First things first: There's a gathering/rally/press event on Sunday 2/20, 1pm, to bring much-needed attention to the Medicaid implications of the Walker Budget Repair bill. The event is a few blocks from the Capitol Square in Madison at the Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin (click the link for a Google Map.)
The entire press release is appended to the bottom of this post. JoyDad, Rose and I plan to be there, and hope to see many-many others there as well!
I'm also including here a list of some central background links on Medicaid and budget repair -- a one-stop shop, as it were.
For an excellent summary of the issue, see:
Budget repair bill gives Walker free hand to revamp, cut Medicaid programs
(The Capital Times, 2/14/2011)
For a glimpse of the potential court battle if this passes, see:
State attorney said Walker's Medicaid plan raised "potential constitutional issues" (The Capital Times, 2/15/2011)
[Update 2/21] To read more about the lack of awareness (both in Wisconsin and nationally) about the Medicaid issue, see:
Why Such Little Outcry Over Bill's Impact on Medicaid Programs? (The Capital Times, 2/20/2011)
For a summary analysis of the bill from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, see pages 8 & 9 of the following:
2/14/2011 LFB Memo on Budget Adjustment Legislation (.pdf)
Autism-related Press Releases
Autism Society of Wisconsin: Sweeping shift of authority for setting Medicaid policy threatens Medicaid programs, including autism services. (2/18/2011, .pdf)
Autism Society of Greater Madison: Budget Repair bill a threat to autism services
A couple of contact-your-legislator Action Alerts:
From Access to Independence: Budget Repair Bill should not Limit the Power of People with Disabilities and their Families to Provide Input!
From DAWN News Service: Take Medicaid Out of the Budget Repair Bill
And the latest status of the bill, as of early-morning Sat. 2/19:
-- It has passed the Joint Finance Committee, with the addition of an amendment that "sunsets" the Medicaid-related process changes on Jan. 1, 2015 -- which is the end of Gov. Walker's current term, preventing any new administration from using the same ugly undemocratic process to change everything back. (It seems that the emergency only lasts as long as the Walker administration?)
-- The State Assembly did not vote on Friday, but adjourned till Tuesday.
-- The State Senate is currently unable to vote, since all the minority-party state senators have crossed state lines in protest of the lack of conversation/negotiation with Governor Walker and the incredibly rushed timeline for such controversial far-reaching changes. The Senate cannot vote, due to lack of quorum, until at least one of them returns. (Stay strong in your undisclosed location/s, Senators, and thank you for your courage!)
And finally, a Joy-story to tell.
Regular readers will remember that Joy re-started swimming lessons this January. After she had a wonderful first-lesson with a new teacher, that teacher left the swim school. We were reassigned to someone who didn't connect with Joy for the second-lesson. Then we had the chance to switch to yet a third teacher, who happens to be the same one with whom Joy had her first wonderful swimming-lesson experiences back in 2008.
Joy has now had two lessons with her third/original teacher. She is responding enthusiastically. I learned yesterday that the swim school has a new approach -- in addition to the report cards at the end of the session, they now give ribbons to mark when a swimmer accomplishes each skill in their level.
Joy got the following ribbon yesterday (it's really a neon-yellow with gold letters):
Note the Guppy logo! Woo hoo!
I look forward to being able to step back from blogging the politics of Governor Walker's disastrous budget, and tell more Joy-stories, but I'm also pretty much the only one I know who's blogging this part of the story, so it's a personal mission with me to keep the information flowing. I do plan to take a blogging Sabbath for an upcoming day here, take a deep breath, relax at least a little. But I hope to see folks at the event on Sunday afternoon, even if it's ice-and-snowing!
Press Event to Support Wisconsin Medicaid and Raise the Voices of Working Families, Older Adults, People with Disabilities and Others with a Stake in Wisconsin’s Health
Sunday, February 20, 2011 1:00 pm
Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin, Madison, Wisconsin (Google Map)
What: A press event to raise awareness of what’s at stake for recipients of Medicaid – including BadgerCare, SeniorCare, Family Care, children’s waivers and other vital programs in the Governor’s Budget Repair Bill.
When: Sunday, February 20, 2011 1:00pm
Where: Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin, Madison, Wisconsin
Who: The Save BadgerCare Coalition and the Save Medicaid Coalition that includes a broad and diverse alliance of advocates for public health, disability rights, women’s health, the aging community, children’s health along with working individuals and families that depend on Medicaid including BadgerCare for their health, well-being and economic security.
Background: The Budget Repair Bill, even as amended by the Joint Finance Committee, threatens the future of Wisconsin ’s Medicaid programs that provide critical supports to more than 1.1 million people in the state. The bill gives sweeping authority to the Department of Health Services (DHS) to enact “emergency rules” that could significantly change the Medicaid programs and reduce BadgerCare eligibility for children, parents and uninsured adults; or reduce benefits in programs that serve older adults and persons with disabilities; and change co-pays and premiums without legislative oversight or any public input, which could have dire consequences for Wisconsin residents.
These significant changes to the administration of Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs are in danger of being overshadowed by the proposal’s other provisions which involve the rights of public employees. The public needs to be aware of the implications this bill will have for all those who rely on Medicaid; and that changes made today will have dire consequences for years to come that should not be underestimated.
P.S. TinyURL for this post is http://tinyurl.com/646k42q -- please tweet widely!