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AARP AARP States Health & Wellbeing

Governor's Plan 'Mostly Smoke and Mirrors'

AARP Wisconsin today expressed extreme concern and disappointment with Governor Walker’s decision not to fully embrace the expansion of Medicaid services, which would have assured sustained health insurance coverage for approximately 175,000 low-income Wisconsinites who have no children living in their household.

“We are very disappointed because these childless adults – particularly those age 50 to 64 – will end up with a lesser benefit and much more of an uncertain future under the governor’s plan than if he had agreed to accept the Medicaid expansion funds from the federal government,” said Helen Marks Dicks, state issues advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin.

“The governor’s coverage of childless adults is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Asking the lowest on the economic ladder to pay more when a logical, cheaper alternative exists isn't a hand up, it's a push down,” Dicks said. “The governor had a fantastic opportunity to provide full Medicaid benefits to an additional 175,000 Wisconsinites, and he chose not to do that.”

Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Core program – which offers limited health care for low-income childless adults – is currently capped at an enrollment of 65,000, but only 20,000 people were actually accepted into the program and the waiting list includes more than 150,000 Wisconsinites who would benefit from the expansion.

  “The BadgerCare Core waiver expires in December of this year, before people can get insurance through the health care exchanges. It’s unlikely the federal government would extend a waiver to cover a group of individuals that can be covered under Medicaid expansion,” Dicks said. “The result of this would be no coverage at all for childless adults under 100 percent of the federal poverty level.”

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