Official: Inserting More Politics Into Medicaid Hurts People With Disabilities

Dec 5, 2018

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  

A group working for people with developmental disabilities fears changes approved in the current lame duck legislative session will politicize an already complex situation.

The state Senate and Assembly both passed bills which an official says will insert politics into the health and long-term care programs serving 1.2 million state citizens with disabilities.

Executive Director of the Wisconsin Board for People With Developmental Disabilities, Beth Swedeen says from her view, the bills don't really help the process.... 

"...It really adds a lot of bureaucratic requirements to Medicaid programs that affect people with disabilities. It's going to require the legislature to look at any kinds of improvements or changes that need to be made. It's going to add a lot of bureaucratic requirements onto the process and politicizes the process that the Department of Health Services is required to do...."

The bill prevents the state agency from applying for a change to a Medicaid program without first getting legislative approval. She says the bills will make it much more time consuming to make technical changes.

Swedeen says changes to Medicaid are routine and already has some state oversight of the federal dollars...

"The legislature's intent is to make sure that some work requirements remained in the BadgerCare program. But instead of making changes to just that program, they required that all federal waivers that the department administers be subject to their oversight..."

Swedeen hopes Governor Walker considers the long-term negative consequences this bill will have on people with disabilities and using Medicaid services when it comes time to sign the bill.