Thursday, March 8, 2012

Richards, Erpenbach urge budget committee chairs to act now on
BadgerCare Protection Act

Madison—Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) today formally asked the chairs of the Joint Finance Committee to immediately schedule a public hearing and vote on the BadgerCare Protection Act (SB 538).  SB 538 would stop the state health department from implementing changes to BadgerCare that would result in tens of thousands of Wisconsinites losing state health care coverage.  A new corporate tax loophole would be closed to fund the measure.    

“Budgets are all about choices,” Richards and Erpenbach wrote in their letter to Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Robin Vos. “Unfortunately, the state budget put corporate profits before affordable health care. The BadgerCare Protection Act provides an opportunity to undo that bad choice by protecting affordable health care and restoring some fairness to Wisconsin’s tax code.”
The BadgerCare Protection Act:

·         Prohibits DHS from implementing higher cost sharing requirements and other changes to BadgerCare that will result in tens of thousands of Wisconsin families losing coverage;
·         Repeals a new tax loophole created in the state budget that allows large corporations with subsidiaries to retroactively claim business losses to lower their tax liability for up to 20 years, costing state taxpayers about $40 million annually;
·         Takes $17.1 million from closing the corporate tax loophole to protect BadgerCare and deposits the balance into the general fund to help close the budget deficit; and
·         Prohibits DHS from requiring government issued photo IDs as the sole source for verifying state residency for BadgerCare eligibility purposes.

Organizational supporters of SB 538 include: Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Save BadgerCare Coalition, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, 9 to 5 Milwaukee, Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, Wisconsin Jobs Now, Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin, Coalition for Wisconsin Health, Greater Wisconsin Committee, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, AFSCME, South Central Federation of Labor, National Association of Social Workers Wisconsin Chapter, AFT Wisconsin, Institute for Wisconsin’s Future, ABC for Health, Wisconsin Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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