Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks at the American Action Forum, Jan. 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. 
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker plays a risky game on health care

“My wife is Type 1 diabetic,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) wrote in a tweet over the weekend. “My mother is a cancer survivor. My brother has a heart condition. Covering pre-existing conditions is personal to me. And it’s the right thing to do.”

There’s nothing wrong with the message, but it’s tough to take the messenger seriously. Walker, currently running for a third term as governor, has long been a fierce opponent of the Affordable Care Act, and he even ran on a presidential platform of destroying the health care reform law.

More recently, the Wisconsin Republican officially threw his support behind a dangerous lawsuit that would – you guessed it – gut protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The governor could end his support for the litigation at any time, but he hasn’t.

In other words, Walker’s re-election pitch asks voters to believe he’s secretly quite liberal on health care coverage, while also asking them to overlook most of what he’s said and done on the issue over the last decade.

What’s more, this is only part of a broader, dubious message. Politico  reported this morning:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sought for years to put Medicaid recipients to work. Now federal officials have given him most of what he wanted, but he’s delaying the process for fear the changes will doom his flailing reelection bid, say three federal officials familiar with the deliberations. […]

Walker’s formal request to the Trump administration last year to overhaul Medicaid included provisions that were more aggressive than those sought by other GOP states – part of the governor’s effort to roll back Wisconsin’s safety-net programs.

The Trump administration, by and large, gave Walker a green light, at which point he took his foot off the gas.

Politico quoted one official saying Wisconsin has been “stalling” on implementing regressive new Medicaid policies. “It’s ended up being a lot of hurry-up-and-wait.”

If Republicans were confident that their health care ideas would be successful and popular, wouldn’t they be far more eager to implement them?

Postscript: For the record, the Walker administration denies it’s slow-walking the policy, arguing that it’s still ironing out details. Politico’s federal sources clearly disagree.