November 1, 2013 – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is asking Governor Scott Walker to delay changes in the state’s BadgerCare program so that an estimated 92,000 people have a reasonable opportunity to enroll in a health insurance plan through the new Affordable Care Act (ACA). Problems with the new federal marketplace have created enrollment impediments likely to keep thousands of people losing BadgerCare coverage from finding alternatives. “The simple solution to this problem is to postpone implementation of all BadgerCare changes until March 31, 2014,” Mayor Barrett wrote to the Governor. “This action would be consistent with the intent of the Joint Finance Committee when it amended the Budget Bill.” That Wisconsin legislative committee previously called for such a delay if ACA enrollment was not proceeding as expected. The Mayor said BadgerCare recipients should not lose their coverage as the result of unforeseen circumstances. In his letter, the Mayor made it clear he is not arguing the merits of either the ACA or the decision by state officials to change BadgerCare. He said this is all about the well-being of vulnerable people who are likely to lose healthcare coverage. The tens-of-thousands of people across Wisconsin who are required to leave BadgerCare have until mid-December to find alternative coverage. That is the federal deadline for obtaining ACA coverage by January 1st. Federal officials have estimated the online enrollment problems should be resolved later this month, however, no firm date has been established for repairs to the system.
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