BadgerCare is Wisconsin’s award-winning Medicaid program that provides health care coverage for more than 750,000 men and women—and their children—from across the state. Established in 1997 as a bipartisan effort to encourage work and improve health care in Wisconsin, BadgerCare has proven to be a highly effective—and cost-effective—program, successful in both rural and urban communities, in good economies and bad. Current plans to cut Medicaid and BadgerCare in Wisconsin will lead to higher rates of uninsured, cost-shifting, and long term economic costs to our state. We need to speak out to Save BadgerCare and to maintain its eligibility, quality and affordability for Wisconsin working families!
Wisconsin’s Medicaid deficit is now expected to be $322 million less than was anticipated a few months ago, and the state has just received a $24 million federal bonus for BadgerCare’s success. Those developments enable the state to protect BadgerCare, while also lifting the cap on the Family Care program.
Please join us in fighting to preserve BadgerCare and to oppose changes that would adversely affect children, people with disabilities, and adults, and would result in thousands of families becoming uninsured.
The state got some very good news in late December and early January regarding the Medicaid budget, as a result of the significantly lower estimate of the deficit and also the federal performance bonus funds that Wisconsin was awarded for the success of BadgerCare in improving coverage of low-income children. These developments provide an opportunity for policymakers, advocates and the public to reconsider the changes to BadgerCare that DHS recommended when the deficit was thought to be $322 million larger.
The changes to BadgerCare proposed by the Department of Health Services (DHS) would result in more than 64,000 people (including over 29,000 kids) losing their coverage, and an additional 263,000 would get reduced coverage and have much higher co-pays. This will cause thousands of Wisconsin families to be uninsured, thereby increasing reliance on emergency rooms, increasing hospitals’ uncompensated care, and shifting costs to people with insurance – rather than truly saving costs.
I urge you to take advantage of the reduced cost estimates and the federal bonus payments to preserve BadgerCare and avoid making changes to the program that would adversely affect children, people with disabilities, and adults, and would result in families becoming uninsured. I also encourage you to do so through a transparent public dialogue, with intentional outreach to and participation from enrollees.
Thank you for your attention to this extremely important issue.