Letter: Quality care needs to be available to all by Sara Eskrich and Jennifer Winter
Over 525,000 Wisconsinites, including 65,000 children, currently have no health insurance coverage. With the recent debates around health care, it’s easy to lose sight of what must remain our ultimate goal: ensuring all children and families in Wisconsin have affordable access to quality health care.
Access to health insurance coverage saves money. The costs to a community associated with lack of insurance are significant. People postpone going to the doctor until they are severely injured or ill, which results in worse outcomes and higher costs. Often they end up in the emergency room, where the cost of uncompensated care is shifted to people with private health insurance. This is why affordable health insurance options, like Wisconsin’s BadgerCare program, are so critical to the health of our communities.
While recently approved policy changes will cause many adults on BadgerCare to fall off the program, it is important to continue enrolling those who are still eligible. Fortunately children were not directly affected in this round of changes, thanks to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that prevent states from cutting spending by reducing or eliminating coverage for children, though some will be affected by their parents losing coverage.
BadgerCare has worked well for Wisconsin families, and has made Wisconsin a national leader in covering children and families. However, too many Wisconsinites are still uninsured. This week, we are celebrating “Cover the Uninsured Week.” We encourage families to enroll in BadgerCare! To see if you or your children are eligible, go to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website (dhs.wisconsin.gov/badgercareplus/) or call (800) 362-3002. There’s more work to be done, but together we can reach the finish line in the race to ensure quality care is available to all children and families in the state.
Sara Eskrich and Jennifer Winter, Co-Chairs
Covering Kids and Families of WI Policy Committee