BADGERCARELESS: The governor cuts health care | WisCommunity

BADGERCARELESS: The governor cuts health care

Time to hit the big red "ANGRY!" button and marvel at this man's indecent, uncaring and even cruel approach to governing.

Gov. Walker's budget requires Medicaid enrollees to cough up "modest co-pays and premiums as they transition from the safety net that these programs provide to gainful employment." Excuse us as we cough up a lung while witnessing this wretched assault on some of our state's least able citizens.

Medicaid, which includes BadgerCare Plus, Family Care, SeniorCare and other services, covers 1.2 million people in Wisconsin, or one in five residents. Scotty's budget re-jiggers Medicaid administration to save $48 million and cut 270 full-time state jobs (another set-back to his goal of creating 250,000 jobs -- but don't worry; he's sure to get around to that latter task, eventually).

Now, Walker's new co-pays and health-care premiums for people who are already poor or on fixed income cannot be regarded as particularly "modest." For people in these categories, a few dollars a month is often everything. Worse, there's that bit about Medicaid clients needing to make a "transition" to "gainful employement." Who knew health care for the indigent and working poor was really just welfare in disguise? All of which leads us to ask Gov. Scotty the following:

Would this measure of yours requiring a transition to "gainful employment" include all the children in state health-care programs? All the farm families who are struggling along in self-employment while working very hard? All the elderly, blind and disabled residents of our state? All the working-poor mothers who already fight to hold down one or more jobs, go to school and look after their impoverished kids?

Would it apply, dear governor, to family members who expend great amounts of time and effort, sacrificing their own lives and careers, to be caretakers for at-risk relatives? And to the mentally ill who can barely function in society even with considerable assistance, much less attain "gainful employment"?  Or to kids and young adults in foster care?

This aspect of Walker's first state budget is not only contrary to a humane, decent, moral, ethical and egalitarian society, it up-ends the purpose of the Medicaid program in Wisconsin, which is:

    * To make sure that every child in Wisconsin has access to affordable health insurance.
    * To expand health insurance coverage and provide enhanced benefits to more pregnant  women,
    * To provide health insurance to more parents and caretaker relatives.
    * To make it easier to enroll in health insurance coverage.
    * To ensure that 98 percent of Wisconsin residents have access to quality, affordable health care.

In the Walker-verse, many of those people are really not so deserving, as it turns out. And, heck, as the guv himself might tell you, how are we going to cut taxes on corporations some more if we have to keep helping all those sick, poor and infirm people who won't help themselves? The solution, in the Walker-verse, is simple: Get off your sick-bed or your nursing cot, or out of your foster home, or away from your assisted living residence, and GET A JOB. Next problem!

Jeff Lyes, writing for, noted that Walker's pending "budget repair" bill does still more damage to state health care services. Besides vesting power for most Medicaid decisions in the executive branch, removing legislative oversight, Walker eliminates all collective bargaining rights including the very right to form a union for workers at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, as well as for the recently unionized home care workers.

That's particularly interesting, given that Walker's budget measure would essentially privatize (by creating a new state authority) the UW - Madison. First he quashes a UW - Madison unit's right to organize, then spins off the university as a whole. Why, it's almost like ... killing a private labor union!

As for the home care workers, Lye notes:

Evidently, that $9-per-hour minimum wage that home care workers negotiated (though the state failed to pass the contract) is a wee bit too much money for the state to pay to ensure that individuals are able to live with dignity in their own homes. Walker eliminates the public authority (the Quality Home Care Authority) that Wisconsin created in 2009 that allowed for the unionization of home care workers.

You see, Mr. and Mrs. Badger, Gov. Scotty knows that businesses really don't want to relocate or expand in states that have good, comprehensive and efficient health care services adding to the well-being and economic security of prospective employees. Which is why Gov. Scotty is taking care of all this in advance, before he gets busy recruiting all those new jobs he plans to bring in. The equation is actually pretty simple:


ADDENDUM: Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk issued general comments on Walker's budget and in particular said this about his plans to make severe cuts in shared revenues to local governments:

Over 70% of the dollars in our county budget pay for public safety and human services that protect our most vulnerable - - our kids, families, seniors, and the disabled. Many of these services are mandated by the state that the county has to provide including running a jail, protecting abused children, plowing highways, and programs for seniors. Less state support for these services will no doubt harm the quality of life of all of our citizens.


March 1, 2011 - 7:05pm