Monday, December 5, 2011

Fifty Groups Sign Letter Opposing Waiver for Proposed BadgerCare Changes

Fifty Wisconsin organizations sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius late last week urging her to deny the recent request from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) for a waiver of federal maintenance of effort (MOE) requirements. As WCCF explained in a short summary of the DHS proposals, the proposed waiver is expected to adversely affect more than 168,000 Wisconsinites, including more than 64,000 who DHS expects to lose their BadgerCare coverage.

According to the December 1 letter:
“The effects of the changes proposed by DHS are clearly at odds with congressional intent to significantly reduce the number of uninsured Americans by building on the Medicaid and CHIP coverage that states already have in place. …Approval of the DHS waiver request would be very damaging for Wisconsin and a dangerous national precedent.”
The letter makes numerous arguments for rejecting the waiver. The following list is a brief synthesis of some of those arguments:
  •  Approving the waiver would cost more than 29,000 children their BadgerCare coverage.
  •  The waiver would have disproportionate impact on people with disabling conditions.
  •  The DHS proposals don’t meet the requirements for approval of research and demonstration waivers.
  •  Approving the waiver would harm many extremely low-income families.
  •  The proposed changes would increase red tape and reduce enrollment efficiency.
  •  Contrary to the department’s assertions, many of the proposed changes are inequitable.
  •  The waiver would result in cost-shifting, not cost savings.
  •  Detail on the DHS proposal was not made available to the public to allow meaningful input.
  •  The budget can be balanced without making the proposed cuts to BadgerCare.
The Save BadgerCare Coalition has posted the letter online, including the list of 50 groups that endorsed it and background documents prepared by WCCF.

Jon Peacock

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