Thursday, May 6, 2021

WisGOP turns down Medicaid expansion, as BadgerCare Plus passes 1 million people

On a day when the WisGOPs on Joint Finance turn down $1.6 billion from the Federal government to get more Wisconsinites medical insurance, Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Plus program hit a notable milestone - 1 million people on the books.

This is an increase of nearly 30% since the COVID World began in March 2020. Most of that is due to more Wisconsinites being in poverty of all types, and even as the economy recovers, there are still increasing numbers of Wisconsinites in need for their health insurance. If you throw in the other specialty Medicaid programs (such as Senior Care and Children's support programs), and total enrollment has gone up by more than 260,000, to nearly 1.45 million.

One subsection of this increased enrollment are Wisconsinites who have beenm getting income extensions. You'll notice that this picked up last Summer and has kept growing since then.
Now let’s review who are the people getting these income extensions.
A BadgerCare Plus extension is a period of eligibility given to a person when the assistance group's income increases above 100 percent FPL either due to an increase in earned income and/or spousal support and otherwise meets the BadgerCare Plus eligibility criteria for people with incomes below 100 percent FPL.

A parent/caretaker relative or pregnant woman can enter an extension due to an increase above 100 percent FPL in the assistance group’s earned income, spousal support, or both. The children, stepchildren, and NLRR children of the parent/caretaker will also enter the extension at this time, provided they are under age 19, living with the parent/caretakers, and meet the income requirements outlined in Section 18.1.3 Children.
In other words, these are people who likely fell into poverty and onto BadgerCare as jobs were lost in Spring 2020, and now have goten themselves back above the poverty line. But how many of those people have gotten health insurance as they either return to their jobs, or find new ones?

This indicates to me that there are a lot of Wisconsinites that are on the edge of poverty, even as things return to a new normal, and a decent amount of those people near poverty could have used the option of an expanded BadgerCare to get themselves and their families covered. Especially as their 12-month extensions start to expire over the next few months.

So in addition to the fiscal foolishness that WisGOP just pulled in not saving $1.6 billion in state tax dollars by accepting Medicaid expansion, it’s especially dumb because it would affect a lot of Wisconsinites in 2021. So many Sconnies have gone onto Medicaid in the last year, and many more might well need it even after climbing back out of poverty in recent months.

But when did WisGOPs care about fiscal soundness or good policy, anyway? They just want to keep as many Wisconsinites close to the edge as they can, without decent options for work or health insurance, so workers have to accept a lower standard of living. Which WisGOPs hope will make those Wisconsinites frustrated with how things are going under the current Dem governor and president, and allow them to slide back into full power after 2022.

It’s really sick, sad stuff.

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