JFC Approves Medicaid Plan Costing $490 Million More through FY 2021
Committee Adds $30 Million GPR to Assist Hospitals with Higher Uncompensated Care Costs
This afternoon the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) approved the Governor’s plan to expand BadgerCare to cover about 80,000 additional childless adults who are below the poverty level, which is financed primarily by making almost 90,000 parents over the poverty level ineligible for BadgerCare. However, the Governor underfunded the plan, and the omnibus motion approved today by JFC (by a party-line vote of 12-4) adds $106 million GPR to the bill.
Part of the increased spending is because of the one significant change the committee made to the Governor’s proposal. They added $30 million GPR and $43.6 million of federal matching funds to help hospitals with the higher cost of uncompensated care that is expected after the state cuts in half the current income eligibility ceiling for parents.
With the added funding for hospitals (which is just for the 2013-15 biennium), the Governor’s plan is now expected to cost state taxpayers about $490 million GPR more during the period 2014 through fiscal year 2021, compared to the BadgerCare compromise offered by Democrats on the committee. That alternative, which is the option backed by the Wisconsin Hospital Association and many others, would cover parents and childless adults up to 133% of the poverty level, or almost 85,000 more adults than the Governor’s plan.
Today’s addition of $30 million to the bill is an acknowledgment that the strategy of trying to move low-income adults from BadgerCare into the higher cost coverage in the new health insurance exchange will result in more uninsured Wisconsinites, less emphasis on preventative care, and higher costs for hospitals. Those problems are likely to continue long after the two years of assistance for hospitals expires.