State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
The news was grim for what many
Governor Doyle announced that a little more than three months after BadgerCare Plus was expanded to include low-income adults without dependent children, enrollment in the health care program was being suspended as of noon, October 9, 2009.
Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Karen Timberlake informed me in an e-mail, “The BadgerCare Plus Core Plan, while it has provided health care to many, does have to be budget neutral. This means there is a limit of the number of people that can be on the plan. Since June 15th, we've received 500-600 applications for this plan every day, which means we will be reaching our budget neutrality limit very quickly.”
Because of the suspension of the enrollment process due to the number of applications exceeding the number of slots, the state has created a waiting list for people to enroll for coverage as space becomes available. Prospective enrollees assuredly had to be stunned.
Governor Doyle was quick to use the development to play politics. At a news conference at St. Mary's Hospital in
Fiscal and policy irresponsibility abounds. Some background is in order.
During October 2008, the state reached an agreement with the federal government allowing
This summer, the 2009-11 state budget, crafted and approved by legislative Democrats and signed into law by Governor Doyle reduced funding for the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program by close to $600 million. Ironically, DHS was instructed to find the necessary savings. I am hearing from medically fragile MA constituents dreadfully concerned about the MA funding reductions and the health care rationing they are expecting as a result of the nearly $600 million funding cut. Instead, BadgerCare Plus was expanded, and a few months later, enrollment was suspended.
Despite a massive cut to MA in the 2009-11 budget, the state, at the time, made the decision to maintain eligibility standards and benefits for Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus recipients at their current levels.
Follow the political gamesmanship. Governor Doyle promises to put a Rolls Royce under the Christmas tree on a Ford budget. He creates a tremendous demand for residents seeking health care and residents rush forward to enlist. The problem: The state can’t pay for the Rolls-Royce. Governor Doyle and the democrats promise MA and BadgerCare Plus and cannot pay for either. However, the Governor seems to believe the federal government can pay for it. Since he can't keep his promises, he expects others to keep them for him.
When interest surges far beyond what the state can affordably provide, the governor then pulls the rug out from underneath innocent and unsuspecting citizens. After offering false hope to thousands of health care seekers, what is the governor’s solution? The state will establish another program to offer limited coverage to people who, for now, have had the door shut in their faces and must keep their fingers crossed while on a waiting list. The governor makes another promise: the new program will be created without cost to taxpayers. Do you believe it?
Meanwhile, the governor utilizes this debacle to fuel his crusade for a federal takeover of our health care system. If the governor and legislative Democrats can’t fund state programs, how are Democrats going to pay for $1 trillion-plus national healthcare?