Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Press Release

Rejecting BadgerCare Money Costing Nearly $400 Million in State Budget

The Joint Finance Committee is expected to take up the issue later today.

By - May 21st, 2015 06:29 am

Statewide: New numbers show that the decision to reject enhanced federal dollars for BadgerCare will cost the state $398 million in the next state budget. The Joint Finance Committee is expected to take up the issue later today.

Here is the math. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau in March tallied a net loss of $345 million to the next state budget as a consequence of Governor Walker’s decision to reject enhanced federal funding for BadgerCare provided by the Affordable Care Act. New data released this week by the Fiscal Bureau, and analyzed by Jon Peacock of the Wisconsin Council of Children and Families, shows that the cost of Walker’s refusal to accept the federal funds for BadgerCare has gone up again, because roughly 6,800 additional childless adults will be in BadgerCare than previously projected. This will cost the state budget an additional $23 million, on top of the original $345 million loss to the state. As Citizen Action of Wisconsin has recently reported, one of the reasons for increasing BadgerCare enrollment is the number of poverty wage jobs being created in Wisconsin.

In addition, Walker’s budget includes an additional $30 million in state dollars for Disproportionate Share Hospital payments to partially make up for the financial impact on hospitals of turning down the enhanced BadgerCare money. This increased expenditure is only necessary because Wisconsin is turning down enhanced federal funding for BadgerCare.

Adding together the cost to the state of higher than expected BadgerCare enrollment, and the disproportionate share payments, the decision to turn down Affordable Care Act dollars for BadgerCare will cost the state a total of $398 million in the next two year state budget alone, more than enough to reverse most of the slashing cuts to education in the Governor’s budget.

“Rejecting hundreds of millions of federal dollars for BadgerCare may be the most irresponsible budget decision in Wisconsin history,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The alleged budget shortfalls being used to justify slashing cuts is a manufactured crisis. Because of a purely political decision, tens of thousands of moderate income Wisconsinites are being needlessly denied affordable health coverage, and massive unnecessary cuts are being made to universities, public schools, and other vital public investments in economic opportunity.”

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