Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Birthdays, CHIP and Medicaid!

Celebrating 47 and 15 Years of the Federal Programs that Make BadgerCare Work for Wisconsin Children

August marks the 47th anniversary of Medicaid and the 15th anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The names CHIP and Medicaid might not mean much to some of us here in Wisconsin, but the program they combined to create, BadgerCare, sure does! Over 1.1 million Wisconsinites are enrolled in these programs, including 30% of children in the state and 61% of low-income children. We’re taking this opportunity to celebrate the success of BadgerCare on the anniversary of CHIP and Medicaid.

BadgerCare provides a comprehensive benefit package for Wisconsin children, including screenings and treatments (Health Check), check-ups, physician and hospital visits, and vision and dental care. Federal CHIP funding helped Wisconsin expand eligibility for BadgerCare to all children in need of coverage, regardless of income. This has been critical in tough economic times. Though we saw declines in employer-sponsored coverage during the recession, the uninsured rate for children didn’t increase because BadgerCare picked up the slack.

Not only has BadgerCare has been successful in increasing coverage of children, but it is cost-effective and popular. Though children make up 50% of enrollees in Wisconsin, they account for only 14 percent of the costs. In general, cost per enrollee in Medicaid is growing more slowly than premiums for employer-sponsored insurance or national health care spending overall. And people overwhelmingly support the program. The vast majority of Americans oppose making major revisions to Medicaid to reduce the deficit.

The Affordable Care Act is also helping to preserve our BadgerCare program, through the maintenance of effort (MOE) stability provisions. Without MOE, changes proposed by the Walker administration would have resulted in at least 29,000 children losing their BadgerCare coverage. The powerful efforts of a range of stakeholders in the Save BadgerCare Coalition are further evidence of the support across Wisconsin: enrollees, advocates, providers, and the community as a whole.

There’s never a bad time to celebrate BadgerCare, but the anniversary of CHIP and Medicaid this August is a particularly good occasion. Join us in celebrating, protecting, and filling the gap in BadgerCare for the health, well-being, and economic security of Wisconsinites!

All coverage statistics in this post come from Kaiser Family Foundation state health facts.

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