Yet another change is being sought to the state's BadgerCare program. As you are no doubt familiar, Walker has received frequent criticism for his rejection of federal enhanced Medicaid funds to fill in the gaps in BadgerCare. After rejecting the funds he opted to cover some under the federal poverty line and kick others currently on the program off (mainly parents). When it became clear that those being forced off of BadgerCare may not have enough time to enroll in the ACA marketplace without a gap in coverage, a special session was called to try and give those forced off of BadgerCare more time but in the process denying those below the poverty line access to the program for months at a time.
On top of that, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Monday Dec 30th
"In addition, the Walker administration also informed lawmakers Monday that the state's overall Medicaid programs faced a projected shortfall of about $93 million in state tax dollars"
A shortfall that could be made up and then some by accepting the federal enhanced Medicaid funds, which are projected to not only bring in more federal dollars into the state, but save the state $119 million more at least it already spends.
At this point it would seem clear that Walker's approach is not only leaving people in the cold, not only costing the state more money, but is needlessly complex: we could accept the federal enhanced Medicaid funds at anytime and cover more people instead of denying them the opportunity to gain coverage immediately.
Now the new changes: Walker's Dept of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades sent a letter saying that to do Walker's plan of delaying care to some means that they cannot reject parents and caretakers over the poverty line for coverage now. But these parents and caretakers only have a short window, and will still be kicked off BadgerCare come March 31st. If you are a parent or caretaker between 100-200% of the federal poverty line you can sign up for BadgerCare for coverage during February and March but you MUST enroll by February 1st. While this is good news for those impacted, they have exactly a month to enroll and will only have it for a short period so unfortunately it is hardly the best of all possible options.
All this headache and heartache for families and communities comes at too great a cost. This hobbled together system of covering some, denying others and forcing tens of thousands off of BadgerCare doesn't need to happen. This is just further proof that Walker's BadgerCare changes must be scraped; enough is enough, accept the federal Medicaid funds for BadgerCare!