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

No comments:

Post a Comment