Citizens Action of Wisconsin conference shows impact of the Affordable Care Act and Gov. Walker’s decisions on Medicaid.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin held a media conference call yesterday which released new numbers showing the impact of how Wisconsin is handling Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. “We really need to care for everyone in Wisconsin and part of the act moves us forward but leaves people behind,” said Robert Kraig, CAW Executive Director.
Kraig and state Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), who also serves as Dane County Board Human Services Chair, released a memo from the nonpartisan Legislature Fiscal Bureau showing the impact of lost Medicaid funds for each Wisconsin county. Nineteen counties have voted to accept Medicaid funds. But Gov. Scott Walker has shot down the idea of handling the funding on a county rather than state-wide basis. As a result, 84,700 people statewide who make between 100 percent to 133 percent of the federal poverty line have lost their Medicaid funding.
“Many people are signing up for insurance at healthcare.gov without being denied based on age and pre-existing health conditions. But the 83,000 citizens under Wisconsin’s poverty line are denied coverage for three extra months until April 1,” Kraig explained.
The Fiscal Bureau memo predicts that accepting Medicaid funds could mean creating many local jobs and bringing in revenue to save money for taxpayers. Citizens Action has pushed without success to give counties control over the funding.
“Here in Dane County, 4,200 people fall into the Medicaid gap that Walker has created,” Sargent noted. “Accepting the Medicaid funds would ensure their coverage and bring in $126 billion in tax revenue.”
Various callers from Wisconsin spoke on their standing on the Affordable Care Act and how it affects them.
Scott Trindl, a former Waukesha small business owner, turned to healthcare.gov when his insurance company no longer wanted to cover him. His premium has drastically decreased from over $100 to $66 per month.
“I owned my business for 25 years which provided a group plan. I retired in 2003 when I sold the business and used the same plan. I had no problems until 2009. I received word from my insurance company that I was going to be dropped from my coverage I’ve had for years because of a heart issue, I was shut out of the private market. I’ve successfully signed up at Healthcare.gov,” Trindl said.
Rick Lerche of St. Francis also benefits from the Affordable Care Act as a retiree. Two years ago, he retired from Milwaukee Public Schools and had difficulty finding coverage. After being denied three times in the private insurance market, Lerche was able to sign up for coverage with healthcare.gov.
“I was approved on Healthcare.gov, but was told to apply at the county office,” she explained But because Wisconsin turned down the additional Medicaid funds, she must wait to get coverage. “After being informed of the three month delay on coverage, I was literally in tears in the counselor’s office. If it was just a matter of accepting federal funds I’d have coverage by Jan 1.”
“At some point for older folks, life becomes a pre-existing condition,” Ceci added. “I’d like routine healthcare and I’m very disappointed in Walker for putting me in this gap.”
Ceci describes herself as moderately healthy. She looks forward to getting the basic necessities through health coverage that a healthy person would use. “I’d get checked for bone density checking for osteoporosis. Also, I have a foot problem that a doctor has recommended for surgery.”
Sargent said she’s talked to others who face the same situation as Ceci: “I have folks who fall into this gap calling me. These are working people but still can’t afford insurance and that’s not the Wisconsin way. Letting each county make their decisions, because they take care of human services, will bring tax dollars in.”
For all county statistics from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau report, go to http://tinyurl.com/Badgercarecounty