BadgerCare Waiver public hearing Monday in Milwaukee - time to speak out

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

This is a reminder that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is holding a public hearing in Milwaukee on Monday, May 1st at 4 PM at Milwaukee Center for Independence – see attached flyer for details. This is an important opportunity to turn out and share your perspective on changes to the BadgerCare waiver that have the potential to affect thousands of low income childless adults who rely on BadgerCare for access to health care. You are encouraged to attend the Monday hearing in Milwaukee and share your perspective. Written comments will be accepted through May 19th and may be sent to the Wisconsin Division of Medicaid Services at

You can read about the waiver provisions and view the waiver document on the DHS web site at

DHS is seeking federal approval of waivers (exceptions to federal laws) in order to significantly change BadgerCare for childless adults by:

  • Charging monthly premiums for almost all childless adults below the poverty level;
  • Charging higher monthly premiums for those engaged in “risky behavior” as indicated through a Health Risk Assessment;
  • Imposing work or work training requirements;
  • Imposing a 48-month eligibility limit;
  • Requiring drug screenings as a condition of eligibility; and
  • Making referrals to treatment programs for those who test positive for drug use.

Note that the proposal includes exemptions for work or work training requirement for the following:

  • The member is diagnosed with a mental illness;
  • The member receives Social Security Disability (SSDI);
  • The member is a primary caregiver for a person who cannot care for himself or herself;
  • The member is physically or mentally unable to work;
  • The member is receiving or has applied for unemployment insurance;
  • The member is taking part in an alcohol or other drug abuse (AODA) treatment program;
  • The member is enrolled in an institution of higher learning at least half-time; or,
  • The member is a high school student age 19 or older, attending high school at least half-time

The waiver also includes a provision that the Mental Health Task Force supports that would allow Medicaid to pay for inpatient substance use disorder treatment up to 90 days by waiving the IMD exclusion that currently prohibits funding these services for Medicaid beneficiaries ages 21–64 years old if provided in an Institute for Mental Disease (more than 16 beds).

Advocacy groups that we collaborate with such as the Wisconsin’s Council on Children and Families have analyzed the waiver proposal and are concerned that the waiver provisions would adversely affect thousands of childless adults who have incomes below the poverty level and who rely on BadgerCare for their health care. The Mental Health Task Force shares that concern. We encourage you to look at the waiver document and have shared some links to perspectives that share concerns about the waivers.

Links to analysis and commentary
Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health:

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on April 27, 2017

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