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Campaign to expand BadgerCare program is backed by La Crosse area patients



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.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. walden

    November 21, 2023 at 10:28 am

    Anyone that has relied on medicare or medicaid should be smart enough to know government funding (and the government control bureaucracy that comes with it) is not the answer.

    Getting prior approval for procedures will be the least of your worries.

  2. Carol Herlitzka

    November 21, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Badger care is walfare! Obama care is walfare!

  3. Char

    November 21, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    The last thing we need is even MORE government interference in Healthcare. Anything the government touches is never as good as it was before, and is ruined.

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