Joint Finance Committee Democratic Members
Press Release

Republican Refusal to Expand BadgerCare Could Cost State $1 Billion in Additional Funding


By - Mar 10th, 2021 06:21 pm

MADISON – A memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has confirmed that under the federal American Rescue Plan Act, Wisconsin could receive an additional $1 billion in federal funding if the BadgerCare program is expanded, as proposed in Governor Evers’ 2021-23 biennial budget. Democratic members on the Joint Finance Committee released the following statements highlighting the importance of expanding BadgerCare:

“Expanding BadgerCare to cover more people for less is already a sweet deal but adding an additional $1 billion in federal funds is an extra bonus,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point). “We are a full year into this pandemic and the stakes couldn’t be higher for our state. It was already foolish for Republicans to reject the BadgerCare expansion in the last budget, but we cannot afford to lose out on a billion dollars in additional funding. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t provide more affordable, quality coverage, while lowering health insurance premiums and accessing a billion more in funding for our state. To reject BadgerCare expansion would be a costly missed opportunity and a slap in the face to every Wisconsin resident.”

“Wisconsin has a chance to do the responsible thing with our tax dollars and provide 90,000 more people with quality health coverage,” added Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee). “At a time when ensuring access to health care, fighting for equity and justice and protecting taxpayers and our economy are central themes in our conversations about creating a better future for children and families, few things would make as significant of an impact to all three as BadgerCare expansion.”

“Thirty-eight other states have accepted federal funds to expand similar programs, including all of our neighbors in the Great Lakes Region,” said Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee). “This is a popular and proven policy that broadens access to healthcare while reducing state costs. It is working all around us and it is time for Wisconsin to act.”

“Expanding BadgerCare is overwhelmingly popular in Wisconsin, and with the fiscal and health benefits to our state, it’s easy to see why,” added Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine). “Expanding BadgerCare isn’t controversial — in fact, the Marquette Law School Poll reported that seven in ten Wisconsinites strongly supported this policy in 2019. With broad, bipartisan support from the people of Wisconsin and critical additional resources available thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the Legislature must move forward with the BadgerCare expansion in the budget.”

**A copy of the memo is attached.

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