Democrats hear from residents during medicaid town hall at UW-Stevens Point

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -- Governor Tony Evers, Congressman Ron Kind and Representative Katrina Shankland held a town hall discussion about medicaid expansion on Friday at UW-Stevens Point.

Democrats are in favor of accepting the federal funds to expand medicaid in the state and they say so is most of Wisconsin. "70-percent of people of Wisconsin in an independent poll say they want to have medicaid expansion and we learned today exactly why that number is so high," said Governor Tony Evers.

Democrats say the expansion would bring $1.6 billion of federal funding to the state resulting in $320 million in savings for taxpayers and coverage for more than 80,000 Wisconsinites.

Republicans say they are concerned the federal government will decrease its reimbursement leaving taxpayers to foot a larger bill for more people on medicaid.

Those who attended the democratic town hall agreed with lawmakers. "It helps everybody. It helps the old and it helps the very young. Like I told the Governor I haven't heard of state that has accepted this kind of expansion and changed their mind saying you know this didn't work for us. We're giving back these millions of dollars. I think it is a good thing for people to understand that most of us want this," said Reed Pomeroy, who came from La Crosse to attend the town hall.

In the end, any change would need to pass the Republican led state legislature. The Republican controlled budget committee voted the medicaid expansion down in early May.

Nothing is final until the governor signs the budget.