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Racine & Kenosha Legislative Forum

On April 30, 2007, The Arc of Racine and Kenosha County Long Term Care Workforce Alliance hosted the legislative forum, “Disability, Aging, & Long Term Care: A Life in the Community for Everyone. 125 people attended for forum, including workers and consumers, who provided testimonials on the issue areas presented. Of the 6 issues presented, the direct care workforce crisis was one. Many legislators attended, including Senators John Lehman and Bob Wirch and Representatives Bob Turner, Robin Vos and Cory Mason, and Samantha Kerkman. Kenosha County Executive Alan Kehl attended, as well as aides representing Congressman Paul Ryan, Senators Kohl and Feingold, and Governor Doyle’s office.

May is Health Care Reform Month

AARP Wisconsin is designating May as Health Care Reform Awareness Month and is kicking off a full month of activities by releasing the results of the 26-page survey, titled “Health Care in Wisconsin: An AARP Survey of Residents Age 18 to 64.” Woelfel Research, Inc. conducted the survey on behalf of AARP Wisconsin from March 19-27, 2007. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. The survey findings include:

  • 80 percent have health care coverage, and 27 percent say they are in excellent health;
  • 49 percent say the state's health care system has major problems, and 13 percent say it is in a state of crisis;
  • 76 percent consider it important for the state to reduce the number of residents without health care coverage and 84 percent feel it should make health care more affordable for all;
  • 82 percent agree that all Wisconsinites should have access to the same basic health care coverage, and 76 percent agree that everyone should contribute to the health care system
  • 56 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported health care coverage for all Wisconsin residents

Legislative Update

Both the Senate and Assembly have passed their version of the budget bill. The Senate version included the 3% rate increase for personal care and home health and 4% increase for nursing homes that Governor Doyle proposed and Joint Finance passed. The Assembly version eliminated the increase for personal care and home health, but left the nursing home rate increase intact, although changed how they funded the increase from a bed tax to state GPR.


Now a conference committee of 4 representatives and 4 senators will be established to come to a compromise. Please call your Senators and Representatives and let them know that a 5% increase for all long term care funding needs to be included in the final budget. They need to stop balancing the budget off the backs of long term care workers, who care for our loved ones. Tell them that their vote to increase funding will improve the lives of our seniors and people with disabilities.


Additionally, the Alliance has signed on to this memo.

Budget Update

The conference committee currently has the budget, but discussions related to Medicaid and other major programs haven’t begun. Conference committee members include Reps. Huebsch, Rhoads, Kruser, and Fitzgerald and Sens. Robson, Erpenbach, Fitzgerald, and Jauch. Please call your personal legislators and ask them to support rate increases to long term care programs. Also, ask them to tell the conference committee members to support these same increases in their budget negotiations.

BadgerCare Plus

This week the Alliance will be sending a letter and fact sheet to the Wisconsin Legislature this week urging their support of BadgerCare Plus. BadgerCare Plus would provide thousands of direct care workers and their families with health insurance.

 

BadgerCare Plus will expand coverage to parents with family incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL). BadgerCare Plus will expand coverage to individuals who do not have children. Childless adults are currently not eligible for coverage under any of the current medical assistance programs. BadgerCare Plus will also expand the HIPP program, which pays the employee premium for health insurance offered by employers.

 

When applied to Wisconsin, national estimates suggest that 20,000 home care workers and 4,700 nursing home workers do not have health insurance!

 

Call your legislators (1-800-362-9472) today and urge them to support BadgerCare Plus in the budget!

More Articles ...

  1. Budget Update