Letter: Vote for BadgerCare Expansion in November Referendum
To the Editor-
As members of the Hunger and Poverty Prevention Partnership of Portage County, we hear often of the needs of individuals and families that live right here as our neighbors. The number of homeless and hungry would surprise many.
Two referendums will be on the ballot for the November 4 election. These are non-partisan advisory referendums and the results can send a strong message that changes can and should be made to assist individuals in moving out of poverty.
The first question is “Should the State of Wisconsin increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour?” It is important to know the facts released from an analysis of the Economic Policy Institute.
-Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 by July 2016, would increase wages for over a half million Wisconsin workers.
-Higher wages benefit businesses by increasing consumer purchasing power.
-Increasing the minimum wage does not “kill jobs”. 600 economists including 7 Nobel Prize winners have called for the increase.
-Specifically in Portage County, a family of 1 Adult and 1 child is living in poverty at $7 per hour. Two adults and 1 child are living in poverty at $8.80 per hour. Low paying jobs mean that taxpayers will need to subsidize these wage earners with housing, medical and food assistance.
The 2nd advisory referendum asks “Shall the next State Legislature accept all available federal funds for Badger Care to ensure that thousands of Wisconsin citizens have access to quality and affordable health coverage?”
According to Politifact.com and the Journal Sentinel, not taking the Medicaid expansion funds will cost the taxpayers of WI $119 million in 2013-2015 increasing to $459 million 2021. This Medicaid Expansion is money that we all have paid in taxes to the Federal Government and are not benefiting from.
Meanwhile, 63,000 individuals were dropped off Badger Care, leaving 28,000 with no insurance.
Medicaid expansion will do more than give more Wisconsinites health insurance. It will provide economic stimulus. Now the Federal government contributes 60% of the Medicaid program in Wisconsin. By accepting the funding, it would pay all the costs of the expanded coverage for the first three years and gradually fall to 90% in 2020 and stay level thereafter.
We hope that this will help all voters make an informed choice when asked to answer these questions on the ballot.
Legislative Committee of HPPP-PC
Rev. Susan Zencka, Jan Way, Mary Naylor, Laura Rowe