On Thursday, November 11th, Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) approved the Department of Health Service (DHS) waiver plan to cut over $500 million from Medicaid. This plan will kick 64,000 working Wisconsinites off BadgerCare and Medicaid.
Despite attempts from the public and advocacy groups to call on DHS for a transparent process and adequate public input, they held only two public hearings on the proposals prior to Thursday’s vote by JFC. This left many unanswered questions on how the proposals will be implemented as well as their overall effects.
The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, as part of the Save BadgerCare Coalition – a broad and diverse alliance of advocates from the public health, disability rights, women’s health, the aging community, and children’s health communities, along with working individuals and families that depend on Medicaid or BadgerCare for their health, well-being and economic security – held a press conference on Thursday in the Capitol in support of keeping a strong healthcare safety net in the state. They were joined by other supporters of BadgerCare and Medicaid as well as legislators and advocates. Families who support BadgerCare were invited by the Coalition to speak at the press conference on why keeping these programs affordable and accessible is important to their families.
Some of the cuts will have to be approved by the federal government in the form of “maintenance of effort” (MOE) waivers while others simply require plan amendments and other policy changes in order to implement. It is greatly unfortunate that, under this plan, there will be an increase in eligibility requirements, increase in premiums and an increase in the amount of uninsured Wisconsinites. Furthermore, the proposals make it more difficult for pregnant women to get timely access to prenatal care as well as kick young people off of affordable care, resulting in more costs in the private health insurance market.
Due to the unfortunate and quick-natured approach taken by Secretary Dennis Smith there have been, and will be more public hearings hosted by Democratic leaders in Wisconsin. These hearings will be held throughout the state to gain public opinion and provide information to those who will be affected by cuts to these programs. Hearings have already been held in La Crosse, Eau Claire, and Wausau. We hope and encourage all of the supporters and enrollees to attend a hearing in their area:
Oshkosh: Friday, November 18th 4pm-6pm
UW Oshkosh Reeve Memorial Union, Room 202
800 Algoma Blvd Oshkosh, WI
Green Bay: Monday, November 21st 4pm-6pm
|Central Library Auditorium515 Pine Street
Green Bay, WI