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Tell Senators to Keep Promise to Childless Adults

Helen on WisEye 2

The Grinch had second thoughts before stealing Christmas from Whoville, and we’re hoping our state Senators have a similar change of heart as the deadline nears for them to decide if BadgerCare coverage should begin on the first of the year for about 85,000 low-income adults without dependent children.

The state Senate is expected to vote on Thursday, Dec. 19, on a bill that passed in the Assembly earlier this month that calls for a three-month delay in BadgerCare coverage for this group of childless adults that was promised BadgerCare on Jan. 1, 2014 in the 2013-15 state budget.

We’re asking all Wisconsinites to email their state Senators right now and urge them to keep the promise they made to provide Medicaid coverage to childless adults. It’s the law right now. Let’s not change it and create a coverage gap that hurts this vulnerable population.

You can send an email message directly to your local state Senator.

Here’s some background on the issue.

Earlier this year our Governor and state Legislature debated the future of the Medicaid program in Wisconsin. These talks were often contentious, but at the end of the day all sides expressed a desire to extend health care to as many uninsured Wisconsinites as possible, and eliminate any coverage gaps.

In the end, the state budget – which was approved by the governor and legislature – expanded BadgerCare coverage to include low-income adults without dependent children beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Now many of our legislators are looking to renege on that promise by passing a bill that delays coverage to this group of childless adults by three months.

Since this population is under 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and thus not eligible for subsidies in the new marketplace, many of them would remain uninsured and get their care through costly emergency room visits.

With seven days to go before the Senate vote, there is still time to give our lawmakers an opportunity to do the right thing. The governor and state legislature should keep their promise to help low-income adults without dependent children.

Let’s not turn our backs on these people when they need our help the most. We’re hoping everyone will contact their local state Senators and ask them to amend this bill to not delay coverage for childless adults.

Helen Marks Dicks from our state AARP office talks about this issue and others impacting the 50-plus population in Wisconsin in a half hour interview with WisconsinEye, which is Wisconsin’s version of C-SPAN. Here is a link to watch and listen to that interview.

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