Wisconsin K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Medicaid Meltdown

Steven Walters

A long-awaited audit documents the perfect storm that swamped state government’s ability to manage Wisconsin’s Medicaid program, which provided health care to 1.18 million elderly, poor and disabled at a cost of $7.5 billion last year.
It’s an alarming read, even for an eyes-glaze-over financial report. It could be a tea party manifesto. It explains why Democrats, who ran the Capitol for a two-year period that ended a year ago, blocked earlier requests for the audit.
Between 2007 and 2011, state Auditor Joe Chrisman and his staff found, Medicaid budget and program controls were drowned by factors that included:
A state hiring freeze and a requirement that state workers take eight unpaid days for two straight years.
The 2008-’09 expansion of Medicaid to more than 100,000 children, families, pregnant women and adults without dependent children.
The recession, which cost thousands their jobs, forcing them and their families onto Medicaid rolls.
Between 2007 and 2011, the cost of Medicaid went up by 51% (from $5 billion to $7.5 billion), while its caseload went up by 36% (from 870,201 to 1.18 million). But there’s so much more to ask about those numbers. At some point, lawmakers who must approve Medicaid budgets should ask the state Department of Health Services:

Out of control healthcare spending certainly affects K-12 budgets….