Continuing Coverage: Budget's proposed effects on Medicaid - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Continuing Coverage: Budget's proposed effects on Medicaid


By Julia Fello - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

DANE COUNTY, WI (WKOW) -- Part of Governor Walker's plan to balance the biennial budget - is to cut $500 million from Medicaid programs.

A large portion of this money goes towards mental health services. In continuing coverage on the budget impact, 27 News took a look at those proposed cuts and its effects.

One Middleton mother opened up on what this funding has meant to her son, who suffers from a mental illness.

"We were seeing a behavioral psychiatrist when he was 2-years-old," said Paula Buege, mother of Donovan Richards.

Middleton resident Paula Buege recounts how her son, Donovan became diagnosed with autism and bipolar disorder.

The junior at Middleton High School is now doing well, with the help of programs like Medicaid, paying for his treatment and medications.

"Medications are roughly $1,000 a month," said Buege.

According to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Donovan is one of more than 100,000 patients receiving public mental health services in the Badger State.

"It just worries me enormously for the thousands of citizens in our county," said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

Falk says she's opposed to the Governor's Budget cutting $500 million from Medicaid.

"His budget cuts Dane County $4 million a year. But what's even worse he freezes what were able to do with local taxes," said Falk.

Donovan dreams of becoming a music teacher.

"Don't ever give up, because you never know what's gunna happen," said Richards.

The Budget Bill would also allow the Department of Health Services Secretary, Dennis Smith to enact emergency rules to change Medicaid programs and BadgerCare eligibility.

The DHS Secretary also released this statement regarding how the Governor's plan for $500 million in cuts reflected in the budget. Here is his response:

"The Medicaid program faces a $1.8 billion shortfall, largely because of the expiration of more than $1 billion of federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds on July 1. We are replacing those funds for DHS with $1.3 billion in new state General Purpose Revenue (GPR). To make up the rest of this federal shortfall, we will be looking for $500 million in savings in our Medicaid program. To bend this cost curve, and reduce expenditures by the projected amount, the Department will commence an open and deliberative process with legislators, stakeholders, advocates and taxpayers to identify and implement ideas aimed at improving health outcomes and controlling spending growth."

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