U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Op-Ed

The Wisconsin Way?

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin calls on Governor Walker to move health care reform forward.

By - Sep 16th, 2014 03:43 pm
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Gov. Scott Walker.

Gov. Scott Walker.

A missed opportunity for a federal investment to strengthen our state BadgerCare program. Almost sixty-three thousand low-income parents terminated from the program. Nearly thirty-eight thousand people kicked off their health insurance and unaccounted for by the Walker Administration. Wisconsin taxpayers exposed to higher costs.

Governor Walker has called this the “Wisconsin Way” and when I raised concerns he said, “This is something where somebody is looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

The problem is not just that the Governor and our Republican controlled State Legislature refused to accept a federal investment in our BadgerCare program, but the larger problem is that they also decided to pursue a plan that the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) says will cost taxpayers more and cover fewer people.  In fact, the LFB report showed that if the Walker Administration had chosen to accept federal funding through the Affordable Care Act for a full expansion of BadgerCare, the state could have saved more than $500 million over 3 ½ years and about 87,000 more adults would have been served under BadgerCare Plus.

The Walker Administration’s fiscally irresponsible path isn’t the “Wisconsin way,” it’s the wrong way.

In July, Walker’s own Department of Health Services released a report that revealed the Governor’s decision to kick approximately 63,000 Wisconsinites out of BadgerCare has resulted in a gap in coverage despite his claims that there is no coverage gap in Wisconsin. The Walker Administration had contended that they would successfully transition 90 percent of these former BadgerCare recipients to plans in the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace. However, that promise was not kept for 60 percent, almost 38,000 individuals.  Health care policy experts project that many of these Wisconsinites, some making as little as $12,000 a year, are now likely uninsured. What’s worse is that not only has the Governor failed to effectively transition them to the private health insurance Marketplace offered by the Affordable Care Act, but that his Administration can’t account for them.

Governor Walker may not think this is a problem, but I do.

That is why I called on Governor Walker to fully account for the nearly 38,000 people in Wisconsin who he terminated from BadgerCare coverage. It is also why I worked to find a solution for these Wisconsinites. I asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to immediately grant a special enrollment period in the federal Marketplace for the almost 38,000 Wisconsinites who lost their health insurance coverage because of the choices Governor Walker has made.

Recently, the Obama Administration answered my call to help fix the problem caused by the Walker Administration. This special enrollment period will provide the Walker Administration with a second chance to keep their promise to the people that they removed from BadgerCare. It is now my hope that Governor Walker will embrace this opportunity and work to provide these Wisconsinites the health insurance they need and deserve.

I fully understand that despite the fact the Affordable Care Act has provided health care coverage to 139,815 Wisconsinites who have signed up for private health insurance through the Marketplace, Governor Walker opposes the health reform law and has supported its repeal.

But the last thing Wisconsin families need right now when they are struggling to get ahead is elected officials putting their own personal, partisan politics first. It’s time to seize the opportunity to move health care reform forward and put progress for Wisconsin ahead of politics. That is the “Wisconsin Way.”

Tammy Baldwin is a Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

20 thoughts on “Op-Ed: The Wisconsin Way?”

  1. Jeffrey Jordan says:

    Reading this it harkens to the days when George Wallace stood in the door of the school refusing to allow black students to attend. Walker is making this very expensive and heartless play anticipating his run for President. While this plays very well to the ultra conservative and uninformed tea party, this tactic is hurting people in the State of Wisconsin in a very real way.
    Walker can’t back down and he won’t. His future is more important to him and his minority of zealots. Backing down from this, or any of the other foolish decisions he’s made, is unacceptable to his financial backers.
    By the way, Wallace eventually apologized for his actions. some say a commendable action. Others felt it was too little to late

  2. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Facts are funny things, they never get in the way of the Left.
    Fast: Scott was one of the big movers in developing Badgercare with Tommy and Rosenzweig. He did not take the new Medicaid cause it cannot be sustained, in this state without pushing out school funding. If you take the enhanced Medicaid instead of keeping people in Badgercare and Obamacare, Isn’t obama care the miracle plan Left, you will see what we mean.
    The press has failed to figure out what happened 5-10 years from now when the state has to pick up the costs, that are rapidly escalating, and what it will do to the budget. We will have Corrections, Medicaid and schools with no money for anything else. The schools will get less. IF the Feds go to the same reimbursement as present Medicaid, notice we still have half a trillion deficit, our budget will be broken. The public employess will have to take huge cuts along with the schools. There are finite limits to taxation as we know. The jobs are going south and taking our people, retirees etc with them. You can see that in Milwaukee the last 40 years. Walker has saved us.

  3. Observer says:

    WCD, I’m not sure of your crystal ball for life 5 to 10 years in the future but I can tell as fact, we will never get that money back that Walker turned his nose up on. Likewise we will never get those jobs that Talgo would have brought to Milwaukee. This state is suffocating from Walker’s inept policies and that is fact too.

  4. David Ciepluch says:

    Facts are that Walker and Republicans have led Wisconsin to a bottom of class state in the Midwest and nation in many meaningful. We have gone from a top ten rated state for energy efficiency and renewable energy to middle of class and dropping more. Walker is corrupt proven by a cadre of staff that went to prison and being investigated for his pay to play politics. Walker is a liar at least 77% if the time according to Politifact. In my opinion he is an extremely poor role model, divisive, uneducated, an insult and embarrassment to a majority of us, that leaves a toxic stench permeating the state of Wisconsin. His laws were written by corporations in his pay to play scheme, and provided by ALEC, which is nothing but a 21st Century version of fascism.

    The real tax breaks are a bait and switch that has gone to the wealthy class that outsources jobs with these breaks in other countries. This is proven by large corporations that in the last decade have killed 3 million jobs in the USA, and created 2.3 million jobs offshore. Trickle down economics is a huge lie and theft from the rest of us.

  5. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    David, it is better for people to think you are idiot than post these things and prove it. Walker saved us from being Illinois/California.

  6. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Headlines to day in business section shows how inept Obamacare is and the federal programs and how good wisconsin is in covering people.
    Unisured rate in Wisconsin is the lowest in the country. Walker accomplished this by using Medicaid, Badgercare and Obamacare, much more effective than taking on the budget busting new Medicaid.
    Thank you Scott Walker for saving us millions by not taking on the exchanges.

  7. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    We elect people to look into the future or we end up like Ill. bankrupt. Fact is that cost of Medicaid are exploding and will drag everything down.
    California has seen the costs of halfast rail quadruple in just few years and now it is not even going to go where they wanted it to go cause of costs.
    Walker saved us again. also the nutty Barrett trolley when we need more buses will kill Milwaukee.
    More Milwaukee nuttiness, the figures are all there.

  8. Tom D says:

    WCD, “halffast” doesn’t apply to California’s new trains–which are being built from scratch for 220 mph, hardly “halffast”!

  9. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    That speed is halfassed dream, California govt. does nothing right. No one believes it will ever go that fast and many question if it will ever be built.

  10. WisGuy2014 says:

    So let me get this straight according to Tammy it is Walker’s fault people cannot afford the unaffordable care act? Let’s be honest here people even the worst plan offered is near $200 and has about a $6,000 deductible. That’s not affordable if you ask me. Perhaps in your talks with Obama you should have asked him to be accountable to the millions of people removed from their care, to be accountable to the millions forced into over priced plans, to the millions now paying for services they will never use (pregnancy when your a guy????) etc.

    No your answer is we should become a welfare state and take more goverment money. Don’t fix the problem throw money at it is basically your answer. Why not find out why these people cannot afford care, why not find out why they are working minimum wage jobs? If the answer is they lack the skills to do anything else how would giving them free care solve their core issues? Why not instead invest in them getting job training so they become productive members of society who can care for themselves? Why is it the Democrat platform always seems to revolve around making life “easier” by keeping people stupid?

  11. Andy says:

    Walkers changes to Badgercare were pretty ingenious… the only thing that fouled it up was the problems with Obamacare which are out of Wisconsin’s control. Twist facts all you like, but if Obamacare was working the way they said it would, these people would not be left holding the bag. But if blaming Walker for Obama’s failures helps your candidate get elected in November then I guess by all means, go ahead and try it.

  12. Observer says:

    My wife has an Obamacare gold plan and pays $185 a month with a yearly $250 deductible. She pays $25 for a doctor visit and has $20 medication costs. What in the world are you talking about, WisGuy? Did you get your figures from a friend of a friend who heard it on a call on Mark Belling, Sykes or Beck?

  13. PMD says:

    Bashing Obamacare doesn’t seem to be as popular a campaign tactic as it used to be. One poll even shows that if you call it something else, a majority of Republicans like it.

  14. WisGuy2014 says:

    Sorry Observer that is simply incorrect either that or she is getting subsidized. When the ACA first opened for enrollment my options as a 27 year old healthy male were $200 and up with no option for a subsidy since i work for a living. Either your wife is getting offsets or you’re simply not telling the truth

    Here is a link to when the plans first were revealed in 2013
    http://fox6now.com/2013/09/25/affordable-care-act-premium-rates-announced-wednesday/

    In Wisconsin, the average premium for the lowest-cost silver plan will be $344 and for the lowest cost bronze plan it will be $287.

    So again either your wife is getting paid for or your a liar

  15. PMD says:

    If those figures are averages, couldn’t he in fact be telling the truth?

  16. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    This is really amazing to me. The Left has been beaming about the passage of Obamacare then when Walker puts the people on it they cry. No one seems to want to look more than one year in the future to see what the bigger Medicaid will be and what it could be taking into the fact that the Feds are broke.

  17. Tom D says:

    I found this website that shows your ACA options, with and without subsidy.

    http://www.valuepenguin.com/ppaca/exchanges/wi

    Be sure to enter your county, family size, smoking status, and income. For a single 27 year-old living in Milwaukee County, the cheapest policy (a “catastrophic” one) is $168.73/month with a $6,350 deductible (but all “catastrophic” policies fully cover–without regard to deductible–3 doctor visits/year and preventative care like flu shots).

    That same 27 year-old Milwaukee County resident could lower his deductible to $3,000 by paying $247.33/month for the cheapest “silver” plan.

    All of the rates quoted above are WITHOUT any government subsidy.

    If you live outside Wisconsin, you can find your rates at
    http://www.valuepenguin.com/understanding-aca-subsidies
    (just click on your state on the US map that comes up)

  18. Observer says:

    She is indeed getting a subsidy. Those figures are accurate. Perhaps your income does not allow for a subsidy for you and for you that would be good news.

  19. Andy says:

    I’m not understanding what the issues are here with Walker’s plan to move some people onto Obamacare so others who were not eligible could move onto Badgercare? Especially if these subsidies are so great and the plans so cheap, this should not be a problem.

    Stand behind the program you supported.

  20. Terri says:

    I know this thread is almost a month old, but I must comment. I am 39 and on disability. I do get Medicare, but lost badgercare as my secondary insurance due to Walker not accepting the additional funding. Most insurance companies won’t give me supplemental insurance due to my age and I can’t supplement with Obamacare, not that I can afford either. I am currently not going to the doctor as I should since I cannot afford the 20% Medicare doesn’t cover which isn’t helping me get back in the workforce and get off of disability. As for my husband, he was obviously cut off badgercare and now on Obamacare. He is on the verge of needing a kidney transplant and we can’t afford to pay doctor bills since his copay is $2500. We have 4 children to care for. He works full time and I work 11 hrs per week which is all I can handle. We are intelligent people. A better job is not available to my husband because the jobs are not there. It has nothing to do with lack of skills. I am college educated, but can’t work full time because of my disability. So without badgercare we are digging ourselves into a financial hole trying to make it by building up credit card debt.

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