Under the bill that passed the Assembly, 72,000 parents and caretakers who were poised to lose their BadgerCare coverage at the end of the year will now get to keep it until April 1. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) says the state had hoped to shift them to the federal health insurance marketplace.
“We kept our part of the bargain, but the federal government didn't keep theirs,” said Vos. “Which is why we are giving an additional three months for anybody in Wisconsin who is going to transition off of BadgerCare into the private exchanges to get that done.”
The bill that passed the Assembly would also mean another 83,000 adults without kids who were promised BadgerCare on Jan. 1 will have to wait until April. Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) called it a false choice, one that other states – some with Republican governors – have managed to avoid.
“And the reason why is because they made the responsible choice of accepting the federal Medicaid expansion dollars, so we wouldn't be in this situation today where we're given this false choice, where we have to choose between sacrificing one group for another,” said Hintz.
While the outcome of this vote was never in doubt, the way it happened was unusual. Six Democrats joined Republicans in voting yes. Several Democrats complained that Republicans called the roll before they had a chance to speak. In fact, Vos and Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) were both across the street at a Rotary Club meeting when the vote happened. Their colleagues cast votes for them anyway.