Walker Administration Proposes More Changes to BadgerCare Reforms

MacIver News Service | December 31, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] The state’s Department of Health Services (DHS) is seeking more changes to the BadgerCare reforms set out in the 2013-15 state budget by allowing parents and caregivers from 100 to 200 percent of the poverty level to access Wisconsin’s Medicaid program from February 1st to March 31st.

In a letter to legislative leaders, DHS Secretary Kitty Rhoades said that this group will have to apply for Medicaid benefits prior to February 1st to have qualify for the two-month period. Individuals that fit into this category would then transition to the federal exchange on April 1st.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and DHS have agreed to the changes, but the legislature will have to approve them because the agreement makes statutory changes.

“This technical modification will allow Wisconsin to implement the entitlement reforms envisioned by the state budget on February 1, 2014 instead of April 1, 2014,” Rhoades wrote in the letter. “As such, a technical bill will be required to bring Wisconsin statutes and the agreement between Wisconsin and CMS into compliance.”

The most recent state budget reformed BadgerCare to eliminate the waiting list and cover everyone under 100 percent of the poverty level. Those above 100 percent would transition to the the Obamacare exchange. However, after a disastrous rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, Governor Scott Walker called for a special session to delay the reforms three months. The legislature approved that change earlier this month.

The full letter from DHS can be seen here.