Is this case the first real test of the universal right to health insurance? We are aware that many believe that this is a basic human right. It seems that just as many people believe that position is ridiculous. We’ll be following this case for insight.
Two Milwaukee residents have sued the state Department of Health Services for freezing enrollment in a program that provides basic health insurance for people with low incomes who are not eligible for other coverage.
The program – known as BadgerCare Plus Core – covers about 26,000 people compared with 65,265 in January 2010.
The BadgerCare Plus Core plan now has an estimated waiting list of 130,000 people.
Enrollment in the program, funded by a mix of state and federal dollars, has been capped since its beginning. But advocates have contended that more people could be enrolled in the program.
The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court on Friday, alleges that the Department of Health Services has violated state and federal law by not enrolling people in the program.
It was filed by Teresa Charles and Susan Wagner, Milwaukee residents who have been on the waiting list for more than two years. They are being represented by Legal Action of Wisconsin, a nonprofit law firm that represents low-income people.
The lawsuit also names Dennis Smith, secretary of the Department of Health Services, and Brett Davis, who oversees Medicaid programs, as defendants.
The Department of Health Services declined to comment on the lawsuit but said it does not have the money to increase enrollment in the BadgerCare Plus Core plan.