Congressional Changes to Medicaid Leave Wisconsin Behind

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 5:54 PM by

AHCA Would Permanently Lock in Wisconsin’s Lower Federal Funding

Without so much as a single public hearing, Congress is close to approving huge changes to Medicaid that substantially reduce spending and radically change how funding is allocated. One of the ways that those changes will hurt Wisconsin is by permanently penalizing states like ours that currently spend well below the national average for each person in Medicaid.

One aspect of this problem has gotten some press attention this week – the way that the new funding allocation will lock into place lower federal support for the 19 states, including Wisconsin, that did not take federal Medicaid expansion funds. Jason Stein’s June 13 article in the Journal Sentinel does a nice job of covering that issue.

However, an even more basic problem is that the new funding formula would be based on each state’s average spending per Medicaid participant, which will freeze into place the lower federal funding levels in states that have had very narrow benefits and also in states with more generous benefits but more efficient use of their funding. Read more

Efforts to Repeal and Replace the ACA Boost the Current Law’s Support

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 5:23 PM by

Polling Shows Public Opposition to House Bill and to Medicaid Changes

The more that Congress extends the debate about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the stronger support gets for the existing law. And as people learn more about the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which is the bill the House passed last month that would repeal and replace the ACA, the more they dislike the House plan.

The latest survey results from the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll show that the majority of Americans, 55 percent, are not pleased with AHCA.   The poll also found that:

  • 55% of the public want the Senate to make major changes to the bill or just not pass it all.
  • Only 31% view the AHCA favorably, vs 49% who view the ACA favorably.
Read more

Trump Budget Demonstrates the Perils of Changing Medicaid

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 5:39 PM by

Medicaid Cut Projected to Be 45% in 2026, and More in Future Years

In order to pay for huge tax cuts for corporations and wealthy Americans, the President is proposing massive Medicaid cuts – far beyond the amounts contained in the House plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Whereas the House-passed bill is now projected to cut Medicaid by $834 billion over the next 10 years, the Trump budget unveiled this week would cut Medicaid by about $1.3 trillion, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).  The following bar graph illustrates how those cuts would get deeper over time. Read more

Negative Effects of the House Health Care Bill Keep Expanding

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 3:17 PM by

[UPDATE — This post was revised on May 3 to reflect the new position of Congressman Fred Upton, who has authored an amendment that might secure enough votes for House passage of the bill on May 4.]

Passage of the House plan to repeal and partially replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would make sweeping changes that negatively affect most Americans. Yet some opponents of the ACA have made the mistaken or disingenuous argument that few people would be affected.

Governor Walker, for example, told reporters on March 8 of this year that repealing and replacing the ACA with Speaker Ryan’s plan would only affect a small percentage of Wisconsinites:

“Most people aren’t going to be affected by this no matter what happens because if you get your health insurance from your employer, which is almost everybody here and almost everybody in this state, nothing changes.”

That assessment was flawed at the time, and since early March it has steadily become more apparent that most Wisconsinites could be adversely affected. Read more

Categories: Blog, federal issues, health care reform, Medicaid | Comments Off on Negative Effects of the House Health Care Bill Keep Expanding

Wisconsin Schools Benefit Greatly from Federal Medicaid Funds

Monday, April 24, 2017 at 4:02 PM by

House Plans to Cut Medicaid Would Jeopardize Critical Health Services for Students

Wisconsin schools have a lot at stake in the debate about federal support for Medicaid. Even though Wisconsin ranks 19th nationally in the size of its school-age population, our state ranks 7th highest in federal funding for Medicaid services provided by schools.

According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Wisconsin schools received more than $187 million for Medicaid services in 2015, including more than $107 million in federal Medicaid funds. That amount is higher than in all but six other states, despite the fact that Wisconsin ranks near the bottom in total Medicaid spending per child. These figures indicate that Wisconsin schools have done a good job of utilizing federal assistance to support school-based health services.

Medicaid provides health care for more than 1.1 million Wisconsinites, including about 500,000 children, but many people are unaware of its significance for schools. Read more

Categories: federal issues, health care reform, K-12, Medicaid | Comments Off on Wisconsin Schools Benefit Greatly from Federal Medicaid Funds

The Case for Expanding BadgerCare Grows Stronger

Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 5:57 PM by

$190 Million Annual Savings + Threats to Federal Marketplace = Stronger Case for Expansion

There are many reasons why it makes sense for Wisconsin to modestly increase the eligibility ceiling for BadgerCare. A new memo by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) sheds light on and strengthens one of those reasons – the large savings for Wisconsin from increasing the BadgerCare eligibility standard for adults.

Ironically, the ongoing efforts to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may also bolster the case for expanding BadgerCare, since the individual insurance Marketplace created by the ACA was Governor Walker’s rationale for sharply reducing BadgerCare eligibility. But let’s come back to that point after taking a closer look at the fiscal effect of expansion.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states that expand eligibility of adults to 138% of the federal poverty level are eligible for substantially higher federal cost sharing. Taking that step would qualify Wisconsin for reimbursement of at least 90% federal funding for the costs of covering childless adults, compared to the 58% reimbursement rate in effect now. Read more

Categories: 2017-19 biennial budget, BadgerCare Plus, Blog, health care reform, Medicaid | Comments Off on The Case for Expanding BadgerCare Grows Stronger

The Sneak Attack on Medicaid

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 6:07 PM by

House Changes Make a Terrible Bill Even Worse

The House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes far beyond changing that law. Without so much as a single public hearing, the bill being voted on by the House this week also makes radical changes to the structure of the Medicaid program that provides health care coverage for about one-fifth of Americans.

The bill would impose an arbitrary cap on federal Medicaid funding, thereby shifting costs to states, health care providers, communities, and those who can least afford it. It would dismantle Medicaid’s flexible financing structure that has protected children, families, individuals with disabilities and seniors during economic downturns or when our state faced increased health care costs due to natural disasters or public health emergencies.

Rather than providing states with more flexibility, this financial restructuring would give Washington D.C. more control over Wisconsin because federal politicians would be able to lower the amount they send our state to support Medicaid.  Read more

Categories: Blog, health care reform, Medicaid | Comments Off on The Sneak Attack on Medicaid

ACA Replacement Plan Generates Broad Opposition

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 6:59 PM by

Weaker Carrots & Different Sticks = Huge Increase in the Uninsured

The House plan to the repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is having the strange effect of uniting an extremely broad range of federal lawmakers. The plan that was unveiled Monday evening seems to be opposed not only by all the Democrats, but also by the most Conservative Republicans, like the members of the “Freedom Caucus,” and by a number of more moderate Republicans in Medicaid expansion states.

But notwithstanding the broad opposition, it appears that the new 400-page bill will be voted on in two different House committees on Wednesday. What’s particularly alarming is that those committees will vote on the bill without waiting for the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the effects on the federal budget and on the number of Americans who have health insurance. Two committees will cast their votes without knowing whether the bill adds up and without adequately assessing the potential damage to health insurance access and affordability. Read more

Categories: Blog, health care reform, Medicaid | Comments Off on ACA Replacement Plan Generates Broad Opposition

New Poverty Guidelines Shed Light on Health Policy Debates

Friday, February 3, 2017 at 6:43 PM by

Federal policy guidelines that were adjusted for inflation last week are worth examining because they help illustrate the challenges faced by low-income working families. They show, for example, that single parents with one child are currently ineligible for BadgerCare if they have a full-time job that pays more than $7.81 per hour!

The federal poverty guidelines are updated early each year, and the 2017 guidelines that were issued on January 31 increase the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) by 1.3%. That raises eligibility for many federal benefit programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps and child care subsidies. An updated table on the Wisconsin Budget Project website shows what the poverty level is for different family sizes and how that affects eligibility for different public benefits. It also translates the annual poverty level figures into monthly and hourly incomes. Read more

Categories: BadgerCare Plus, Blog, health care reform, Medicaid, poverty | Comments Off on New Poverty Guidelines Shed Light on Health Policy Debates

ACA Repeal Would Sharply Reduce Insurance Coverage for Kids

Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 7:26 PM by
Repeal of the federal health care reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), would cause the number of children who are uninsured to more than double. Repealing the ACA without developing a viable replacement plan would result in an increase of 4.4 million additional uninsured children.
Categories: Blog, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES, health care reform, In Focus Health Human Services | Comments Off on ACA Repeal Would Sharply Reduce Insurance Coverage for Kids