More Wisconsinites gained tax-funded health coverage than lost it, under Governor Scott Walker’s BadgerCare changes.
A report released by the state Monday shows that 81,731 Wisconsin residents living below the federal poverty line were able to obtain BadgerCare coverage when new income eligibility requirements kicked in earlier this year. At the same time, about 62,776 people lost coverage because of a plan from Walker and Republicans to have those living above the poverty line purchase health insurance coverage through the federal exchange system. The result is about 19,000 more people being enrolled in BadgerCare than before the reforms took effect.
Robert Kraig with Citizen Action of Wisconsin argues that some key details of the changes are being left out though, calling the report a “half truth” because it does not talk about all of the people who could have been covered under the enhanced Medicaid funding that was offered to the state. While those dropped from BadgerCare have the option to purchase coverage through an exchange, Kraig says the subsidies were not designed for those living just above the federal poverty line. As a result, he says many of those dropped from the state program will now have to choose between buying health care or food and shelter.
Walker has argued that rejecting the federal funding protects taxpayers from any uncertainty surrounding Obamacare, while preserving Medicaid for the state’s neediest residents. Kraig maintains the decision was politically motivated and is actually costing the state $1 million a day.