Legislature opted out of Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Out of the 20 states that opted out of Medicaid expansion, 17 are controlled by Republican governors, and 18 by Republican state legislatures.

A public health actuarial study estimates that Wisconsin has between 139 and 671 (average 440) unnecessary medical deaths each year due to the lack of Medicaid expansion.

The United States is the only advanced civilized country without a guarantee of national health insurance. Other advanced countries spend less then the U.S. on health care, and provide health insurance to virtually all citizens.

These horrible unnecessary death statistics will worsen under continued Republican governance, as they do not have any idea or plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. No nation has ever achieved universal coverage without a strong governmental national health plan.

Dr. Timothy Shaw resides in Fitchburg.