Wisconsin Keeps Walker, Gets Medicaid Approval
Walker won the historic recall challenge by a margin of 53.3 percent of the vote to 46.2 percent for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker gained notoriety for his budget-cutting efforts, including a bill restricting the collective bargaining rights of government employees. He also proposed changes to Wisconsin's Medicaid benefits that would have trimmed the number of people eligible for benefits by 60,000.
When the administration balked at the changes, Walker's administration reduced the number ineligible to 17,000. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently approved the revised plan. Here are the main points of Wisconsin's Medicaid reforms, as reported by Kendall Antekeier of the Heartland Institute:
- Those in the state program who already pay premiums will mostly likely experience high increases. Certain participants who did not previously pay premiums will now be required to pay.
- Any adult meeting certain eligibility criteria who is offered employer-sponsored health insurance will be expected to use that coverage instead of the state program.
- Some participants will no longer be eligible for three months of backdated eligibility.
Antekeier explains that Wisconsin’s Medicaid program previously exceeded the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The state is now attempting to rein in program costs. A spokesperson for Wisconsin's Health and Human Services department says the changes are "expected to save $28.1 million annually."
Wisconsin illustrates how one state is dealing with rising Medicaid costs.
Source: "Obama Administration Approves Wisconsin Medicaid Reforms," Heartland Institute, June 6, 2012.
Source: "Election results: Republicans hold onto five seats in recalls, Dems claim control of Senate," BallotPedia.org, June 6, 2012.
Image courtesy of WisPolitics.com used under its Creative Commons license.
Steve O'Keefe is a freelance writer, author and book editor.