Contacts: Lynn Breedlove (608-577-0468) Tom Frazier (608-770-0605)

In response to recent developments at the federal level regarding Medicaid block grants, the Wisconsin Long Term Care Coalition today released a letter sent to the state’s Congressional Delegation outlining key concerns and questions about block grants.

“Leaders in Washington are talking about including Medicaid block grants in the Affordable Care Act replacement plan, so we’ve reached out to Congressional and state-level lawmakers to urge them to determine what impact block grants would have on Wisconsin before moving ahead with such a major change,” said Wisconsin Long Term Care Coalition Co-Chair Lynn Breedlove.

Over 1 million children, seniors, people with disabilities and low-income adults access health and long-term care services through Wisconsin’s many Medicaid programs. These programs include Family Care/IRIS, the Children’s Long Term Support Waiver, the Medicaid Purchase Plan (MAPP), BadgerCare, SeniorCare, Community Recovery Services and several other unique programs that make it possible for people to live and work in the community.

Stakeholders want to know if block grants will increase economic risk to the state and result in drastic changes to Wisconsin’s programs. Currently, the federal government funds about 60% of Wisconsin’s Medicaid costs, adding almost $5 billion to our state budget. Even slight changes to the federal government’s current funding commitment could have significant budgetary consequences for Wisconsin. Past proposals to block grant Medicaid would have resulted in federal funding cuts of 25%-35%, and it is not clear how the state could make up for funding reductions of this size while maintaining current programs and services.

“Wisconsin has successfully used federal waivers to shape and design Medicaid programs that meet the specific health and long-term care needs of our citizens,” said Wisconsin Long Term Care Coalition Co-Chair Tom Frazier. “We want to know if the state will be able to maintain the progress it has made in supporting people with disabilities and older adults in the community and be able to respond to future needs.”

The Wisconsin Long Term Care Coalition encourages state and federal lawmakers to get answers to the questions stakeholders, including people with disabilities and older adults, are asking before approving major changes to Medicaid’s funding structure.

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