One of the bigger items, is not so much what is included in the budget, but rather what is not. Specifically, Wisconsin continues to reject accepting Federal Medicaid expansion dollars, which in Wisconsin not only prevents the expansion of any Medicaid programs, but because of the current budget shortfall, will likely lead to reduction of existing programs.
On that note, the budget plans to eliminate the IRIS program. IRIS has proven to be a popular program, intended to keep individuals in their own homes or apartments as long as possible. In particular, it has provisions that allow payment to family members as paid caregivers. The budget proposes elimination of that program.
The budget also proposes major modifications to the Family Care Program. Like IRIS, Family Care is intended as a program to keep people out of nursing homes, and in their own homes or apartments as long as possible. The budget calls for major modifications to that program, and specifically, to centralize its operations. The argument in favor of centralization is to try to get better efficiencies. However, two years ago, Medicaid changed from a system run by the individual Counties, to regional consortiums, but the consortiums have proven to be a source of frustration to many users, rather than the creation of an efficient system.
Again, there are a great many changes for Medicaid, and other programs in the budget. At this point, they are proposals.
Attorney Peter E. Grosskopf
1324 W. Clairemont Ave. Suite 10
Eau Claire, WI 54701