CONTACT: Christine Welcher
LA CROSSE, WI, OCTOBER 28, 2017 – Speaking at the March for Health in La Crosse’s Cameron Park, governor candidate Mike McCabe called for a one-word change in state law to make Wisconsin’s whole population eligible to get health insurance through the BadgerCare program.
“BadgerCare should be there for all Badgers who want or need it. What government does needs to be done for our whole society, not just a few,” McCabe said. “BadgerCare provides excellent insurance coverage and is affordable. It should be a public option that anyone in the state could choose in the insurance marketplace.”
BadgerCare is Wisconsin’s version of Medicaid but existing state law has restrictive requirements including income limits that make only the poor, elderly and disabled eligible to enroll. Changing a single word in state law would allow BadgerCare to be listed as one of the options on the health insurance exchange that currently only includes private insurance plans, McCabe said.
State law now says “An individual is eligible to purchase coverage…if all of the following apply:” and goes on to list the requirements. Changing the word “all” to “any” would open up BadgerCare to the general population. No one would be required to enroll, but anyone could if they choose to, McCabe said.
Analysis done by the health care advocacy group Citizen Action of Wisconsin estimates that BadgerCare’s cost is on average 23 percent lower than other policies in the health insurance market. It also covers 100 percent of medical expenses, unlike many plans with sky-high deductibles and co-payments that leave patients paying for much of their care out of pocket.
“Getting everyone in Wisconsin access to high-quality and affordable medical insurance not only will make our state healthier but also will stimulate the economy,” McCabe said. “There are so many people out there with great ideas for a new business who’ve dreamed of starting their own company but can’t leave a job that provides insurance for their families. If they could access BadgerCare, many could go ahead and start that new business.”
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