Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Paul Ryan Budget Would Cut Medicaid Coverage In Half: Study

The Huffington Post  |  By Jeffrey Young Posted: 10/23/2012 3:57 pm EDT Updated: 10/23/2012 11:33 pm EDT
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Paul Ryan Budget
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's plan to replace the Medicaid entitlement program with a system controlled by states would cut federal funding by $1.7 trillion and reduce enrollment by 50 percent, according to a new report released Tuesday.
Under the Ryan plan to cap federal spending on Medicaid and repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform law, 37.5 million fewer people would receive benefits, the Tuesday Urban Institute report concludes. Wisconsin Rep. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, shepherded his plan to passage in the Republican-led House in 2011 and 2012. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also supports cutting federal Medicaid spending.
"The proposed changes and reductions in federal financing for Medicaid under the House Budget Plan would almost certainly worsen the problem of the uninsured and strain the nation’s safety net," the Urban Institute report says. "Medicaid's ability to continue these many roles in the health care system would be significantly compromised under this proposal, with no obvious alternative to take its place."
Romney and Ryan, with the support of the Republican Governors Association, tout Medicaid block-grant proposals as a way to reduce the federal budget deficit and to let states devise new ways of providing health care to needy people. "We’ll take that health care program for the poor and we give it to the states to run because states run these programs more efficiently," Romney said during a debate with Obama Monday.
Enacting Ryan's plan would reduce federal funding to states by $810 billion from 2013 to 2022, according to the new report. In addition, Romney and Ryan support scrapping health care reform, which the Congressional Budget Office projects will add 14 million people to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, a related benefit, by 2022. Health care reform repeal would take an additional $932 billion out of Medicaid compared to what would be spent if all states expand Medicaid as the law allows.
Federal Medicaid spending over those 10 years would be $4.6 trillion under current law and $2.8 trillion under Ryan's plan, which represents a 38 percent cut.
There is a limit to how innovative states could be if federal funding were cut by 38 percent, however, partly because states already are containing costs in their Medicaid programs, according to the Urban Institute.
"Over the past decade, per enrollee Medicaid spending grew by less than 3% per year, below the growth in per capita gross domestic product," the report says. "Controlling Medicaid spending growth much below levels experienced in the past may be difficult to achieve."
Currently, Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal government and the states, each of which runs its program under federal guidelines about who must be covered and what benefits they receive.
The program is targeted to low-income people and mainly serves poor children and senior citizens in nursing homes, though it also covers some parents of poor children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and a small number of childless adults. Fifty-five million Americans received Medicaid benefits during an average month this year, the Urban Institute estimates.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rainy Days for the Poor
The waiting list for the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan grows, Medicaid enrollment plummets, and HMOs start pulling out of SE Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Governor Walker touts his "Rainy Day" Fund. In this episode of the HealthWatch WatchDog, Bobby and Brynne ask what it will take for the Walker Administration to actually help people connect to health coverage. How can Wisconsin move FORWARD to help more people?
Click here or on the image at the right to watch the episode!
Miss an episode? Visit our WATCHDOG LIBRARY to catch up on topics from Season 4 or Season 5!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Core Plan Wait List
As of Sept. 20, 2012. Have you heard a new number? Give us a call: 608-261-6939 ext 204!
As of September 20th, the Core Plan Wait List has now surpassed 145,000. That means that in just three weeks the wait list has added over 6,000 adults--that's 6,000 more uninsured adults who still need access to affordable health care and coverage!  (In our August 31st Update newsletter, we recorded the Wait List at just under 139,000 people.)
HealthWatch maintains that the Department of Health Services should properly screen applicants and help identify coverage options for these people, including, but not limited to, Elderly, Blind and Disabled Medicaid, Medicaid Assistance Purchase Plan, HIRSP, or SSI/SSDI.


Fewer People on BadgerCare, Wisconsin Public Radio, Oct. 15, 2012
Changes designed to pare back Wisconsin's Medicaid programs are having an effect on enrollment. Critics say participation in BadgerCare is "plummeting."

SeniorCare One Step Closer to Renewal, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Press Release, Oct. 15, 2012
Secretary Dennis G. Smith today announced the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) certified that Wisconsin’s SeniorCare application met the requirements for complete application and advanced to the next phase of the approval process.

Announcement of Solicitation of Written Comments on Modifications of Healthy People 2020 Objectives, Federal Register, Oct. 15, 2012
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) solicits written comments regarding new objectives proposed to be added to Healthy People 2020 since its launch in December 2010 and written comments proposing new objectives to be included within existing Healthy People 2020 Topic Areas.

Safety-Net Hospitals Brace For Cut To Federal Subsidies, Kaiser Health News, Oct. 14, 2012
For more than 20 years, hospitals have relied on subsidies provided by the federal government to help defray those costs. But that funding is set to decline starting in 2014 with the full implementation of the federal health law.

FAQ: The Health Law And Coverage For Immigrants, Kaiser Health News, Oct. 11, 2012
The U.S. is home to more than 21 million immigrants who are not citizens, and for many of them, health coverage is a concern. That is partly because so many of these immigrants, both those who came here legally and those who do not have permission to live in the United States, work in lower wage jobs that don’t include health coverage.

BadgerCare Plus Enrollment Plummets by Over 16,000, ABC for Health, Oct. 9, 2012
The BadgerCare Plus enrollment numbers for August and September 2012 were finally published by the state Department of Health Services, revealing a precipitous decline in enrollment for Wisconsin’s health care programs.

Americans Making Fewer Visits to the Doctor, Wisconsin Public Radio, Oct. 9, 2012
Americans are going to the doctor less often than they were 10 years ago. A census report says lack of insurance may be one reason why. And according to one Wisconsin health co-op, even those with insurance have not increased their trips to the doctor.

Man dies after frustration with state-funded ride provider, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Oct. 6, 2012
The fight against cancer and kidney failure was more than enough of a burden for Jim Barry. But it was the lack of rides to treatment after LogistiCare took over that ultimately did him in, according to family and friends.

Thursday, October 11, 2012



New enrollment numbers by Department of Health Services show BadgerCare Plus enrollment plummets by 16,116 since July 1

The BadgerCare Plus enrollment numbers for August and September have now been published, and they reveal a precipitous decline in enrollment for programs. According to the new data published by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), combined enrollment for BadgerCare Plus and BadgerCare Plus Core Plan is down by 16,116, statewide
These numbers reflect the first major impact of the July 1 changes to the eligibility rules for BadgerCare Plus for non-pregnant, non-disabled adults. The changes include higher monthly premiums, increased crowd-out, increased income reporting, and a more restrictive re-enrollment period (RRP) for those who are unable to keep up with their new, higher premiums. Those who have lost coverage are mostly low-income parents of children receiving BadgerCare Plus. Low-income adults without dependent children have also been affected, however, as the data shows enrollment for the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan down by nearly 2,000.
Today's enrollment numbers exemplify the latest evidence of an alarming trend of rising uninsurance for Wisconsin in recent years, now up to 10.4% according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.