Doctors Slam GOP Proposals to Add New Barriers to Medical Assistance



By JT Cestkowski

February 9, 2022

Wisconsinites receiving medical assistance benefits would be subject to new requirements under two new bills.

Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature are putting the state’s health needlessly at risk, according to a diagnosis offered Tuesday by two Wisconsin doctors. 

GOP representatives in the Assembly are considering two bills that would, according to the doctors, frustrate Wisconsinites’ ability to get access to health care.

The bills would place “arbitrary requirements” on healthcare services, adding “additional, unnecessary bureaucracy,” said Dr. Ann Helms, a critical care neurologist in Milwaukee.

AB 934 would bar the Wisconsin Department of Health Services from automatically renewing a person’s eligibility for medical assistance benefits. Instead, the agency would have to review each person’s eligibility every six months, adding another barrier to affording medical treatment. 

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“Typically Republicans disdain red tape, but in this instance, they are willing to heap more of it on,” said Dr. David Lang, a family practitioner from Osceola.

AB 936 adds a work requirement to receive medical assistance benefits. If enacted, the measure would require a person on medical assistance to accept any amount of legal work offered to them up to 40 hours per week. In effect the measure removes bargaining power from a person requiring help with medical costs.

Both bills are in the Assembly and have received public hearings. 

Lang repeatedly used this most recent healthcare policy battle to raise Republicans’ continued refusal to expand Medicaid (known in Wisconsin as BadgerCare), despite such a move being funded entirely by the federal government.


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