Last Week, Baldwin Asked Obama Administration for Special Enrollment Period to Close Coverage Gap Created By Walker Administration
Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin applauded an announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to grant Wisconsin a special enrollment period in the federal Marketplace for the 38,000 low income, working Wisconsinites whose BadgerCare coverage was terminated by Governor Walker.
Last week, Baldwin sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and asked Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to immediately grant a special enrollment period in the federal Marketplace for the 38,000 who lost their BadgerCare coverage because Walker chose to reject a federal investment in Wisconsin’s BadgerCare program through the Affordable Care Act.
Nearly two months ago, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released a report showing that the Governor’s plan to terminate BadgerCare coverage for approximately 63,000 Wisconsinites has resulted in a gap in coverage. The Walker Administration report revealed that the Governor failed to transition almost 38,000 individuals to coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace before the closing of the enrollment period.
Health care policy experts project that many of these Wisconsinites formerly served under BadgerCare are now likely uninsured, however this week Walker dismissed Baldwin’s call for a special enrollment period, saying “this is something where somebody is looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.”
“Governor Walker refused to accept a federal investment in our BadgerCare program, instead he decided to pursue a plan that terminates health care coverage for 63,000 Wisconsinites, creates a coverage gap, and exposes Wisconsin taxpayers to higher costs while covering fewer people,” Baldwin said, “He may not think that this is a problem but I do. That is why I worked to find a solution for the 38,000 Wisconsinites facing a coverage gap. I am pleased that the Obama Administration is answering my call to help fix the problem caused by the Walker Administration.”
The Walker Administration had contended that 90 percent of former BadgerCare recipients would successfully transition off BadgerCare to plans in the Affordable Care Act's Marketplace. However, this promise was not kept for 60 percent, almost 38,000 individuals, of those terminated from BadgerCare coverage by Walker. Without the chance to enroll during the special enrollment period announced today, these individuals would have to wait until 2015 to receive federal Marketplace coverage.
Two weeks ago, Baldwin urged Walker to immediately determine exactly how many of the 38,000 are uninsured, as well as develop a strategy to address the gap in coverage. The Walker Administration has yet to provide an accounting of the 38,000 who were terminated from BadgerCare.
“The fact that Governor Walker was unable to transition nearly 38,000 people to the federal marketplace and cannot account for them is extremely troubling. This special enrollment period will provide the Walker Administration with a second chance to keep their promise to the people that they kicked off BadgerCare. It is my hope that Governor Walker will embrace this opportunity and work to provide these Wisconsinites the health insurance they need and deserve,” Baldwin said.
Senator Baldwin has also questioned the Governor’s insistence on pursuing his plan after the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released a report showing that the Governor has exposed Wisconsin taxpayers to higher costs because he has refused to accept a federal investment in the state’s BadgerCare program. The LFB report showed that Wisconsin would have saved $206 million over two years if the Walker Administration had chosen to accept federal funding for a full expansion of BadgerCare. The state could have saved more than $500 million over 3 1/2 years, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates, and about 87,000 more adults a month would have been served under BadgerCare Plus.
The special enrollment period for the individuals removed from BadgerCare begins today and runs for 60 days until November 2nd.