Good News! …and More Work Ahead

We assume you all know by now that Sen. Alberta Darling (Co-Chair, Joint Finance Committee) has announced that there will be no action on FC/IRIS 2.0 in the coming months, and perhaps not until next year. It is interesting that this decision is very similar to our proposal to JFC in our most recent memo (5/26/16): “suspend action on Family Care/IRIS 2.0 for the remainder of 2016…and restart the process with the 2017–2019 biennial budget”.

This is excellent news, and certainly cause for the LTC Coalition to celebrate. At the same time, it is inconclusive. It’s not a victory - - it’s a reprieve. A delay, even a long delay, is not the same as JFC actually convening and formally voting to disapprove the DHS Concept Paper with no invitation to DHS to revise and re-submit it. So FC/IRIS 2.0 is still alive until and unless DHS withdraws it, JFC convenes and votes No on it, or it is displaced by a new LTC proposal from the governor in the 2017–19 biennial budget session.

Nevertheless, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the ways that our advocacy may have contributed to JFC’s decision to hit the PAUSE button on 2.0, e.g:

  • the decision of the LTC Coalition (and Survival Coalition, WI Aging Advocacy Network, and Save IRIS) to keep advocating after the budget was signed,

  • the hard work of many LTC Coalition members to respond to the list of DHS Decision Items and develop the (highly regarded) Stakeholders’ Blueprint on LTC Redesign,

  • our continuing correspondence with JFC members to educate them on LTC, raise questions and point out concerns,

  • countless face-to-face meetings, emails and letters from LTC Coalition members with a variety of legislators, and

  • the fortunate corroboration of many of our concerns in the 5/26/16 Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis of the DHS Concept Paper (which illustrates the importance of us continuing to get our facts right)

Since these strategies have been effective so far, we believe the Coalition should keep using similar strategies in the future.

What’s Next?

We must remain vigilant and keep up the drumbeat. This fight isn’t over yet, and all indications are that the Senate Republicans on JFC continue to be under intense pressure from the national insurance companies. With JFC suspending action on LTC for a while, we can turn our attention to the upcoming elections and educating candidates (without making endorsements or engaging in partisan activity). All 99 State Assembly members are up for re-election in 2016, along with 16 of the State Senate’s 33 seats. We encourage all Coalition members to keep up the dialogue with current legislators (and their campaign challengers) during this campaign season to educate them about LTC issues. It’s important for all legislators (not just JFC members) to know that support for a high quality LTC system is a high priority for a sizable number of constituents, their support networks, and their providers in every district. We can use the extra time the legislature has given us to educate members and challengers and begin persuading them in advance that we can improve our LTC system without blowing it up in the next budget session.

The LTC Coalition Steering Group is currently working on:

  • a briefing paper on LTC for all incumbent legislators and challengers for this campaign season, and

  • suggested questions on LTC that you and others in your networks can ask candidates for the state legislature at campaign events between now and November.

We hope to post these on the LTC Coalition website soon. We’ll email you when they‘re ready.

What you can do:

  • stay engaged and informed;

  • use social media (personal and professional avenues where appropriate) to share information and updates on LTC with your connections;

  • share LTC election questions when they become available, post them on your legislator’s social media pages, ask for a meeting to discuss, convene a group to educate candidates;

  • attend any scheduled campaign events, forums or listening sessions and bring up LTC issues; and

  • write a letter to the editor asking that LTC be a key consideration for selecting candidates.

Given the recent events which have significantly changed the landscape for Family Care/IRIS 2.0, we will also be scheduling a meeting of the full LTC Coalition soon to discuss our strategy between now and November, our ideas for alternatives to FC/IRIS 2.0, and what we need to do to position ourselves for the 2017–19 budget session.

Thanks again for all your hard work - - it’s clearly having an impact.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on June 09, 2016

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