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Why Not

I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.

Disability Advocates Wisconsin Network (DAWN) View on the Budget Repair Bill

From DAWN ( http://www.dawninfo.org/).

Disability advocates are wondering what the passage this week of the revised budget repair bill means for people with disabilities. The Governor signed the bill into law Friday, March 11, and it does make several significant changes to Medicaid.

  1. The bill gives authority to the Secretary of the Department of Health Services to make broad changes to any Medicaid program. Medicaid includes programs like SeniorCare, BadgerCare, Family Care, Katie Beckett, IRIS, children’s waivers and more.  The bill gives the Secretary permission to enact changes that could overrule existing state law.
  2. The full legislature would not have the opportunity to vote on any proposed changes enacted by the Secretary.
  3. The Secretary has authority in this bill to make broad changes to eligibility, benefit packages, reimbursement levels to providers, and other parts of Medicaid. One specific policy change expected to be proposed is to lower the eligibility for BadgerCare to 133% of the federal poverty level, which could result in thousands of Wisconsin citizens losing health coverage.
  4. The bill also eliminates the Wisconsin Quality Home Care Authority. The Authority was established in the 2009-11 biennial budget to match independent home care workers with people needing care. 

Here are other updates on Medicaid as shared by the Department of Health Services this week:

  • Plans for $500 million in overall Medicaid cuts – these are unspecified cuts. We do not know where they will come from.
  • No plans to reduce eligibility for programs or change levels of benefits. They plan to keep prescription drug benefits.
  •  The Department of Health Services is planning a statewide listening tour for public input on Medicaid changes. This will occur within the next several months in six locations across the state.

ACTION STEPS FOR YOU:

  1. Make sure you know your state legislators and try to meet them in person when they are back in your district. You can find the name of your legislator by clicking on “Who Are My Legislators?” on this DAWN page (http://www.dawninfo.org/). Tell your legislator about disability issues that are important to you, and how you use Medicaid programs.
  2. Look for more information on the Governor’s budget and the April 6 Survival Coalition Disability Advocacy Day at the State Capitol. 
  3. Join with other groups and advocates in your community to protect programs and funding that are important to you. Connect with BPDD ( http://wi-bpdd.org/) and DRW (http://www.disabilityrightswi.org/) for materials and support. 
  4. Keep updated through DAWN for dates on community action alerts, upcoming DHS listening sessions and other hearings.

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