As mentioned above, Gov. Evers recently introduced his 2023-25 budget proposal – the state’s two-year spending plan – before a Joint Session of the Wisconsin Legislature. Although the Republican-controlled Legislature is expected to scrap most of the Evers budget and craft their own version by working off current spending levels, it is likely the Legislature will adopt some of the governor’s proposals.
According to Evers, his budget includes proposals that would increase access to affordable healthcare coverage, improve the quality of healthcare services in the state, and expand the scope of benefits available through Medicaid. Please find below a brief overview of items included in governor’s budget proposal that may be of interest to WiHPCA members:
- Expand Medicaid eligibility for parents and adults from 100% of the federal poverty line ($27,750 annually in 2022 for a family of four) to 138% of the federal poverty line ($38,300 annually in 2022 for a family of four). According to the Evers Administration, this expansion would result in 89,700 low-income individuals becoming eligible for Medicaid, of which approximately 30,300 are uninsured. Under this proposal, the state would realize a savings of over $1.6 billion and draw down an additional $2.2 billion in federal funding over the two-year budget cycle. Republicans who control the Legislature are firmly opposed to this proposal.
- Provide $200 million in additional funding for Wisconsin Innovation Grants, a current program previously funded with federal dollars to design and implement plans to address workforce challenges. This proposal includes a $100 million allocation to specifically focus on fortifying the state’s healthcare workforce by providing grants to healthcare employers and related organizations.
- Provide $22.5 million to establish an ongoing Innovation Grant program for healthcare employers to engage in improved recruitment and retention of long-term care providers.
- Provide $10 million to expand the state’s nurse educators program.
- Provide $5 million GPR in additional funding for the Worker Advancement Initiative to support efforts by technical colleges and nursing schools to reduce barriers to graduation and assist students in becoming career ready.
- Provide $8 million for continuation of the WisCaregiver Careers program, which aims to address the shortage of certified nursing assistants in the state by supporting recruitment, training and retention of individuals to care for nursing home residents across Wisconsin.
- Provide over $900,000 to the Department of Workforce Development to support healthcare profession apprenticeship curriculum development and to advance new collaborations related to healthcare workforce.
- Provide nearly $4 million and increased staffing to the Department of Safety and Professional Services to streamline the state’s credentialling process for licensed professionals and provide more efficient processing of license applications.
The WiHPCA Government Affairs Team will continue to analyze the recently introduced budget bill and keep the membership updated throughout the budget process.