The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH), the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition (WBCC) along with other advocates throughout the state are once again expressing their concern over the severity of the proposed changes to the Wisconsin Well Woman Program including the tight timeline, many remaining questions, and the extensive lack of data.
In December of 2013, DHS first shared a proposal to drastically restructure the program that has provided cervical and breast cancer screenings to over 70,000 for the past 20 years. This proposed included an enormous reduction in the number of Local Coordinating Agencies – 72 to just a handful – and a significant reduction in the number of health care providers in the program.
In response to many providers, advocates and patients who then spoke up in frustration that they were denied the opportunity to provide input prior to the proposal being released at the end of 2013, fortunately in March of 2014, DHS announced it was halting its original proposal and was willing to sit down with WAWH, WBCC and others to more collaboratively discuss ways to improve the program and help the program compliment new health care coverage options available through the Affordable Care Act.
Yet despite opportunities to weigh in and the urging to have any decisions about the future of this critical program be data driven, state leaders have failed to provide any information related to health care coverage options for current WWWP clients and have failed to anticipate what Governor Walker’s proposed new changes to BadgerCare and the pending Supreme Court decision in King vs. Burwell could have on future health care access and affordability for Wisconsin women.
“The state’s original justification for making changes to the Well Woman Program was based on new coverage options in the Federal Marketplace and with BadgerCare but depending on what happens with the State Budget and the Supreme Court case, we soon may see Wisconsin women flocking back to programs like this who have served them in the past,” noted WAWH Executive Director Sara Finger.
“With so much uncertainty, we urge the state leaders to delay the implementation of new changes and to take the time truly understand the current and future needs among Wisconsin women for these critical services,” added WBCC Executive Director Dawn Anderson.
For more information on the proposed changes to the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, please visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/wwwp/model.htm.