MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Six Democratic state lawmakers say Wisconsin could lose its federal share of funding for the Family Care program, but the state’s health secretary denies it.
The six lawmakers pointed to a letter from federal Medicaid officials in late March, which said that Wisconsin is not complying with federal rules – and if they don’t make changes by Monday, almost $900 million in annual funding for Family Care could be in jeopardy.
The program keeps the elderly and disabled out of nursing homes. The state lifted its one-year-old enrollment limit on Family Care last month, after being ordered to do so by the federal government. And state Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith told the Wisconsin State Journal Tuesday that the program is in full compliance with federal mandates – and the federal funding is, “not in danger of termination.”
Medicaid officials said in March that Wisconsin had only a short time to meet several conditions. They include notifying beneficiaries that the enrollment cap was lifted, identifying people should be in the program, and letting them know they could be reimbursed if they were turned away earlier.
But Smith told Medicaid officials in late April that the state shouldn’t have to provide any retroactive reimbursements, because last year’s enrollment cap complied with the federal health reform law. Therefore, he said any reimbursement mandate now would be, “coercive.”
The Democrats who expressed concerns said the Joint Finance Committee should meet this week, and have Smith clarify some things. The committee’s co-chairs have not commented.
The six Democrats are Representatives Cory Mason and Jon Richards, and Senators Bob Jauch, Lena Taylor, Dave Hansen, and Jennifer Shilling.