Recently, Republican legislators on the Joint Finance Committee approved Governor Scott Walker’s plan to drop coverage, reduce benefits, and increase out-of-pocket health care costs for tens of thousands of low income families.
In Crawford, LaCrosse, Monroe, Richland, and Vernon Counties, 15,010 children, 785 pregnant women, and 13,870 low income adults were receiving health care coverage through the state’s BadgerCare program as of December 2010.
“This proposal is another slap in the face to working families throughout our state,” said Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-LaCrosse). “Governor Walker’s decision to eliminate affordable health care coverage for tens of thousands of working families and children after he just handed big corporations and wealthy investors $2.3 billion in tax breaks is an outrage.”
Estimates from the state Fiscal Bureau show that 64,748 individuals, including 29,606 pregnant women and children, would lose their current health care coverage under the Governor’s plan. Additionally, the Wisconsin Hospital Association has estimated that these changes would shift between $10 and $16 million in health care costs to insured families.
“It is clear that these changes will affect everyone in our state from children, to small businesses, to hospitals,” added Shilling. “When individuals can’t afford health care, have limited access to preventive care, and are unable to treat chronic diseases, the cost of charity care and more expensive emergency room visits will be shifted to the rest of the insured population. Increasing access to cost-effective preventive care is one of the most effective ways that we can reduce long-term health care costs for everyone. Unfortunately, Governor Walker’s plan will erode the progress that our state had been making and prevent thousands of families from accessing health care.”