Last week Governor Walker announced that he would be calling lawmakers together for a special legislative session in early December in order to delay the deadline for shifting more than more than 100,000 Wisconsinites from Medicaid and the state’s high risk health coverage plan into the federal health insurance marketplace.
“We applaud the governor’s proposal to extend coverage for low-income families and those in the high risk pool, but that should not delay the anticipated coverage for about 85,000 low-income adults without dependent children,” said Helen Marks Dicks, state issues advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin. “We are also concerned about the 12,000 childless adults on the BadgerCare CORE plan who will lose their coverage as of Dec. 31 after a federal waiver expires. This limited benefit program with capped participation and a waiting list of over 150,000 people has not enrolled any new participants since earlier this year.”
The 2013-’15 state budget approved by Walker and the legislature in June, required 75,000 adults in BadgerCare with incomes above the poverty line to be dropped from state Medicaid coverage on the first day of 2014. The budget also terminated the state’s Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan (HIRSP) at the end of this year, which covers about 25,000 people. The idea was to shift coverage of these folks into the new health insurance marketplace.
At the same time, the state budget called for BadgerCare to cover a new population, 80,000 low-income adults without dependent children. This was scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, 2014 but would now be delayed until April under the governor’s current proposal.
“We expect the governor and Joint Finance Committee to keep their promise to help low-income childless adults who need Medicaid coverage. Right now it’s the law. Let’s not take it away,” Dicks said. “We look forward to working with the Governor and the State Legislature to implement the governor’s plan for expanding coverage to this group as of Jan. 1, 2014.
Please call 1-800-844-2847 and urge your legislators not to allow this vulnerable population to fall through the cracks.