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Views from Across the State

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson Applauds Governor Walker’s Response to Obamacare’s Debacle

“I commend Gov. Walker for acting swiftly and decisively to protect Wisconsinites as the rollout of Obamacare becomes a disaster.

“The governor will ask the Legislature for a three-month delay in moving Wisconsinites on BadgerCare into the exchange and a three-month extension of Wisconsin’s high-risk pool.”

“The governor is doing whatever he can to spare the citizens of our state from the consequences of the Obama administration’s failure. Similarly, I’m working at the federal level to let people keep coverage that they prefer and to protect freedom and consumer choice in our health care system.  As a Wisconsinite, I urge the Legislature to act swiftly on the governor’s request. As a senator, I urge the administration to work with both Gov. Walker and with me to limit the damage of Obamacare on people’s lives.”

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Rep. Gordon Hintz Statement on Final Regular Session Day of 2013

“My Republicans colleagues have shown no hesitation in wasting floor session days with self- serving and divisive bills, and today is no exception. Instead of anything resembling job creation, today’s calendar included bills to limit recall elections, suppress absentee voting, reaffirm flawed voter ID legislation, and restrict the right of those who live at residential care facilities from voting by absentee mail ballot.

In addition to my concerns with these bills, I was even more concerned by the fact that many of my colleagues across the aisle do not seem to understand the legislation that they are passing into law. During debate on AB 493, multiple Republican legislators, including the bill’s author, did not understand what type of fraud the voter ID proposal they put forward is supposed to prevent.
Today Republicans chose to end fall session as they have governed all year, with petty and contentious legislation that does absolutely nothing productive for the State of Wisconsin or its residents. Wisconsin is 37th in the nation in job growth, yet Republicans remain more focused on saving their own jobs. Wisconsin deserves a more thoughtful legislative process.”

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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin on Governor Walker’s New BadgerCare Proposal

“I supported building a Wisconsin-made, state-based Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals and small businesses and I joined others in encouraging the Walker Administration to take that path. 74 percent of the enrollments in the Marketplace so far have come from states that chose to build their own state-based marketplaces. Unfortunately, Wisconsin wasn’t one of them because Gov. Walker refused to build a state-based marketplace for our state.”

“I also urged the Governor to seize the opportunity to strengthen our BadgerCare program by accepting a federal partnership and investment to expand Medicaid with the Affordable Care Act.  Again, Gov. Walker refused and chose to make Wisconsin one of just two states that are set to kick a large number of individuals off their current Medicaid coverage in 2014. In the past month, as states across the nation, including our Midwestern neighbors, accepted the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion, 400,000 Americans have gained health coverage through Medicaid.”

“In Wisconsin, we are paying a price for Gov. Walker’s decisions and the problems with the federal website. I am encouraged that Governor Walker has listened to my call to ensure that Wisconsinites with BadgerCare coverage today will not lose the health care they need at the start of the year. However, the Governor’s new proposal breaks the promise he made in his budget and leaves upwards of 80,000 low-income Wisconsinites out in the cold.”

“It doesn’t have to be this way and the solution I proposed is a stronger path forward for our state. The Governor should accept the federal investment to strengthen BadgerCare offered by the Affordable Care Act. That would ensure a 100 percent federal reimbursement covering all newly-eligible individuals, including the over 80,000 Wisconsinites that the Governor is leaving out of the BadgerCare program. The Governor could even accept this deal temporarily – for a year or through the end of the open enrollment period in March. These cost savings would allow the Governor to offset any additional costs of continuing BadgerCare coverage for current enrollees.” The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has found that this path I have proposed would cover more people and save the state money.”

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AARP Wisconsin: Don’t forget about coverage for childless adults

Jim Flaherty, AARP WI communications: While it’s admirable that Governor Walker wants to delay the deadline for shifting more than 100,000 Wisconsinites on Medicaid and a high-risk health plan into the federal health insurance marketplace, AARP Wisconsin is urging the governor not to overlook his promise to another vulnerable population – 85,000 low-income childless adults.
The governor’s proposal would allow about 77,000 adults in Medicaid, or BadgerCare, who make more than the poverty level to remain on the program through March 31. Another bill would extend the state’s Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan (HIRSP), which has about 25,000 people, through the end of March.

“We’re thrilled with the bills to extend coverage for low-income families and those in the high risk pool, but that should not delay the anticipated coverage for about 85,000 childless adults,” said Helen Marks Dicks, state issues advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin. “We are also concerned about the 12,000 childless adults on the BadgerCare CORE plan who will lose their coverage as of Dec. 31.
“We expect the governor and Joint Finance Committee to keep their promise to help low-income childless adults who need Medicaid coverage. Right now it’s the law. Let’s not take it away,” Dicks said. “We look forward to working with the Governor and the State Legislature to implement the governor’s plan for expanding coverage to this group as of Jan. 1, 2014.

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Disability Rights Wisconsin Applauds the Assembly’s Investment in Community Mental Health Supports
Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office Director and Kit Kerschensteiner, Managing Attorney: This week, the Wisconsin Assembly took bold steps to improve Wisconsin’s mental health system to support a better quality of life for people living with mental illness. The Speaker’s Task Force on Mental Health took a lead role in developing and advancing proposals which will expand community based mental health services.

The Assembly’s strategic investments will expand on community based mental health services in the biennial budget, moving Wisconsin away from unnecessary reliance on institutional models of care and towards services that can help people with mental illness realize their full potential as individuals and members of their communities. These initiatives hold the promise of increasing access to community-based services, promoting consumer choice, and decreasing reliance on costly institutional care:

Peer run respites: a crisis alternative that provides non-medical, holistic, and hopeful support for healing. (Assembly Bill 455)

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) supported employment: an evidence-based program that helps people living with serious mental illnesses find and sustain competitive employment based on their personal preferences and strengths. (Assembly Bill 459)

Expanding Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD): programs to serve people living with mental illness, in addition to individuals with substance use issues and dual diagnoses. (Assembly Bill 457)
Funding grants to law enforcement agencies: to provide crisis intervention training (CIT) for first
responders in order to improve the outcomes of police interactions for people living with mental
illness. (Assembly Bill 450)(for additional bills, see Assembly Bills 452, 458 and 460). 

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