Lincoln Becomes 5th County to Announce BadgerCare Referendum

Lincoln County Board votes 20-1 to place an advisory referendum on accepting the federal funds for BadgerCare on November ballot.

Last night the Lincoln County Board voted 20-1 to place an advisory referendum on the November ballot asking voters whether the State of Wisconsin should accept enhanced federal funds for BadgerCare rejected by Walker and conservatives in the Legislature. Lincoln is the 5th county to adopt this referendum, following Dunn, Outagamie, Milwaukee and Eau Claire counties, with more following soon.

The overwhelming support by the Lincoln County Board demonstrates how this issue transcends partisanship.

Many Wisconsin counties have strongly supported taking the enhanced Medicaid money offered by the Affordable Care Act. Last year 20 counties took legislative action calling on the state to change course and accept enhanced BadgerCare funding. In addition, the nonpartisan Wisconsin Counties Association called on the legislature to accept the federal funds. When their request was ignored by the current administration, leaders from 20 counties sent a letter to the state’s Department of Health Services requesting the power to accept the federal funding within their own borders, as has been allowed in other non-expansion states.

The negative impact of rejecting these federal funds is particularly devastating at the local level. With fewer people guaranteed access to health coverage they can truly afford, uncompensated care costs will remain high in local hospitals and county-supported clinics, forcing cost-shifting to county-budgets, consumers and local businesses.

New data released by the Walker administration today revealed that over 60% of the people who were kicked off BadgerCare earlier this year did not purchase private insurance through the online marketplace.

If Wisconsin accepted enhanced federal Medicaid funds for BadgerCare, 84,700 Wisconsin residents would gain access to BadgerCare, including 136 in Lincoln county. The federal funds will also bring in over $2.4 billion into the state’s economy by 2021. See the county by county breakdown here.

Rejecting federal money is costing more, while covering fewer lives. Wisconsin is losing up to $1 million a day in federal funds for BadgerCare. Health care advocates believe many working families kicked off BadgerCare will not be able to afford increased co-pays and deductibles. Citizen Action of Wisconsin recently reported that deductibles alone will increase by an estimated $26 million dollars for those being denied BadgerCare by Governor Walker.

"In November voters in Lincoln County and across Wisconsin will have the opportunity to send a clear message to the Governor and Legislature about the importance of guaranteeing affordable access to health care for everyone in Wisconsin," said Kevin Kane, Lead Organizer of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN to accept federal funds for BadgerCare


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