Lame Duck Legislation Goes to Governor’s Desk

Amendment improves legislation, but concerns remain

December 11, 2018

The Wisconsin Legislature passed sweeping changes to legislative oversight of the Medicaid program in lame duck legislation passed in the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 5. As covered in last week’s Valued Voice, the original legislation would have required the state’s budget writing committee to hold hearings on any changes to provider reimbursement rates, Medicaid State Plan Amendments, or Medicaid waivers that have an impact of $1 million or more. Proposals under that threshold would have also gone before the committee in a process known as passive review, where the committee has 14 days to review items, and any member may request a full hearing on such items.

WHA worked with more than 30 other Wisconsin health care groups in sending a letter expressing concerns about the legislation, which was introduced and voted on over the course of only three business days with little opportunity for stakeholder input or public review. WHA also actively engaged multiple lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate December 3 and 4 to build support for changes to the legislation. Ultimately, senators introduced an amendment to trigger only a passive review for provider rate changes, Medicaid State Plan Amendments, and Medicaid waivers with a fiscal impact of over $7.5 million.

While this amendment improved the legislation, WHA is actively working to understand its full impact. Concerns also remain over a provision in the legislation that put a requirement in state statutes for Medicaid to disenroll able-bodied childless adults between 50-100% of the federal poverty level if they fail to pay a monthly $8 premium. WHA had been working with lawmakers even before the legislation was introduced on alternative ramifications for Medicaid members who have unpaid premiums and will continue to work with lawmakers on this in the upcoming legislative session.

Contact WHA’s Director of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter or Senior VP of Government Relations Kyle O’Brien for more information.

This story originally appeared in the December 11, 2018 edition of WHA Newsletter