Congressional Plans to Gut the ACA and Medicaid will Reverse Gains Made in Children’s Access to Care

The Senate is considering even deeper cuts to Medicaid funding than those proposed by the House in the American Health Care Act.  These cuts would negatively impact the gains made in health care access for children across the nation.  A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 3 million children nationwide would lose health coverage under the American Health Care Act, increasing the uninsured rate for children by 50%.

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Despite Pence’s Claims, the ACA Has Had a Huge Positive Effect in Wisconsin

Vice President Pence is headed to Milwaukee this Saturday in an attempt to build support for repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Vice President and Governor Walker plan to put a spotlight on a few Wisconsinites who are unhappy with the ACA, but let’s look at the larger picture and consider the many ways that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites are benefiting from the law.

It is especially important to keep in mind that from 2013 to 2015, after some of the key portions of the ACA took effect, the number of uninsured Wisconsinites fell by almost 200,000, a drop of nearly 40 percent. Continue reading

A Perilous Path ahead for Medicaid? 

Proposed Medicaid Cuts Would Grow to 45 Percent in 2026

Medicaid is at a crossroads.  Changes proposed by the President and the House of Representatives would put it on a path that leads to continual cuts and sharply reduced health care services for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income children and families.

Both the House bill and the Trump budget would make massive cuts in federal support for Medicaid and change the fundamental nature of the program — in order to pay for huge tax cuts for corporations and wealthy Americans.  That “Robin Hood in reverse” strategy would gradually force states to ration Medicaid services. Continue reading

Wisconsin Ranked 4th in the Nation in Access to Early Education for 4-year-olds

According to the recently released 2016 report on preschool nationwide, Wisconsin is ranked 4th in the nation for the percentage of 4-year-olds in state-funded Pre-Kindergarten programs in the 2015-16 school year. Wisconsin, through its Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Program and its Head Start State Supplement program, enrolled 51,551 children, almost 71 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds and one percent of 3-year-olds. Continue reading

Joint Finance Approves $3.9 Million for Home Visiting and Rejects $34 million for Child Care in Key Decisions

First, the good news. The Joint Committee on Finance unanimously approved the Governor’s proposal for a $3.9 million increase for home visiting in each year of the biennium. The support for home visiting is encouraging.

Now, the bad news. Two critical proposals to improve child care were rejected. The implications are serious. Continue reading

A Step Forward for Juvenile Justice-Hope Springs Eternal

Per the Coalition for Juvenile Justice:

House Passes HR 1809 to Reform and Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

Today, in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and enhance the focus on prevention, was passed by voice vote.

The legislation, known as the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017, was introduced by Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA).

The bipartisan legislation includes reforms to:

  • Phase out use of the valid court order exception and stop the incarceration of children in need of services.
  • Provide states and local leaders flexibility to deliver services that meet the specific needs of young people in their own communities.
  • Prioritize evidence-based strategies with proven track records and long-term solutions for addressing juvenile delinquency.
  • Improve accountability and oversight at all levels of the juvenile justice system.”

This reauthorization is important to the future of juvenile justice in the states, but we’ve seen this move before – the House passed a reauthorization proposal last year only to have it get hung up in the Senate around the issue of phasing out the Valid Court Order exception (that allows truants and runaways to be held under certain circumstances). Let’s hope this time is the “charm”! We encourage you to contact Senators Johnson and Baldwin to let them know you support a reauthorized and funded Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

Steep Decline in Regulated Family Child Care

The decline of family child care was a topic recently when the Joint Finance Committee members discussed issues with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) on March 29, 2017. Senator Sheila Harsdorf was concerned about the sharp decline of family child care. She has heard from her constituents that the decline may be due to the demands of child care licensing and the YoungStar quality rating and improvement system. DCF SecretaryEloise Anderson said that the drop in family child care is a national trend, and that parents may be more interested in placing their children in group child care centers. Whatever the causes, the trend is very clear. Continue reading