On Friday September 30th, 2011 the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) released their proposed cuts to our Medicaid programs, such as BadgerCare. DHS Secretary Dennis Smith insists that if proposed changes are not implemented the state will be forced to cut services for over 53,000 adults enrolled in BadgerCare. This trigger was put in the budget by DHS themselves, with their own deadline of December 31st for a response from the federal Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While many advocacy groups have spent the last two weeks trying to determine exactly what individuals will be affected by the changes, many questions remain unclear and uncertain.
Due to these unanswered questions, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health joins the call for DHS to slow down the process so that public hearings can be held around the state to ensure that adequate public education and input is gained. DHS has created a spot on their website for Wisconsin residents to provide input, however, not all of the state’s citizens have access to this avenue, which is one of the reasons why public hearings are also important.
Furthermore, holding public hearings will encourage-and enable-Wisconsin residents to gain knowledge and information about the proposals. It is the responsibility of our elected officials to hold hearings to get input from real women and families who will ultimately be the ones affected by the changes. The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health believes it is important for our state’s health committees to hold said hearings, as their knowledge in healthcare policy is important and should be complimented with the voices of over 775,000 women and families who utilize the services vulnerable to proposed changes. We also encourage all of our state legislative leaders to hold legislative briefings in their own districts to maximize the opportunities for Wisconsinites to be informed and heard.