Governor Walker Calls for Special Session on Welfare Reform

January 19, 2018

Gov. Scott Walker put forward an executive order January 18 calling on the state Legislature to come into special session for the purposes of passing legislation impacting various welfare programs in Wisconsin, including Medicaid.

Among the provisions, the Governor calls on the Legislature to pass a bill that would require the Department of Health Services (DHS) to limit Medicaid eligibility for certain individuals who are not complying with paternity or child support orders and a bill directing DHS to seek a waiver of federal law to allow the state to create savings account programs for individuals enrolled in the Medicaid program.

The Governor announced the proposals in Executive Order #271, drafts of the legislative language were released by the bill authors, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield). 

LRB 5216 would require adults who are not elderly and not disabled to cooperate in providing or obtaining support for their child in order to be eligible for the Medicaid program. Under the proposal, the child would remain eligible for Medicaid even if the adult is ineligible because he or she did not comply with those requirements.

LRB 5246 would require DHS to seek a Medicaid waiver to establish and implement a health savings account program for Medicaid recipients. The proposal specifies that recipients of Medicaid who are elderly, blind, disabled, or a child would not be required to have a health savings account. No other details of the program are specified in the proposal, giving DHS significant flexibility on how the program would be structured. As described previously in The Valued Voice, DHS has submitted a waiver request seeking federal approval to implement new policies in the Medicaid program including premiums, copayments and work requirements. The request has not yet been approved by CMS.

This story originally appeared in the January 19, 2018 edition of WHA Newsletter