AARP: Guv’s budget is a win-win for older Wisconsinites

MADISON, WISCONSIN – Governor Evers’ 2019-2021 budget includes a call for
federal Medicaid expansion, which would save millions of dollars for the state
while extending health care coverage to tens of thousands of our most financially
vulnerable residents, says AARP Wisconsin State Director Sam Wilson.

Currently, Wisconsin’s Medicaid program, called BadgerCare, covers adults up to
100% of the federal poverty line (FPL), or about $21,330 per year for a family of
three. If the state fully expands Medicaid, 82,000 adults between 100% and
138% of the FPL would also be covered by BadgerCare.

Expanding Medicaid would not only increase the number of adults who are
insured, but it would improve a variety of health and economic outcomes for
individuals and the state.

“Accepting Medicaid expansion would save Wisconsin about $320 million over
the next two years by maximizing the federal share of Medicaid in BadgerCare,”
Wilson said. “That is real money our state can use to help Wisconsinites live,
work, raise families and age with dignity. We look forward to working with the
governor and legislature to make this expansion happen.”

This infusion of federal money will strengthen the long-term care system by
boosting wages for the direct care workforce, expanding access to dementia care
specialists, and investing in innovative approaches to systemic health equity
issues.

In addition to Medicaid expansion and long-term care system investments, the
Governor’s budget seeks to address one of the most pressing issues in health
care today, exorbitant increases in prescription drug costs.

“This is one of AARP’s top priority issues in Wisconsin and across the country,”
Wilson said. “Prescription drug companies are making billions in profits off
seniors and hardworking folks. Wisconsin has always been a leader in finding
ways to keep these costs at bay for its residents, and we commit to working with
lawmakers at the state level and in Congress to lower prescription drug costs.”

Besides health care issues, Evers’ budget addresses the financial challenge of
long-term retirement savings that both younger and older Wisconsinites face. A
proposed feasibility study will look at the possibility of creating a retirement plan
open to all workers who choose to participate.

“Wisconsinites are anxious about having enough money for life after work and
rightfully so,” Wilson said. “Many workers don’t even have an option to save for
their retirement in their workplace. We need an option that will help workers grow
the savings they need to have the health and retirement security we all hope to
have in retirement.”

AARP is also pleased to see enhancements to the Homestead Tax Credit. The
credit will provide increased relief to low-income Wisconsinites to meet their
property tax burdens.

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