One out of every three Wisconsin residents will see a referendum in November on accepting federal funds for BadgerCare, based on the actions of Dane and La Crosse counties late last week.
Over 1.97 million Wisconsin residents will have a question on their ballot on whether the State of Wisconsin should accept enhanced federal funds for BadgerCare rejected by Walker and conservatives in the Legislature.
Eight counties have officially approved this referendum so far, Lincoln, La Crosse, Clark, Dane, Dunn, Outagamie, Milwaukee and Eau Claire, with more following soon. The support in red, purple and blue counties demonstrates how this issue transcends partisanship and is important to rural and urban Wisconsin.
The negative impact of rejecting these federal funds is particularly devastating at the local level. With fewer people guaranteed access to health coverage they can truly afford, uncompensated care costs will remain high in local hospitals and county-supported clinics, forcing cost-shifting to county-budgets, consumers and local businesses.
If Wisconsin accepted enhanced federal Medicaid funds for BadgerCare, 84,700 Wisconsin residents would gain access to BadgerCare. Rejecting federal money is costing more, while covering fewer lives. Wisconsin is losing up to $1 million a day in federal funds for BadgerCare.
These referendum are especially important with the announcement that 38,000 Wisconsin residents forced off BadgerCare by Gov. Walker were unable to sign up for private coverage. Because Wisconsin did not accept federal funds for BadgerCare, these residents have fallen into a coverage gap, unable to access affordable health coverage for all of 2014.
"In November voters in counties throughout Wisconsin will have the opportunity to send a clear message to the Governor and Legislature about the importance of guaranteeing affordable access to health care for everyone in Wisconsin," said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.