By Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer
New data from Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau compiled by Wisconsin Council of Children and Families’ Jon Peacock shows that the cost of Walker’s refusal to accept the federal funds for BadgerCare has gone up again, now costing the state almost $400 million in the current budget.
The new numbers show that roughly 6,800 additional childless adults will be in BadgerCare than previously projected. This population could have been covered by the enhanced federal Medicaid funds for BadgerCare but instead the state will need to cover them with state tax dollars. That’s another $23.8 million on top of the $345 million the state is losing by sticking with Walker’s costly decision.
But that’s not all. Last state budget Walker and the Legislature added an extra source of funding for hospitals to cover the cost of the uninsured, a sort of “mea culpa” for kicking all those tens of thousands off BadgerCare. This roughly $30 million in state funds would not be needed if we accepted the federal funds for BadgerCare, which would dramatically reduce the number of uninsured.
So altogether this brings the total cost in this state budget of refusing to accept the federal funds for BadgerCare not at $300 million, not $345 million, but roughly $400 million in this biennium! ($398 million)
That’s more than the proposed UW cut, more than public school cuts, far more than the cuts to the state park system, and more than the cuts to the public employee health plan.
The Legislature’s Finance Committee is expected to vote on BadgerCare funding Thursday May 20th.