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Badgercare Limitations Impact Rural Counties

Wisconsin’s decision not to expand Badgercare is having a bigger impact on rural counties than metropolitan ones. That’s the message from the progressive group Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Using data obtained from the state through an open records request, the group reports that rural counties have higher percentages of their populations that lost Badgercare in April…when the state lowered income limits. 

Langlade and Iron Counties make the top ten of that list…with data showing more than 1.8 percent of the population losing Badgercare.   That’s almost 370 people in Langlade County and more than a hundred in Iron County. 

Citizen Action Executive Director Robert Kraig says the numbers show it’s not just cities that are being affected. 

“We actually found that overall the rural counties as a percentage of population have more people kicked off. And even though most people consider this an urban problem, it’s really a rural problem – and also has more people remaining uninsured.”

Of the people who lost Badgercare in Wisconsin, many have not signed up for health care on the federal exchange.  In Florence and Forest counties, over half of those who lost state coverage were still without health care in September.

Kraig says though the numbers may be small – fewer than a hundred in each of those two counties – the impact is still significant. 

“It’s high as a percentage of the population. So in rural areas, there are a lot fewer large employers that provide health benefits. So this is why it’s an even bigger issue relative to the population in a rural county.”

The federal government has granted a special enrollment period on the exchange for those who lost Badgercare coverage…that runs until November 2nd.

Oneida, Lincoln, Iron and Florence counties are among those holding referendums this November…asking voters whether the state should accept federal funding for Medicaid.   

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