MADISON, Wis. (February 16, 2022) – On Thursday, February 17, 2022, the Wisconsin Assembly will vote on two bills that would jeopardize coverage for patients who remain eligible for Medicaid, increase red tape, and penalize many working people by taking away their health care coverage. The American Lung Association in Wisconsin’s Advocacy Director, Molly Collins, issued the following statement:
“Assembly Bills 934 and 936 set policies that would jeopardize coverage for patients who remain eligible for Medicaid. The Lung Association urges Wisconsin lawmakers to oppose these bills.
“The Lung Association strongly opposes proposals to increase the administrative burden on individuals in the Medicaid program and lock patients out of coverage, which will decrease the number of individuals with quality, affordable healthcare. Adding this burden is especially dangerous at this time as Wisconsin will already need to devote resources to processing hundreds of thousands of eligibility redeterminations at the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This is not a responsible use of tax dollars because it will lead to increased costs for the administration, higher medical bills for those who are forced to go without coverage, and more red tape for patients who should be focused on their health.
“The evidence is clear that policies that increase administrative red tape for patients lead to coverage losses for individuals with serious and chronic health conditions, including lung disease. For example, when Washington state changed its renewal process from every twelve months to every six months and instituted new documentation requirements in 2003, approximately 35,000 fewer children were enrolled in the program by the end of 2004.  Battling administrative red tape in order to keep coverage takes away from patients’ and caregivers’ focus on maintaining their family’s health.
“Ultimately, these requirements do not further the goals of the Medicaid program or help low-income individuals find work. Prior to the pandemic, most people on Medicaid who could work were working. 
“If Wisconsin lawmakers want to strengthen the health of the workforce, they could agree to expand Medicaid which would mean people could work and earn more while maintaining their healthcare coverage. It would also qualify the state for more than $1 billion in savings which could be used to bolster work supports. There are, in fact, many alternative policies that Wisconsin could pursue to ensure patients who remain eligible for Medicaid coverage maintain their access to care. The Lung Association urges Wisconsin lawmakers to reject these proposals and instead focus on policies that promote affordable, accessible, and adequate healthcare coverage in Wisconsin.”