Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice is a statewide interfaith education and advocacy organization. As people of faith, we believe that health care is a right, and that it is the responsibility of a democratic government to safeguard the health and well-being of its population.
Two bills are currently under consideration in our legislature that, if passed, will result in thousands of Wisconsin residents losing access to their health care. AB 934 would require BadgerCare recipients to reapply every six months, rather than the current requirement of an annual renewal. Each time, the person would have to start from scratch, rather than using information previously supplied. Any error on the application could result in loss of health care for six months. For people who are elderly, disabled, cognitively impaired, or a non-native English speaker, this can be an insurmountable challenge.
AB 936 would take BadgerCare away from anyone who refuses an offer from an employer of additional work hours. There are many reasons why someone might not want or be able to take more work hours. Lack of available, affordable childcare or lack of access to transportation can be factors. The need to be available to care for an elderly or disabled relative is another. Most of all, working more hours may bring in additional income that would make the person no longer eligible for benefits, and yet still not pay enough to allow them to afford to pay for health insurance.
We believe it is contrary to the mission of BadgerCare, and contrary to the implicit contract between government and the governed that government exists to better the lives of its people, to impose unreasonable restrictions and barriers to accessing needed services. We urge our legislators to oppose these bills.