PPI urges filling BadgerCare coverage gaps, linking it to cost savings and avoidance of employer tax hikes
The Community Advocates Public Policy Institute (PPI) is taking bold steps urging Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act and expand BadgerCare by filling its gaps in eligibility—and the media is noticing.
PPI outlined its evidence in a letter to Governor Walker and the Legislature, explaining that BadgerCare expansion would result in at least 170,000 Wisconsinites gaining coverage, and would make fiscal sense for the state budget. In addition to other consequences, the Governor’s failure to fill the BadgerCare eligibility cap would expose Wisconsin’s large employers to a tax increase of more than $100 million statewide. PPI urges the Governor and the Legislature to expand BadgerCare eligibility up to 133% of the federal poverty line.
PPI’s efforts recently received a flurry of media attention, including an in-depth Business Journal interview with PPI Senior Fellow David Riemer, who explained that it would cost the state nothing to follow through on BadgerCare expansion: “The full cost of filling the BadgerCare eligibility gap will be reimbursed by the federal government for both years of the next state budget. … [F]illing the gap in BadgerCare eligibility is likely to result in an overall reduction in state spending, not an increase.”
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story also interviewed Riemer, who noted that even by conservative estimates, Wisconsin employers would pay $60 million in penalties if BadgerCare eligibility is not expanded. A different Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on implications of Medicaid expansion highlights Riemer’s view that having the BadgerCare expansion in place will allow the focus to shift to controlling costs.
Finally, PPI’s research and advocacy was also cited in multiple Wisconsin newspapers covering Senator Tammy Baldwin’s support for filling the gaps in BadgerCare.
PPI’s work in this area stems from its Project for Health Insurance Exchange Education (PHIXE). Through this project, the Public Policy Institute has worked with advocates and policymakers in Wisconsin and other states on effectively implementing the Affordable Care Act. In particular, they have focused on expanding state Medicaid programs and improving the design of health exchanges to maximize health insurance coverage, reduce and control costs for consumers and employers, and improve quality of care, especially for mental health and substance use disorder treatment.