Wisconsin Gets $32 Million More in Federal Bonus Funds
Supplemental 2011 Award Adds to New 2012 CHIPRA Bonus
The federal government announced today that Wisconsin is receiving an additional $32 million in bonus awards for the state’s success in improving children’s access to health care through the BadgerCare program. Wisconsin is one of 23 states getting bonuses for 2012 under a portion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), which provides payments to states that are particularly successful in cutting red tape and removing administrative hurdles to enroll more uninsured children in their Medicaid programs.
If you saw the 2012 bonus awards chart from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), you might think that the $32 million figure is a typo, because the chart shows that Wisconsin will receive a 2012 bonus of $23.3 million. That’s correct, but if you study another HHS document you will see that the 2011 CHIPRA bonus is now shown to be $33.2 million, which is $8.7 million more than had previously been announced ($24.5 million). The explanation for the difference is that this fall Wisconsin was awarded a supplemental bonus of $8.7 million for 2011, bringing the total of new federal funds to $32 million. The information about the supplement comes as much more of a surprise than learning that the state will receive a new bonus for 2012.
This is the fourth year of federal performance bonus awards and the third straight year that Wisconsin has qualified for an award. The new $23.3 million bonus payment for 2012 is the fourth largest nationally. and Wisconsin’s total of $80 million since the inception of the bonus awards is the second highest.
Since none of the new $32 million was allocated in the 2011-13 budget, the big question is: what will the Walker Administration do with the additional funding? Once the state receives these dollars, there are no strings on them. They can be reinvested in BadgerCare and Medicaid, or they could be lapsed to the General Fund. In a press release issued today, WCCF executive director Ken Taylor urges using the funding to address BadgerCare and Medicaid needs:
“There are a number of critical improvements in access to care that the state could apply these funds to, such as reopening enrollment in the BadgerCare Core program and improving reimbursement rates for providers.”
More information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can be found here.