NASW WI urges you to contact Joint Finance Committee members and ask them to vote no on the Department of Health Services’ proposed changes to Medicaid. These changes will make it much more difficult for many low income individuals and families to afford health insurance in Wisconsin. The NASW WI Position Paper follows the list and contact information for Joint Finance Committee members.
Members of the Joint Committee on Finance
Senator Alberta Darling
Senator Luther Olsen
Senator Shelia Harsdorf
Senator Joseph Leibham
Senator Glenn Grothman
Senator Rich Zipperer
Senator Lena Taylor
Senator Robert Jauch
Representative Robin Vos
Representative Dan Meyer
Representative Daniel LeMahieu
Representative John Nygren
Representative Patricia Strachota
Representative Joel Kleefisch
Representative Tamara Grigsby
Representative Cory Mason
NASW-WI Position Paper on the Proposed Medicaid Changes in Wisconsin
The National Association of Social Workers, Wisconsin Chapter (NASW-WI) seeks to enhance the work of social workers across the state by promoting economic and social justice for vulnerable populations in Wisconsin. BadgerCare has been a program that has enhanced the lives of those living in poverty as it has provided access to healthcare at prices that families and individuals can afford. This has reduced visits to emergency rooms and has increased preventative care, overall reducing costs to Wisconsin.
We applaud some of the proposed innovations in the healthcare system.
– Increasing funding to use a trauma-informed care approach for the care of children in foster care will enhance the opportunity for screening and intervening appropriately for these children.
– Putting forth a pilot study for medical homes for particularly vulnerable populations is an innovative way to increase efficiencies and reduce cost.
However, the proposed reductions to Medicaid will undercut any ability on the part of low-income individuals and their families to successfully meet basic healthcare needs.
– Increasing premium rates will cause individuals and families either to choose to not have healthcare or will put them at further risk for failure to meet other basic human needs including shelter, food, transportation, and education.
– Counting the income of all adults in a household will keep some families who should be eligible from being eligible. While this rule was added to capture and reflect the financial makeup for houses with domestic partners, it will have unintended consequences for the homeless population. Individuals and families whose income does not allow them to live in their own home often resort to “doubling up” instead of utilizing the homeless shelter system. This very vulnerable population will be negatively affected by this rule and will exclude some of the most needy and vulnerable in Wisconsin.
– Requiring in-state residency has the potential to slow an individual or family’s enrollment. Many impoverished people do not have easy access to documents that prove in-state residency.
– Restricting access for young adults assumes that young adult children are able to be on their parents’ private insurance. Yet the cycle of poverty predicts that young adult children in need of BadgerCare are in need because their parents either don’t have insurance or are on BadgerCare themselves.
– Reducing reimbursement rates to providers and HMOs will limit providers’ abilities to care for patients in the outpatient setting, again contributing to increased costs in other parts of the healthcare system, such as emergency care.
The impact of these proposed cuts will extend well beyond low-income populations to include private pay consumers of healthcare, healthcare providers, and the emergency department. Private pay consumers are already burdened by increasing cost-sharing. These proposed cuts to Medicaid will cause a decrease in access to preventative care, and will cause an increase in more expensive emergency care, the burden of which will fall on the middle class through their insurance. These proposed cuts are, in effect, abandoning Wisconsin’s most vulnerable population and, at the same time placing a further strain on the private sector.
NASW urges DHS to look further into innovative programs that can increase efficiencies and reduce costs, instead of increasing premiums and reducing services. Specifically, NASW encourages DHS to rework the provision regarding counting income in a home so that it more accurately reflects a family’s income, instead of a household’s. Reducing an individual or family’s ability to access preventative healthcare puts them at risk for poorer health, which will lead to more costly healthcare in emergency departments. This cost will come back to the State of Wisconsin, and the burden will be on private-sector insurances and middle-class individuals and families.
For more information on NASW WI’s Legislative/Social Policy committee please contact NASW WI Executive Director Marc Herstand toll free at 866-462-7994 or (608) 257-6334 or firstname.lastname@example.org