Sunday, November 13, 2011


Friday November 11, 2011 by Shawn Johnson
(STATE CAPITOL) Roughly 65,000 people—including 29,000 children—would leave Wisconsin's BadgerCare rolls under a Walker administration plan to cut more than a half-billion dollars from Medicaid.

The 65,000 person estimate was released by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. It assumes people will leave BadgerCare for a variety of reasons, but that many will leave because they decide they can't afford the premium increases proposed by the Walker administration.

Dennis Smith, Walker's Health Services Secretary, told lawmakers on the budget committee that his plan was not forcing anyone off BadgerCare, "The overall cost of Medicaid will continue to increase, our budget will increase. What we're talking about is trying to slow the rate of growth of the program that looks more in line with the overall economy."

But Smith's characterization of the plan--and the way he presented it--got under the skin of Poplar Democratic Sen. Bob Jauch, "It appears, Mr. Secretary, as though you're talking about widgets instead of people."

Jauch told Smith these proposed cuts went against Wisconsin tradition and were callous to the 65,000 people who would no longer be covered by the state, "They deserve an honest answer as though they were sitting here looking you in the face with an explanation of what they're supposed to do in July of 2012 when they can no longer afford health care and will have no place else to turn to care for their children."

The plan passed the budget committee along party lines, but it still needs approval by the federal government. There's a good chance that won't happen. And if it doesn't, the department would implement a different plan that would kick 53,000 people off BadgerCare.

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