The Basic plan would offer limited health services to individuals who were unable to get on the BadgerCare Plus Core program late last year. Enrollment for the Core program was capped last October due to it filling up so fast, leaving thousands of people on the waiting list.
“Here in Wisconsin we have worked hard to protect people who have lost their jobs and health insurance in this national economy through no fault of their own,” Doyle said in a statement. “I am proud to sign into law BadgerCare Plus Basic to help tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents who so badly need health care.”
For a $130 monthly premium, people on the waiting list for the Core program would be able to get health insurance through BadgerCare Basic. The plan would be self-funded through these premiums, unlike the Core plan, which is state-funded.
The Basic program shows there is a lack of affordable health insurance in the state, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, said at a public hearing in February.
“If there were something out there for individuals that was affordable, we would not be here today, but there is a real need out there right now,” Erpenbach said.
Karen Timberlake, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, called the efforts to maintain Wisconsin’s leadership in health care exemplary.
“That’s important not just because it’s nice to say that we’re a national leader, but it’s important because that’s thousands and thousands of people in our state who now have access to affordable health care coverage to get their basic medical needs met,” Timberlake said.
The bill has not seen unanimous support. Republicans in both the Assembly and Senate have voiced opposition to the bill because they believe the premiums will not be enough to sufficiently cover the program’s cost. They believe in focusing more on lowering the costs of private insurance instead of expanding a government program.