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Public Statements

The Journal Times - a Major Health Victory for Wisconsin

Op-Ed

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A Major Health Victory for Wisconsin

With families across the state finding it more difficult to make ends meet, Wisconsin scored a much needed health care victory on New Year's Day. With the final approval of a federal waiver signed by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, the second phase of the BadgerCare Plus program went into effect on January 1, 2009.

As a result of the BadgerCare Plus waiver, this Medicaid-funded program will provide low-income, uninsured, childless adults with access to affordable private health care coverage. In addition to the children already covered from the program's first phase, an estimated 81,000 chronically uninsured adult Wisconsin residents will have access to health care coverage as a result of this expansion.

The BadgerCare Plus program emphasizes choice and compassion for Wisconsin's most vulnerable, providing a fiscally responsible approach to health care reform. Securing this extension of the BadgerCare Plus program marks a tremendous step forward for health care reform in Wisconsin. It provides an alternative path to a restrictive government-run health program, as called for by some in the state legislature.

BadgerCare Plus epitomizes Wisconsin's proud tradition of reforming our social safety nets though innovation and empowerment. I was proud to work with the Wisconsin Congressional delegation, state and federal officials in advocating for this waiver. The bipartisan commitment between Madison and Washington on this issue has been remarkable. I will continue my efforts to push for comprehensive health care reform - boosting transparency, portability, affordability, and access to private health insurance coverage.


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