Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ms. Marilyn Tavenner
Acting Administrator
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 3 
Washington, DC 2020]
Dear Administrator Tavenner:
As representatives of the state of Wisconsin, we are proud of our strong Medicaid and Childrens
Health Insurance Programs, known to Wisconsinites as BadgerCare. BadgerCare provides
efficient, affordable coverage to almost 800,000 people in our state and leads the nation in access
to great quality health care. As you know, our state has requested to make changes to the
program that would dramatically change the structure and eligibility requirements. We are
concerned about these changes and urge you to carefully consider the effects of such provisions
on families in our state.
On November 10, 2011, the Walker Administration submitted a waiver to CMS that, if approved,
would result in loss of coverage for an estimated 64,000 Wisconsinites including almost 29,000
children. The Walker Administration asked that this waiver be approved by December 31, 2011
or 53,000 low-income adults would be dropped from the rolls.
As you know, CMS responded to the state on December 9, 201 it made a final decision on the
waiver application that it will not be issued by the end of this year and we support this conclusion. We
urge CMS to carefully review the proposed waiver and remain firm on granting waivers of the
maintenance of effort (MOE) in the Affordable Care Act. CMS has refused so far to grant
waivers of the MOE requirement, because such waivers would erode coverage for low-income
children and adults. We do not believe that the Wisconsin Waiver proposal presents any
justification to change course. It is important that CMS carefully deliberate such changes with
the state so that low income families do not lose health coverage.
Despite the December 31 deadline the state has set, there is still time to formulate other options
that would not require cutting off coverage for adults with incomes above 133 percent of the
poverty line in July 2012. For example, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Wisconsin
expects to receive a performance bonus based on increased enrollment of children in Medicaid
and CHIP in an amount similar to what the state received last year, which was $23.1 million.
This funding would help resolve budget issues the state faces while still maintaining coverage.
We have worked hard in the past to ensure that our state receives adequate funding and
flexibility to maintain and improve access to BadgerCare; We will continue to do so.
We respectfully ask that you give your immediate attention to this matter and that CMS continue
its close review of the proposal with the goal of maintaining coverage for low-income families. If
you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call upon our staff to assist you.
Senator Herb Kohl
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin
Congressman Ron Kind
Congresswoman Gwen Moore
Rep. Pasch Statement on Audit of State Health Programs
MADISONState Representative Sandy Pasch (D – Whitefish Bay ) released the following statement regarding the release of a Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) evaluation of our state’s vital Medical Assistance programs:
“It is clear that we must critically examine options to make our state's Medical Assistance programs more efficient and cost-effective. The LAB audit provides a deliberative analysis and thoughtful range of potential changes to address financial pressures on these important programs. 
“Unfortunately, instead of considering these weighty decisions in an inclusive, accountable and evidence-based manner that allowed for ample public input and legislative oversight, the Walker administration rushed through a misguided and ideologically-driven plan that will punish tens of thousands of the neediest and youngest Wisconsinites. 
“Especially in light of LAB’s findings – as well as the federal government’s announcement that they likely will not be able to meet the Walker administration’s self-imposed deadline to consider their far-reaching proposal – we urge his administration to slow down and work with federal and state officials in order to achieve savings in our important Medicaid and BadgerCare programs without seriously risking the health of our most vulnerable for years to come.”

                Audit Debunks Myth of Widespread Fraud in Medicaid
Statement by Rep. Richards on today’s report by non-partisan audit agency

MADISON—Today the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau released a comprehensive audit of Wisconsin’s Medical Assistance program.  In response, Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee), a member of the Legislative Joint Audit Committee who voted for the audit last January, issued the following statement:

“Today’s report debunks the myth long perpetuated by some lawmakers that widespread fraud exists in the state’s health care programs or that people are moving to Wisconsin solely to obtain Medicaid benefits. 

“The audit offers some responsible ideas on how Medicaid can be made more cost-effective without hurting people.

“Exploring managed care models, less reliance on outside contractors and other administrative efficiencies are much more compassionate options than dropping health care for 29,000 children, as Governor Walker has proposed.

“Medicaid remains the only health care option for tens of thousands of Wisconsin parents, children, seniors and people with disabilities.  Without access to these vital health programs, many people will go without screenings or treatment for diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure.

“The audit gives Governor Walker another opportunity to reconsider his irresponsible plan to drop health care for Wisconsin families and children.  I encourage his administration to work together with the legislature and the Obama Administration to implement responsible reforms that make the state’s health care system sustainable while also keeping people insured.”

Rep. Jon Richards (608) 266-0650  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wisconsin Speaks Out Against Drastic Cuts and Changes to BadgerCare
Over 15,000 Wisconsinites Urging BadgerCare be Protected for the Sake of State’s Health & Economy

Madison - For the last several weeks, the Save BadgerCare Coalition and its partners have been talking to people all over the state about the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) plan to kick tens of thousands of Wisconsinites off BadgerCare. The verdict is in: people all across Wisconsin are strongly opposed to changes to BadgerCare that would leave their family members, neighbors, and coworkers uninsured.  

Last week marked the final community public hearing on the Medicaid cuts for the year in Rhinelander.  Prior to that, public hearings had been held in Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, and Wausau.  In total, over 200 individuals attended these hearings and aside from a handful of people, everyone has spoken out against the DHS Medicaid Waiver plan. 

“Since DHS was unwilling to make a serious effort to solicit public input, we stepped up and offered the opportunity,” Finger said. “And the public is saying loud and clear: ‘Don’t do it! There are other, better options that won’t endanger the health of Wisconsin’s children, families, and workers.’”

“I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about the proposed changes to BadgerCare and to voice my opinion as a Wisconsin citizen,” said Rachel Fleming, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire student and hearing attendee.  “This plan to cut over $500 million from Medicaid is going to have a significant impact on families throughout our state and we deserve the chance to weigh in.”

In addition the large turnout at the public hearings, tens of thousands of individuals have been involved with this groundswell of grassroots opposition:
  •   655 Save BadgerCare postcards were signed and hand delivered to state legislators and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Dennis Smith asking them to protect BadgerCare in Aprill
  •  2,000 petition signatures were sent to DHS urging them not to slash BadgerCare funding in October
  •  14,686 Save BadgerCare petition signatures are being sent to the Wisconsin State Legislature and Governor Walker before the holidays.

“There was a great deal of confusion, anger, anxiety and frustration expressed from community members throughout the state,” said Sara Finger, coordinator of the Save BadgerCare Coalition. “This extreme proposal from the Walker Administration to drastically change Medicaid is simply out touch with Wisconsin voters, values and priorities.”

The Save BadgerCare coalition is calling on federal officials to reject the portions of the plan that require a Waiver from HHS and has collected almost 700 petition signatures so far that have been sent to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius.  The Coalition also calls on state legislators to push back the arbitrary, self-imposed deadline for federal approval that would result in 53,000 adults losing their coverage if the waiver is not approved by December 31, 2011—a deadline HHS has already said it cannot meet.

New Definition Of Family

By Senator, Lena C. Taylor
Senator Lena C. Taylor
As we all know by now, there will be big changes for BadgerCare and other state Medicaid programs in 2012.
The GOP members of the Joint Finance Committee, who comprise the majority, granted the Department of Health Services permission to submit to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services the state’s request to change the state Medicaid program’s eligibility and income requirements. One of the most alarming changes to the eligibility requirements is the new method for calculating family income.
Under the already-approved proposal, eligibility will now be based on the combined income of everyone living in the household, not merely the applicant’s income and perhaps that of their spouse or partner. To demonstrate just how detrimental this change will be for some enrollees, I will give you an example of how this provision will apply.
Jane Doe is a single mother of two who is struggling to make ends meet. To ease some of her financial burdens, she decides to move in with her friend, Judy, who works for Private Company.
Her decision to move in with Judy drastically impacts her eligibility for state Medicare because now, Judy’s income will be added to Jane’s income, and Jane’s eligibility will be determined based on that figure. With eligibility based on the combined income of Jane and her friend Judy, it will be more difficult for Jane to qualify. To add insult to injury, because there is no familial relationship between Jane and Judy, Jane and her children will not be covered under Judy’s health insurance through her employer.
One of the biggest indirect consequences of this combined income approach is a decrease in willingness to help others. If allowing a family member or close friend to live with you would jeopardize access to health insurance for yourself and your children, would you be more or less likely to offer a helping hand?
This new eligibility plan is supposed to be a trial implementation of Obamacare, but there is a distinct difference between Wisconsin ’s family income eligibility and Obamacare’s family income eligibility. Under the terms of Obamacare, family income is determined using only the income of the immediate family, excluding grandparents. Wisconsin is using different standards, so this certainly cannot be considered a test of Obamacare.
The plan that DHS has adopted is an effort to shift costs, not reduce costs. Although there was inadequate time for public input (the two public hearings held by DHS provided insufficient information about the proposals and their effects), we must make sure that we remain informed about what these plans mean for our families and communities. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact my office at (414) 342-7176 or me at
As always, I will do my utmost to ensure that those affected by these plans understand the changes and that their responses are based on solid, reliable information.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Delay in Medicaid changes approval may cut coverage for 53,000

Delay in Medicaid changes approval may cut coverage for 53,000
DAVID WAHLBERG | Wisconsin State Journal | | | (12) Comments| Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 6:45 pm
The federal government said Friday it likely won't meet Wisconsin's Dec. 31 deadline for approving Medicaid changes.
The state responded by repeating its request for a prompt decision, saying it wants to avoid cutting coverage for 53,000 adults.
"From our perspective, we certainly believe there is still time to reach an agreement," Dennis Smith, secretary of the state Department of Health Services, wrote to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after receiving a letter Friday from the agency.
On Nov. 10, the state asked the agency to approve key parts of its plan to trim $554 million over two years from Medicaid, the state-federal health plan for the poor.
This year's state budget law said lack of approval by Dec. 31 would require ending BadgerCare Plus coverage in July for 53,000 adults who earn more than a third above the federal poverty level. That's about $30,000 a year for a family of four.
Approval of the state's proposals, meanwhile, would cause nearly 65,000 people to leave or be turned away from BadgerCare Plus and other Medicaid programs, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said. That's mostly because of higher premiums, a required switch to employer insurance and changes in eligibility.
The state also wants to shift 263,000 people into a lower cost plan with fewer benefits.
The letter Friday from the federal agency said "it is unlikely we will be able to meet the State's requested date of December 31, 2011, for all of these proposed sweeping changes to its programs."
The letter said the state doesn't need special federal approval to make four of its proposed changes to BadgerCare Plus for adults who earn more than a third above the federal poverty level. The state also wants to make most of those changes for people with lower incomes.
The changes are:
•Refusing coverage if people can get employer insurance with premiums of less than 9.5 percent of income.
•Increasing BadgerCare Plus premiums to up to 5 percent of income.
•Dropping people for a year if they fail to pay their monthly premium.
•Stopping coverage for people 10 days after their eligibility ends instead of at the end of the month.
Jon Peacock, research director for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said the Legislature should delay the Dec. 31 deadline and find other ways to save money.
"We're pleased that federal officials aren't going to be rushed into deciding all of these complex issues," Peacock said. The state "should get away from this 'our way or the highway' approach."
Sara Finger, executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health and coordinator of the Save BadgerCare Coalition, said she's glad the federal government put the state on notice that it likely won't meet its deadline.
But regardless of federal approval, Finger said, the state plans to end coverage for tens of thousands of people.
"I think they purposely set it up as a win-win for the (Gov. Scott) Walker administration and a lose-lose for Wisconsin families," she said.

Read more:
Representative Sandy Pasch                   
Federal Government, Public Need More Time toReview Extreme WalkerHealth Cuts
MADISON– On Friday, federal officials at theCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they likely will not beable to meet the Walkeradministration’s self-imposed deadline to consider their far-reachingproposal to slashmore than a half-billion dollars from our state’s health safety net and threaten healthcarefor hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites.  State Rep. Sandy Pasch (D – Whitefish Bay) released the following statement inwake of their announcement:
“Governor Walker and legislative Republicans chose togive an unelected bureaucrat nearly carte blanche authority to rush throughsweeping changes to our state’s vital health programs, and it is clear that everyone– including the federal government, our state, and the thousands offamilies who will be impacted by these changes – need and deserve moretime to review this rushed plan,” said Rep. Pasch.  “The Walker administration has establisheda lose-lose situation for thousands of our most vulnerable citizens through aclear political ploy, and we must continue to fight to ensure that their bad decisions and misplaced priorities receive morescrutiny than they are allowing.” 
Rep. Pasch also noted that she has introduced Assembly Bill339, which would restore proper legislative oversight and publicinput to Walker’sfar-reaching changes.  It would also remove the arbitrary and seeminglyunattainable deadline the Walkeradministration established for approval by CMS. 
“If it wasn’t clear before, we now know that Walker’s rushed plan to undermine healthcare for Wisconsin children and families is fraught withunanswered questions and serious concerns that we all need more time toexamine,” said Rep. Pasch.  “I urge Gov. Walker to slow down and work with federal andstate officials in order to achieve savings in our important Medicaid andBadgerCare programs without seriously risking the healthof our most vulnerable for years to come.”
Baldwin Blasts Walker Gamesmanship on BadgerCare

Walker's Needlessly Short Timetable Just a Smokescreen to Boot Tens of Thousands of Wisconsinites off BadgerCare

MADISON-- Tammy Baldwin today issued the following statement on the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) announcement that they are unable to make a determination by Gov. Scott Walker's imposed end-of-the-year deadline on Wisconsin’s application for a Medicaid waiver for the state's highly successful BadgerCare program.
The Walker Administration has proposed significant changes to Wisconsin's BadgerCare eligibility standards, and gave the federal government less than one month to consider its waiver application -- a very short timetable considering the number of factors that need to be reviewed in considering a waiver.
Walker’s waiver request would result in the elimination of coverage for an estimated 64,000 individuals, including approximately 29,000 children. Walker's Administration has threatened to end health care coverage for 53,000 Wisconsinites if the waiver is not approved.

Statement of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin:
“Given the tens of thousands of Wisconsinites who look to the successful, popular BadgerCare program for health care coverage, and the complex process to grant a waiver to the rules and laws that makes BadgerCare possible, it's unreasonable for Gov. Walker to expect a decision in less than a month. This is a obviously a transparent ploy by the governor to shift the political blame for his choice to balance the state budget by booting tens of thousands of Wisconsinites off of health care. I urge Gov. Walker to rethink this decision, and find alternative solutions to Wisconsin's budget shortfall. Forcing thousands more uninsured families to go without health care or end up at the emergency room for costly care will not reduce health care spending, and is the wrong prescription for the state’s budget woes.”
Wisconsin Council on Children & Families
Feds Say They Need More Time to Review Proposed BadgerCare Changes
(Madison)--Federal officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today

that they probably won’t be able to act as quickly as the Walker Administration had hoped on a complex

set of federal waivers that would allow the state to make sweeping changes to BadgerCare. However,

the letter sent today to Dennis Smith, Secretary of the Department of Health Services, gives the state

the green light to proceed with some portions of its proposals.

Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council for Children and Families, applauded the

decision by CMS not to rush the agency’s consideration of the state’s complex, 221-page waiver request.

“The changes in the waiver request would harm at least 168,000 Wisconsinites. A decision this big

shouldn’t be rushed through just to meet the state’s arbitrary December 31 deadline. Granting the

waiver would also send the message to other states that they can drop millions of people from

Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act was designed to protect people from that, and we shouldn’t

encourage states to undermine this important piece of health care reform. ”

Taylor urged state lawmakers to pass legislation removing or postponing the deadline to allow a wider

range of options to be considered.

“It’s a big mistake to force CMS to choose so quickly between approving the entire proposal and kicking

53,000 adults off of BadgerCare. State residents deserve a more thoughtful process.”

A recent WCCF publication provides a side-by-side comparison of the consequences of those two

options: .

Saturday, December 3, 2011

   Contact: Bob Jacobson
December 1, 2011                                                                                                    (608) 284-0580, x303              

50 Wisconsin Groups Unite to Call Upon Federal Government to Reject DHS Waiver

Madison- In an effort to prevent more than 64,000 Wisconsinites from losing their BadgerCare coverage, 50 groups from throughout Wisconsin, call on U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius to deny the recent request from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) for a waiver of federal maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements. 

As outlined in the attached letter to HHS, a diverse and broad group of organizations urge rejection of the waiver for reasons including:

  • The waiver would jeopardize the care of 168,000 Wisconsinites, including more than 64,000 who are expected to drop out of BadgerCare.
  • Approving the waiver would cost 29,000 children their BadgerCare coverage.
  • The waiver would have disproportionate impact on people with disabling conditions
  • The waiver would harm many extremely low-income families.
  • The waiver would result in cost-shifting, not cost savings.
  • The waiver would increase red tape and reduce enrollment efficiency.

The Save BadgerCare Coalition also faulted the DHS process, which precluded an opportunity for meaningful public input, because the essential details of the proposal were not made available in advance of any public hearings.
Wisconsin has long been a national leader in ensuring that its residents have access to quality health care, and BadgerCare—an immensely popular and effective program--has been a major part of that success story.
Approval of DHS’ waiver proposal would reverse that progress and would conflict with the goal of the health care reform law to make health care better and more affordable.
To be connected with representatives from the signing organizations, or BadgerCare enrollees who can speak to the impact these changes will make in their lives, please contact Bob Jacobson.

The Coming Medicaid Crisis in Milwaukee & Wisconsin!

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The governor and legislature are cutting Badger Care, Family Care, and Senior Care. This will affect tens of thousands people in Milwaukee County who use these critical programs. What will we do? What can we do?
Learn what is happening and voice your concerns at a


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Discussion at 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Light Refreshments at 9:00-9:30 p.m.

  • Ms. Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office Director, Disability Rights Wisconsin
  • Dr. Ian Gilson, Doctor of Internal Medicine & Staff Physician at Froedert and the Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an expert on Medicaid
  • Ms. Geri Lyday, Disabilities Services Administrator, Milwaukee County
  • Response/Comments from our Elected Officials
pdf flyer
First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee
1342 North Astor Street, Milwaukee
Building Accessible to all; On bus lines #10 & #30
Call the church at 414 273-5257 to reserve childcare or for additional information

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus
Announces Public Hearing on proposed medicaid cuts
                                                       Rep. Sandy Pasch, (608) 266-7671
                                                                          Sen. Lena C. Taylor, (608) 266-5810    
          MADISON State Representative Sandy Pasch (D–Whitefish Bay) and State Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) announced that members of the Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus will host a public hearing on the Walker administration’s Medicaid waiver that would result in nearly 65,000 Wisconsinites – including 29,000 children – losing or being denied state health care coverage on Thursday, December 1, 2011 at Washington Park Senior Center from 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
          “Wisconsinites have experienced many attacks on our shared values since Scott Walker became governor, and among the most shocking is his administration’s plan to kick an estimated 65,000 individuals off their healthcare,” said Rep. Pasch, who serves as Chair for the Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus.  “Decisions of this magnitude should be made with proper input and oversight, and it is clear that the public deserves a more accountable process to scrutinize their plan that is flush with unanswered questions and bad decisions that will impact countless Milwaukee families.”
          This hearing is part of a series of events being hosted by Democrats statewide in response to the Department of Health Services’ plan to make $554 million in cuts to the state’s health care programs for eligible seniors, children, families and people with disabilities. This proposal will have a significant impact on the affordability of health care and medical services to thousands of Milwaukee-area residents.
          “The fallout from the Governor’s proposal will be severe – approximately 64,000 people, at least 29,000 of whom are children, will lose their health insurance. The people must have an opportunity to voice their concerns, their doubts, and possibly their outrage,” said Sen. Taylor.
          This event is free and open to the public, media, and all Milwaukee-area elected officials.
      Milwaukee Democratic Legislative Caucus
      Public Hearing on Proposed Medicaid Cuts
      Thursday, December 1, 2011
      6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
      Washington Park Senior Center
      4420 W Vliet St, Milwaukee


I just heard from my doctors assistant and there is no new growth and the existing pockets have not grown since May! All of my organs are in excellent shape too! I am so psyched! This gives me time to work on some weight loss so I'll feel better mentally and physically. I thank God for his loving care and concern, by providing for me, giving me loving family and friends and the best medical team in the world!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Public Hearings

The following is an updated list of upcoming public hearings on the Medicaid cuts.  These events are open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend.  RSVPs are not required but appreciated.  Please help us spread the word.  Thank you. Sara
Milwaukee - Thursday, December 1st
Washington Park Senior Center
4420 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee
Rhinelander - Thursday, December 8th
Nicolet College, LRC Theater
5364 College Drive, Rhinelander

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Add your name to the petition urging HHS not to approve drastic cuts to Medicaid

Hello.  Please sign this petition to send the message that Wisconsinites will not allow the health of our state to be compromised.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has asked the federal government to allow them to make very harmful changes to BadgerCare and other Medicaid programs such as lowering eligibility level and increasing health care costs for working families
Don't let this happen!  Sign this petition to urge the federal government to reject these terrible changes. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Recall In Danger!

Mentally Preparing For The Next CT Scan

The next CT scan is scheduled November 28th with a follow up doctors visit December 2nd. I tend to get very nervous and stressed as they approach which causes one tumor to burn. I know I am close to needing surgery again and have been mentally preparing for it. I have been dealing with shortness of breath and the weight gain has become cumbersome and hard to deal with.
I did some research on the website pmp pals and it appears to have new information, it's still confusing, so I have a list of questions to ask my doctor. I have the best surgeon for this situation, I don't doubt his ability, but there's always a chance that something could go wrong, the unexpected, the part you have no control over, is the scariest. 

I am being forced to deal with my own mortality and I'm not ready to. I am not ready to die yet, I actually refuse too, I still have to much to do! I have been spending as much time as possible with my family, which is always good for fabulous food, great conversation and belly laughs!Just in case something goes wrong, I want my family to have happy memories of me.

DHS should go back to the drawing board on Medicaid

State's plan for dealing with a $500 million budget hole would put too many of the poor at risk.

Nov. 19, 2011 |(38) Comments
Dennis Smith bears a striking resemblance to a certain green fuzzy creature who steals a certain December holiday.
That's what his critics, including many Democrats, seem to think.
According to them, the secretary of Wisconsin's Department of Health Services is booting thousands of kids to the curb of the health care system on account of a radically conservative ideology.
We don't think Smith or his top deputy, Kitty Rhoades, are coldblooded. They are, in fact, levelheaded. Smith, in particular, has deep experience in the Medicaid system - he ran it under former President George W. Bush. But while we think Smith has come up with an interesting proposal for reining in escalating costs in the state's health care programs for the poor, we also think it is flawed.
There is no doubt his plan is innovative and an improvement over how some states have handled ballooning Medicaid costs. But his ideas risk hurting too many of Wisconsin's poor - especially kids - and we can't support his plan as written.
To enact his changes, DHS needs a waiver from the federal government's so-called "maintenance of effort," required under the federal health care reform law. We urge the federal Department of Health and Human Services to hold off on that waiver until the state does more to ensure that fewer of the poor are affected.
Smith and his counterparts across the country are staring at deep holes in their Medicaid budgets. The recession brought more people into the programs as people lost jobs, health benefits or both, and states, such as Wisconsin, expanded eligibility. Federal stimulus money backfilled the holes last year, but those funds have run dry and there will be no more federal bailouts.
In Wisconsin, the Medicaid rolls have increased at a rate nearly 10 times the rate of population growth. The state has an estimated $554 million deficit in state and federal money through June 2013 in Medicaid health programs, programs that now cover one in five Wisconsin residents.
But fewer people likely will be covered in the future, whether the state gets a federal waiver or not. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 65,000 people, nearly half of them kids, would either leave the programs or be turned out under the changes Smith is proposing. If Wisconsin doesn't get federal approval by Dec. 31 - and that looks like a tall order given the politics involved - the state would be free on its own under current rules to drop 53,000 adults by increasing elgibility requirements.
Smith's plan would take a number of steps to tighten standards, including sizable increases in premiums. In some cases, premiums would increase almost tenfold. The proposals also include moving 263,000 people in BadgerCare Plus into a lower cost plan with fewer benefits. Both adults and kids could be dropped from the program for one year if they failed to pay their monthly premium without a valid excuse.
The state also would disqualify from Badger Care Plus some who have access to employer-sponsored insurance plans. The department estimates that nearly 28,000 people no longer would be eligible for BadgerCare Plus after enactment of this particular rule change, including more than 11,000 kids.
The administration of Gov. Scott Walker argues that many of those families will find a way to cover their kids.
We think that's a fantasy. It's far more likely that families on the edge of poverty will forego insurance in order to pay the rent or put food on the table.
And that means that some of them will end up using emergency room care - some of the most expensive medical care in the business - when they or their kids get sick.
The Smith plan may save taxpayers money now, but it's built on an illusory foundation. Those same taxpayers will pay for the more expensive care of the poor through their health insurance premiums as providers shift the costs onto those who can pay.
We urge HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius to deny the state's request for a waiver until the state amends its proposal so that fewer of the poor - especially kids - are affected. This is a special concern for Milwaukee's poor, a city with one of the worst rates of infant mortality in the country. Poor mothers need good prenatal care; fewer of them may get it under this proposal.
We give Smith points for creativity, but we think his plan is likely to be overly harsh on the poor. If we're wrong, he can come to Milwaukee anytime for a heaping helping of roast beast on us. We'll even carve it for him.



64,748: Number of people likely to drop from Medicaid rolls as a result of state's proposal.
29,120: Number of children among that number.
554,000,000: Depth (in dollars) of Medicaid budget hole.
Public Hearings on Proposed Cuts to Medicaid
Monday, November 21 4pm-6pm Green Bay
Thursday, December 1st 6:30pm-9pm Milwaukee
Thursday, December 8th 4:30pm-6:30pm Rhinelander

November 19, 2011

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Another Chance to Be Heard!

While the Department of Health Services only scheduled two town hall meetings in Madison and Milwaukee, Democratic legislators are scheduling additional opportunities for you to be heard. 

Democratic legislators are hosting public hearings to discuss the Medicaid efficiencies and cost-savings initiatives recently released by the Department.

Green Bay: Monday, November 21st 4pm-6pm
Central Library Auditorium
515 Pine Street Green Bay, WI

Milwaukee: Thursday, December 1st 6:30pm-9m
Washington Park Senior Center
4420 W. Vilet Milwaukee, WI

Rhinelander: Thursday, December 8th 4:30pm-6:30pm
 Nicolet College LRC Theater
5364 College Drive Rhinelander, WI

To understand what is at stake for our Medicaid and BadgerCare programs, refer to this fact sheet or Link here for a preliminary assessment of the likely consequences of the proposed changes relating to BadgerCare Plus, with regard to the "maintenance of effort" waiver portion of the DHS proposals and the benchmark plan.

if you have any questions regarding this hearing please email or call Sara at: or (608) 251-0139 x1.

Thank you!
Thank you for supporting BadgerCare and Medicaid.  Be sure to forward this email to others letting them know that MEDICAID MATTERS!  For more information and to join the Save BadgerCare Coalition, visit:

Looking for another way to stand up for BadgerCare? Participate in our Save BadgerCare Coalition Photo Petition Drive!
  1. Take a picture showing that you want to Save BadgerCare. You can print and use one of our signs (see attached), or you can get creative and make your own that explains why BadgerCare is important to you.
  2. Email your photo as an attachment to Make sure you include your name, city and zip code.
  3. We'll post your photo on our site and use it to show our elected leaders that their constituents support and want to protect BadgerCare and Medicaid when policy decisions are made in the next month.
  4. Forward along to friends, family, colleagues and neighbors.  We're aiming to collect at least 500 images by the end of October! 

Families can't afford Walker health cuts

By Sandy Pasch and Jon Richards
Nov. 21, 2011 |(51) Comments
Wisconsinites have experienced many attacks on our shared values since Scott Walker became governor. Among the most shocking is his administration's plan to kick an estimated 65,000 individuals off their health care while choosing to give $2.3 billion in tax breaks to big corporations and special interests.
How did we get to this draconian situation? Walker's budget and budget adjustment bills granted his administration nearly carte blanche authority to rush through sweeping changes to our state's vital health programs with scant legislative oversight and little-to-no opportunity for thorough public review.
The ramifications of this power grab became apparent when the Walker administration unveiled its rushed plan to slash more than one-half billion dollars from our state's medical assistance programs. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that Walker's plan could kick almost 65,000 individuals off our state's health programs. Among those who could lose health care are 29,120 children. This number would grow if parents simply miss a single premium payment.
If this plan is not approved by the federal government under a seemingly unattainable deadline imposed by the Walker administration itself, his administration would kick roughly 53,000 Wisconsin residents off their health coverage. It is clear that Walker has set up a clear lose-lose situation for thousands of our most vulnerable citizens.
The timing is terrible. Many Wisconsinites have lost their jobs, and many employers are eliminating health-insurance coverage for their employees - resulting in more individuals relying on BadgerCare programs for basic health needs. These programs actually prevent unnecessary and more costly emergency room use.
Unfortunately, under the Walker plan, uncompensated care could increase up to $60 million, which will be passed on to taxpayers through cost shifting and higher insurance premiums. Moreover, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Wisconsin has lost access to approximately $293 million in federal funds due to the Walker administration failing to invest $190 million in state funds within our medical assistance programs.
Shared sacrifice and tough decisions are necessary to address the difficult fiscal issues and health care crisis facing our state. Changes to make our state's health programs more cost-effective and efficient must be on the table. However, these changes should have been considered in an inclusive, accountable and evidence-based manner that allowed for ample public input and legislative oversight. And while there are some elements of the proposal that we support, the package as a whole deals a significant blow to the years of progress our state has made to ensure affordable access to quality health coverage.
To restore accountability and oversight to these life-altering decisions, we have authored legislation that would eliminate the far-reaching powers granted to DHS and bring back public input to changes being made to Wisconsin's health safety nets. This would ensure that the public will again have a voice in important decisions that impact the health of our state.
Unfortunately, instead of slowing down and allowing for more scrutiny of serious concerns and answers to questions surrounding their proposal, this administration chose to rush through its proposal that will end up punishing some of the neediest and youngest Wisconsinites through misguided, ideological decisions. Their continued willingness to place big corporations and special interests before the health of our communities exposes a pattern of decisions that Wisconsinites can no longer afford.
Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) represents the 22nd Assembly District. Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) represents the 19th Assembly District.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cut Health Care For Congress First

Below is an email from Michael Morrill, a MoveOn member who created a petition at that is getting a lot of attention and may be of interest to you. If you have concerns or feedback about this petition, click here.

In April, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid. And this month, even Democrats on the so-called Super Committee have offered deep cuts to these vital programs.
Essentially, Republicans in Congress are telling senior citizens and the poor that tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires are more important than providing a health care safety net for our most vulnerable.
But did you know that members of Congress get great taxpayer-funded health care? In fact, they have one of the best health care plans in the world.
It strikes us as the height of hypocrisy to be accepting government-provided, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance while denying seniors, the disabled, and the poor the basic coverage that Medicare and Medicaid provide.
That's why we're circulating this petition demanding that members of Congress who voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid stop accepting taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for themselves. If they believe our most vulnerable citizens should buy insurance on the corporate, for-profit market, shouldn't they do the same?
The petition is addressed to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and says:
If you voted to cut Medicare and Medicaid, you must stop accepting taxpayer-funded health care for yourself and your family.
Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:
–Michael Morrill
The text above was written by Michael Morrill, not by MoveOn staff, and MoveOn is not responsible for the content.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Additional Hearings On Medicaid Cuts

Oshkosh - Friday, November 18th
UW Oshkosh Reeve Memorial Union, Room 202,
800 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh
Green Bay - Monday, November 21st
Central Library Auditorium
515 Pine Street , Green Bay
Milwaukee - Thursday, December 1st
Washington Park Senior Center
4420 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee
Rhinelander - Thursday, December 8th
Nicolet College, LRC Theater
5364 College Drive, Rhinelander