New Local Data: BadgerCare Coverage Gap Worst in Rural Counties

For Immediate Release-- October 2, 2014

Contacts: Kevin Kane (414) 550-8280  Kevin.kane@citizenactionwi.org

  Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

Newly released county-level data shows number of residents by County forced off BadgerCare and left in “coverage gap.”

Statewide - New Wisconsin Department of Health Services county-level data obtained from an open records request by Citizen Action of Wisconsin quantifies the BadgerCare coverage gap at the local level.  The data shows the statewide impact of the coverage gap caused by Governor Walker’s misguided decision to reject federal dollars to strengthen BadgerCare. Contrary to the widespread assumption this is primarily an urban problem, the data shows that the relative impact is greater in rural areas than in cities (see charts below).

Governor Walker’s decision to turn down billions in federal funds for BadgerCare forced 62,776 parents off the program in April, leaving 26,600 in a coverage gap unable to affordable private coverage. The Federal government, at the request of US Senator Tammy Baldwin, recently intervened by creating a special enrollment period in the health care marketplace for uninsured Wisconsinites forced off BadgerCare. While this will help some parents who missed the first open enrollment period, health advocates believe that many in the gap simply cannot afford the premiums, copays, and deductibles associated with private insurance.

On November 4, over 1 million Wisconsin voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue when they vote on BadgerCare advisory referendums in 19 counties and 1 city.

Counties with the highest percent of individuals forced off BadgerCare still uninsured

Florence *

55.17%

Pierce

52.29%

Polk

51.84%

Forest

50.97%

St Croix *

50.37%

Green Lake

49.57%

Adams

49.06%

Oconto

48.59%

Sawyer

48.49%

Waushara

48.17%

* - Has BadgerCare referendum on November 4th ballot

Counties with most residents kicked off BadgerCare, as percent of population

Ashland

2.63%

Price

2.32%

Washburn

2.31%

Rusk

2.21%

Sawyer

1.99%

Barron

1.93%

Bayfield *

1.89%

Langlade

1.85%

Iron *

1.84%

Taylor

1.84%

* - Has BadgerCare referendum on November 4th ballot

Comparison of Major Metros


 
 COUNTIES

Total residents kicked off of BadgerCare

Residents Stuck in "Coverage Gap"

Percent left  Uninsured

Brown

2,635

1,253

47.55%

Dane

3,150

1,054

33.46%

Douglas

565

272

48.14%

Eau Claire

1,354

523

38.63%

Kenosha*

1,720

772

44.88%

La Crosse

1,245

492

39.52%

Manitowoc

908

374

41.19%

Marathon

1,790

743

41.51%

Milwaukee

10,239

4,556

44.50%

Oneida

622

227

36.50%

Outagamie

1,840

843

45.82%

Portage

796

307

38.57%

Racine

1,969

896

45.51%

Rock

1,882

795

42.24%

Sheboygan

1,059

459

43.34%

Waukesha

2,431

1,016

41.79%

Winnebago

1,812

839

46.30%

Wood

1,253

483

38.55%

STATEWIDE

62,776

26,641

42.40%

13 of 20 Counties with BadgerCare referendum marked above in bold/underlined

* - City of Kenosha has referendum

Full data for all 72 Wisconsin counties can be found here.

“Governor Walker’s political decision to force 62,000 Wisconsinites off BadgerCare is inflicting needless damage to families and communities all across the state, especially in rural areas,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Walker and his allies in the Legislature need to stop playing politics with the health and economic security of hard pressed families in every Wisconsin county who are working to get ahead and live the American Dream.”

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