GOP Plan Would Delay BadgerCare Changes Until April
By Shawn Johnson
Thursday, December 19, 2013, 5:24pm
A plan now on its way to Gov. Walker's desk would see thousands of people keeping coverage under BadgerCare a few months longer, while thousands more would have to wait longer for new coverage.
The plan would delay until April sweeping changes to BadgerCare that were scheduled to happen on January 1st. State Senator Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac was among several Republicans who blamed the federal government for the delay. “We had a plan. The fault with the plan is that we banked on the Affordable Care Act being ready by October 1st and January 1st,” Gudex said. “That was the only flaw in this plan. Had that worked out as the President had promised, we would not be sitting here today.”
For 72,000 parents and caretakers above the poverty level, the delay would let them stay on BadgerCare while the federal health insurance marketplace gets off the ground. But the state is paying for that extra time by delaying BadgerCare coverage to 83,000 childless adults who are below the federal poverty level.
Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach of Middleton described it as a false choice, one that would not be necessary if Republicans would accept federal Medicaid dollars to expand BadgerCare, even for just a few months. “It's very irresponsible to us, despite what you think, to take it out on our own people, which is what we're doing if we don't fix it. You don't like what President Obama did, so we're going to punish Wisconsinites.”
While the plan received a handful of Democratic votes when it passed the State Assembly earlier this month, it passed the Senate on a strict party line vote. Governor Walker, whose office initiated the changes, has signaled he will sign it into law.