A push to improve health insurance coverage for Wisconsin residents is getting support in the La Crosse area.
The director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig, said Monday that the cost of medical care is causing financial burdens, including bankruptcy.
Kraig told reporters at the St. Clare Health Mission in La Crosse that people often either skip medical care or are “going without the basics,” just because of health care costs.
“Even when you’re insured, that’s a problem,” Kraig said, adding that a survey showed 52 percent of Wisconsin residents have skipped care this year, “and 95 percent of them are insured.”
Citizen Action of Wisconsin wants the Republican-controlled state Legislature to expand BadgerCare to people who don’t get adequate health coverage through the insurance offered to them by employers.
“We leave this money on the table every single year that we put this off,” Wisconsin state Assembly Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) said. “Our federal tax dollars are being paid in and they’re going to other states, and they should be coming back here to us.”
Wisconsin is one of only 10 states that has not chosen to expand its Medicaid programs. Republicans have balked at the idea ever since it was made available. By not putting it into this year’s budget, it’s cost Wisconsin $1.6 billion.
Lori Toso lives in Holmen, and claims she has lost out on potential health coverage in some cases because insurers say she didn’t get authorization.
“I did secure prior authorization, with a phone call and paperwork,” Toso explained, “so that I could avoid this hair-pulling, blood-boiling, heart-pounding, time-sucking world of insurance problems on the back end that are so hard to reverse.”
Wisconsin state Assembly Rep. Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) wants to see insurance programs for small businesses, and a state insurance exchange program.