FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America strongly endorses the inclusion of Medicaid/BadgerCare expansion in the budget introduced by Governor Tony Evers today. Medicaid expansion will accept federal funding to raise the eligibility line for BadgerCare from 100 percent to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Over the next budget biennial, it will increase federal health care funds in Wisconsin by nearly $800 million and decrease state government liabilities by nearly $280 million, money that will then be available for other urgent needs like schools, housing, and transportation.
A significant benefit to working class Wisconsinites. Currently, a single person can only make up to $1040.83 per month if they want to remain eligible for BadgerCare. Expansion will allow Wisconsinites to work full-time without the fear of losing their health insurance. It will also provide stable health insurance, without cost sharing, to 82,000 additional Wisconsinites.
Better treatment for patients with opioid dependence. BadgerCare expansion will make it significantly easier for patients living with opioid addiction to receive uninterrupted treatment without repeated changes to their health insurance. Eliminating this bureaucratic obstacle to care will promote long-standing relationships with physicians, improve medication adherence, and decrease relapse and death due to overdoses.
Protection for rural hospitals. BadgerCare expansion plays an important role in maintaining the financial solvency of important community hospitals in underserved rural and urban areas. According to a recent study in Health Affairs, “hospitals in [Medicaid] expansion states were over six times, or about 84 percent, less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states.” Rural hospitals are economic linchpins of their communities, and the prospect of their closure is an existential threat to those communities.
However, we know that BadgerCare expansion alone is insufficient in our goal of health justice. Therefore, we support Medicaid Expansion as a significant (but partial) step towards our greater goal of Medicare for All: universal, comprehensive medical care that is free at the point of use.