Viewpoint: Budget Woes
There are many changes in the governor’s proposed budget that affect the health of residents throughout Wisconsin. As a practicing physician in Wisconsin, I know how important it is to draw attention to each of these changes, particularly those affecting coverage for low-income Wisconsinites.
The Legislature has implemented changes to our state Medicaid program, BadgerCare, in the previous two budgets. This has already dramatically changed a successful program. My patients and fellow providers are struggling to stay on top of these changes, which included limiting coverage for parents and introducing coverage for very low-income childless adults.
The current budget proposes additional changes to BadgerCare. These proposed changes have been lost in the media coverage on the budget and have not received due attention from lawmakers. These changes should be rejected.
The proposed budget requires the state to request a waiver from the federal government to make changes to coverage for childless adults, including: requiring enrollees to pay monthly premiums; limiting lifetime eligibility to 48 months; and requiring drug testing. These policy changes have proven to be ineffective and costly in other states.
The governor has promised to cut the uninsured rate in Wisconsin in half. The changes proposed to BadgerCare will undermine this commitment, and make it harder for my patients to get the quality care that they need and deserve. I urge you to join me in asking our state legislators to remove these changes to BadgerCare from the state budget.
Julie Fagan, M.D., internal medicine, Madison