Lost in yesterday's news that Wisconsin ranks dead last in the Midwest in job creation since Scott Walker took office and allegations from prosecutors that Scott Walker is at the center of an "expansive" criminal scheme came the unfortunate news that Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced the closure of the Family Planning Health Center in Fond du Lac after serving the community for 36 years.
The Fond du Lac clinic is the fifth health center closed by Planned Parenthood as a direct result of Scott Walker and his rubber-stamp legislature eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in the last budget cycle.
Last year, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin closed heath centers in Beaver Dam, Shawano, Johnson Creek and Chippewa Falls due to funding cuts by Scott Walker. In his latest budget, Walker eliminated all state funding for Planned Parenthood health centers in Wisconsin.
For the Fox Valley community, this week's closure means the loss of 7,448 health care services for 1,104 patients who relied on the clinic for alternative healthcare services. Individuals in the area, to include many patients in rural areas, will lose out on cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, annual exams, pregnancy tests, STD testing and treatment, and HIV screenings.
Walker has a history of basing healthcare decisions on his personal political interests rather than what's in the best interest of Wisconsin families. Walker's partisan decision to reject federal Medicaid funds has left Wisconsin alone in the Midwest in refusing to expand healthcare. Today, rural hospitals and patients are more than likely to be affected by his decision.
The federal expansion is funded, in part, by cutting reimbursement rates, meaning hospitals in states that have opted out won't see any of the federal expansion money available, but will still see their rates cut.In Wisconsin, our rural hospitals get zero Medicaid expansion dollars thanks to Walker. Our hospitals lose Medicare payments, and in turn, patients.
Rural areas are already less likely to have access to a wide range of medical services, which has economists like Tim McBride, a health economist with the Rural Policy Research Institute, shocked at the idea of not implementing the federal Medicaid expansion, telling hospital administrators and health care professionals at the recent conference "The truth is, this will be really important money for rural hospitals, rural health providers, rural communities.”
"Scott Walker's political ambition puts the healthcare of people in his own state at risk," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Friday. "Wisconsin deserves much better than this, and communities from Fond du Lac to Beaver Dam will get the healthcare they need with Mary Burke as Governor."