DHS Proposes New Impediments to BadgerCare Participation

Many Wisconsinites could lose their access to health care services if a new set of Walker administration proposals is approved by federal officials.  The proposals formally unveiled today by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) would adversely affect thousands of childless adults who have incomes below the poverty level and who rely on BadgerCare for their health care.

These proposals (summarized here) would significantly increase the number of uninsured Wisconsinites, make our state less healthy, and impede efforts to increase the Wisconsin workforce. There are far more effective ways to use scarce state funding to remove barriers to employment and expand the number of Wisconsin workers. Continue reading

Let’s Make Wisconsin A State Where Every Child Is Ready for School

More than 1,200 researchers agree that quality early care and education produces better education, health, economic, and social outcomes for children, families, and the nation. Despite this, Wisconsin has a long ways to go to ensure that every child in this state is receiving high-quality early care and education.

Because of this, the Wisconsin Early Learning Coalition is working hard to increase the number of children in high-quality child care programs in YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care quality rating and improvement system. This goal is achievable if Wisconsin lawmakers make the state’s youngest children a priority in the  2017-2019 biennial budget. Doing so will not only ensure that more children in the state get a great start at life, but it will ensure future economic success for Wisconsin.

We are encouraging lawmakers to:

  • Invest $10 million a year to implement quality grants to fund ongoing quality advancements in child care programs, recommended by the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council.
  • Invest $7.5 million a year to expand T.E.A.C.H. and REWARD, proven strategies for raising the education level of early childhood teachers and stemming turnover through stipends based on education achievement.
  • Invest $20 million a year to increase the child care payment rate of Wisconsin Shares so that high quality programs can afford to serve children from low-income families the children most at risk for not being ready for school and for life.

In the coming weeks, we will be counting on people like you to contact your elected officials and ask that they invest in high quality early care and education. Be part of this movement by signing up for our early care and education emails to receive alerts about contacting your state legislators, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Business Leaders Say Learning Social and Emotional Skills in Early Childhood Leads to Workforce Success, but Wisconsin Has a Long Way to Go

A new report, Social-Emotional Skills in Early Childhood Support Workforce Success, has just been released from ReadyNation, a national group of business leaders. ReadyNation is part of the Council for a Strong America. This year the Council has been promoting high-quality child care and evidence-based home visiting in Wisconsin, including meeting with the Governor and communicating with the entire state Legislature. Continue reading

CBO Analysis of ACA Insurance Gains: House Plan Amounts to Repeal and Erase

A new report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms most of our worst fears about the House Republican plan to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and radically change Medicaid.  The March 13th report released by the Republican-appointed director of the CBO shows the following:

  • Federal Medicaid funding would drop even more than we anticipated – with a total of $880 billion of cuts over the next ten years!
  • The number of uninsured Americans would jump to 52 million in 2026, which is an increase of 24 million compared to the CBO estimate for retaining the ACA.
  • By 2026 the sharp drop in people with insurance would essentially erase all the dramatic gains achieved in coverage over the last several years.

Continue reading

ACA Repeal Bill Becomes a Stealth Attack on Medicaid

Fundamental Change to Structure of Medicaid Would Gradually Yield Deep Cuts

A new analysis of the House Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) projects that the changes relating to the health insurance Marketplace will cause more than 15 million people to become uninsured. And in my opinion, that’s the second worst thing about the bill.

The part of the bill that will probably have a much larger effect over the long haul is a fundamental change in Medicaid. Without so much as a public hearing, the House has slipped into the ACA bill a provision that is likely to permanently constrict federal support for Medicaid and gradually lead to rationing of services for low-income seniors, children and families, and people with disabilities. It does that by capping increases in the federal portion of Medicaid financing, which will shift more and more of Medicaid costs from the federal government to the states. Continue reading

Today, We Honor All Women

Today is International Women’s Day. It began as International Working Women’s Day to honor the International Lady Garment Worker’s Union strike and in the 1970’s, the United Nations officially began celebrating International Women’s Day. Across the world, women are going on strike to highlight issues women disproportionately face, such as sexual assault, curtailing of reproductive freedom, paid family leave, and economic disparities in income and wealth. Within the United States, a related action is taking place, called A Day Without a Woman, which also seeks to highlight gendered issues and continue the protest momentum from the Women’s March on January 21st, 2017.

Protest movements have been a critical part of social change in the United States, ranging from the abolitionist and suffragist movements to union organizing at the turn of the 20th century, the Stonewall Riots, and the Civil Rights Movement. And there are reasons for action—gender disparities still exist. President Obama stated in a speech in 2016, “Today, the typical woman who works full-time earns 79 cents for every dollar that a typical man makes.” Continue reading