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Doyle's Budget Will Need a "Valentine" from Congress to Work

February 14, 2007

The Governor's budget needs a little love from Congress - as the federal plan that funds Badger Care health coverage is up for renewal starting this week. Comments from Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Dr. John Meurer (MOY-er), chief of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Governor Doyle will need a Valentine from Congress for his budget proposal to work. Badger Care health coverage for uninsured kids is funded by a federal program that's up for renewal, with hearings in Congress this week. Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin says the "S-CHIP" program has made a lot of kids healthier - and it needs a budget boost to meet the Governor's goal of coverage for all kids.

"While it has been a marvelously successful program, there are still way too many children in Wisconsin and in America who lack adequate health care coverage."

The White House budget includes a small boost in funding; Baldwin says the increase won't keep pace with rising health care costs.

Dr. John Meurer is head of the pediatrics department at the Medical College of Wisconsin; he says giving kids health coverage means their health problems are treated earlier, and at less cost in the long run.

"Children who enroll in Medicaid or S-CHIP have 4 asthma attacks per year, compared with 10 asthma attacks for uninsured children. So without a doubt, lack of insurance limits access to necessary health care services."

Governor Doyle's budget plan needs a little Valentine's love from Congress - as the federal program that funds Wisconsin's Badger Care health coverage is up for renewal. Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin says the program should be expanded to help states cover all children who don't have insurance; she says that pays off in fewer emergency room visits, and healthier kids.

"Children are not only covered by health insurance, but they're healthier, because they're getting the medical and the preventative care that they need."

The White House budget has a small increase for the kids' insurance program; Baldwin says it'll take more than that to maintain the current level of service.


"...their health care needs."

Baldwin is at 608-258-9800; Meurer is at 414-277-8951.

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WI