Walker's DHS boycotts state access to federal health care reform

Guy Boulton, of the Journal Sentinel, presents the blocking of grant applications as a sort of Walker-driven boycott of federal health care reform.

In the news: State blocks plans to apply for federal health grants

Milwaukee and UW-Madison sought to apply for grants authorized under federal health care reform. The state Department of Health Services, under newly appointed Walkeright Dennis Smith, blocked the applications.
[The grants] would provide about $27.5 million for health programs designed to promote healthier lifestyles and reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes.
"I did not expect that our biggest obstacle would be our biggest partner - the state of Wisconsin," said Bevan Baker, the city's [Milwaukee's] commissioner of health
"My perspective is the need is great, and these are resources that could be put to great use for the state and the citizens of the state," said Thomas Sieger, prevention director for University Health Services [UW-Madison]. "And it's unfortunate not to bring them in."
Smith claimed to be unaware that the grants were authorized under federal health care reform. Smith provides an additional justification for the block - saying the grants are not necessary.
I asked folks, 'Don't we already do this?'" Smith said. "What would this really accomplish? How would it forward our mission?"
Guy Boulton provides pertinent background info:
Gov. Scott Walker opposes federal health care reform, and Wisconsin is among the states challenging the constitutionality of certain provisions in the law. Some states have been criticized for opposing the federal law while accepting federal money it made available.

Hypothesis: Looking through the smokescreen, the position Walkeright has set up shows a boycott of federal health care reform is effectively in place.

It is a boycott enacted by a few Walkerights with unconsidered cost to Wisconsin's health.

Walkeright's strategy, as always, is heavy-handed. Walker will not endorse these uncontroversial provisions of the federal health care reform because of his opposition to its unpopular provisions (such as insurance mandates). The health of Wisconsin is ignored in his policy.

Enterprising attitude: U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D - Wisconsin 4th) asks Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to consider the grant applications without the required letter of support from the state.

Future work: With efforts to withhold medical advice and information on health issues, Walkeright furthers mission to keep public uninformed.

Update, July 5, 2011: Journal Sentinel:
State officials should reconsider their decision not to endorse grant applications by Milwaukee and University Health Services in Madison for health programs.

Fun with resources:
  • Pre-gubernatorial Scott Walker - Health Care Reform
    In Wisconsin, we're already at the top of the list when it comes to access and quality - the things they talk about in Washington.
  • State blocks plans to apply for federal health grants
    Roughly one in four Wisconsin residents are obese, according to a report last year from the Trust for America's Health - a nonprofit organization that focuses on disease prevention - and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    The state also has the nation's highest rate of obesity - 44% - for adult African-Americans, according to the study. Mississippi had the second-highest rate.
  • Provisions of the Affordable Care Act
    In March of 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act—the new health law. The law creates a new program – the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan -- to make health coverage available to you if you have been denied health insurance by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition.

Friday, July 1, 2011


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