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.

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