October 24, 2014

BadgerCare delay could save state $23 million

A proposal from Governor Scott Walker to delay the restructuring of BadgerCare would save Wisconsin taxpayers about $23 million. That’s according to a report from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, which analyzed the proposed three-month delay the governor wants lawmakers to take up during a special session next week.

Walker’s plan would allow 72,000 adults living above the federal poverty line to stay on BadgerCare through the end of March, instead of forcing them out of the program at the end of December. The change is being proposed to address ongoing problems with people being able to sign up for health coverage through the federal health exchanges. It’s meant to give those being removed from BadgerCare more time to sign-up for other coverage.

Keeping those adults enrolled in Badger-Care through March would cost the state $17 million, but Walker’s plan would also save $40 million by delaying other changes that would open the program to 83,000 adults living below the federal poverty line. The result would be a net savings of $23 million.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Walker’s proposal next Monday and a vote could in the Assembly by Wednesday. The state Senate is expected to take up the bill later in December.