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Advocacy Legislative Updates - Click for more

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Advocacy - What is it? Find Your LegislatorWhere do I vote

Advocacy is a core function of the ADRC of Brown County's mission, mandated by the Federal and State authority. ADRC is charged with both advocating on behalf of older adults, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers, as well as empowering them to advocate for themselves. This webpage will help you make informed decisions by providing information from a variety of aging and disability networks, both statewide and national

Governor Evers' Budget
Better, more affordable care, covering more Wisconsinites
Supporting Brown County - $92 million of new investments in Brown County

Medicaid expansion is the lever that Wisconsin pulls to infuse new federal dollars into the rest of our health care system, with the aim of improving the hearlth and well-being of every citizen. Medicaid is a critical part of our health care system. In Wisconsin, 1.1 million residents rely on Medicaid for high-quality health care. The budget expands Medicaid to cover childless adults, parents, and caretakers with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, which is about $17,000 per year for a single person. This expansion will enable an estimated 82,000 aditional individualas to access affordable health care.

Medicaid expansion will also allow the state to draw down new federal funds and save Wisconsin taxpayers $324.5 million. The budget proposes to reinvest these savings into new initiatives to improve health care access and quality for all Brown County residents, not just those enrolled in Medicaid. The expansion plus the new initiatives wil enable us to draw down a total of $1.6 billion in new federal funding. When we combine these new initiatives with all other investmetns for Department of Health Services programs - from both the state and federal government - the budget provides a total of $2.6 billion in new funding. Of this, $2.4 billion will be invested in Wisconsin communities, including $92 million in Brown County. Click to read about the benefits Medicaid Expansion of which $92 million would bring to Brown County.

2019-21 State Budget Summary for Aging Advocates

Compiled by Janet Zandar, GWAAR Advocacy & Public Policy Coordinator this document provides a summary the areas of the proposed state budget of most interest and importance to Aging Advocates. It will help you understand the issues that impact the lives of older adults and persons with disabilities.

Below is a list of the items please go to this 2019-21 State Budget Summary for Aging Advocates to read the details.
  1. Expands Medicaid
  2. Increases Navigator outreach for the federal insurance marketplace
  3. Creates a Medicaid community health benefit for nonmedical but critical services
  4. Increases access to dental services
  5. Establish telehealth access for medical services delivery under Medicaid program
  6. Support Medigap Helpline
  7. Prescription Drug Programs/Benefits - Fully fund SeniorCare, lower costs, create transparency requirements, remove Medicaid copayments
  8. Creates grants to provide healthy aging programs
  9. Caregiver Support - increase funding
  10. Homestead Tax Credit increase income threshold
  11. Transportation increase funding for specialized transportation and related programs
  12. Broadband expands access

2019-2021 Budget and Policy Priorities

Click this WAAN 2019-2021 Budget and Legislative Priorities to get the details about the priority topics listed below.
  1. Direct Workforce Support - addressing workforce shortages in home and residential services settings
  2. Elder Benefit Specialist Support - avoid further reductions in services and meet increased demand for access. Read this Elder Benefits Program Funding position paper to learn more
  3. Family Caregiver Support - support and recognize people caring for friends and family as valued members of the care team.
  4. Healthy Aging Grants - support evidence based programs that improve health
  5. Transportation Support - provide reliable, accessible, affordable transportation to help people stay independent.

DRW Testifies for AB1: Pre-Existing Condition Guaranteed Coverage Act; a Highly Imperfect Fix

Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW), provides protection and advocacy for people with disabilities.

The organization states "AB1, The Pre-Existing Condition Guaranteed Coverage Act, might protect individuals with pre-existing conditions from blatant discrimination but does not provide the additional protections of the Affordable Care Act (ACT). Protections that make healthcare affordable and provide coverage persons with disabilities need. The ACA provides premium and cost-sharing subsidies, essential health benefits, and lifetime and annual caps on coverage. If the ACA is invalidated and the AB 1 takes it's place as intended the deficiences of AB 1, would mean people with disablities would be unable to afford decent quality health insurance. Any plans people with disabilities might be able to afford would likely not cover benefits they need and currently receive under the ACA.

Read this DRW Tesimony brief for more detailed information regarding deficiences in AB1: Pre-Existing Condition Guaranteed Coverage Act.

2019-2020 Budget and Policy Priorities

The Wisconsin Aging Advocacy Network is a collaborative group of individuals and associations working with and for Wisconsin's older adults to shape public policy to improve their quality of life.

Direct Care Workforce Support
To address workforce shortages in home and residential service settings and help agencies/providers stay in business so older adults and people with disabilities have quality options to receive care where they want and need it.
WAAN's Position: Increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for Personal Care Services, Family Care providers and residential services to direct additional resources to support increased wages for direct care workers. To further improve workforce recruitment and retention efforts create an affordable health insurance option to increase access to coverage for direct care workers, develop a community-based counterpart to the WisCaregiver Careers program and provide similar funding to support community-based workers.

Also see this Wisconsin is Facing a Caregiver Crisis link for information from other advocacy groups.

Elder Benefit Specialist Support
To avoid further reductions in services and meet the increased demands for access to these highly trained experts helping older persons with the extensive and complicated paperwork that is often required in benefit programs.
WAAN's Position: Provide an increase in state program funding to account
for significant increases in population growth, the increasing complexity of access to benefit programs, and growth in demand for services.

Family Caregiver Support - 2018 Family Caregiver Support Issue Brief
To support and recognize people caring for friends and family members as valued members of the care team and essential components of our health and long-term care systems.
WAAN's Position: Strengthen support for family caregivers by 1) passing the CARE Act; 2) creating a tax credit for family members spending personal resources to care for a loved one; 3) expanding dementia care specialist services statewide - DCS Fact Sheet; and 4) providing working caregivers access to paid family and medical leave.

Healthy Aging Grants - 2018 Healthy Aging Issue Brief
To support researched and proven programs that improve health, reduce costs, and prevent or delay the need for long-term care.
WAAN's Position: Provide an $870,000 budget appropriation each year for healthy aging grants to counties/tribes, YMCAs and other community-based organizations for proven programs and to support a statewide clearinghouse and support center.

Long Term Care Investment Savings Plan - 2018 LTC Investment Fund Issue Brief
To help adults of all ages better plan and prepare for future long-term care expenses
WAAN's Position: Develop a state tax-advantaged long-term care investment savings plan.

Social Isolation & Loneliness Study - 2018 Social Isolation Issue Brief
To investigate the full impact of social isolation in older adults and to seek out solutions to address this widespread and emerging concern.
WAAN's Position: Form a Joint Assembly and Senate Committee/Task Force to study the issue of social isolation and loneliness and create policy solutions to improve the well-being of isolated older adults and reduce the cost of associated health care.

Transportation Support - 2018 Transportation Issue Brief
To provide reliable, accessible, affordable transportation to help people stay independent
WAAN's Position: Improve transportation services by 1) including a 10% increase in transit and specialized transportation funding to counties and tribes and ongoing increases of at least 3.5% annually to account for accelerating poplution growth; 2) incentivizing coordination among local and state transportation systems; and 3) introducing legislation to clarify the insurance requirements of volunteer drivers and ensure protections under the Good Samaritan Law.

Wisconsin is Facing a Caregiver Crisis - That Must be Addressed

The above organizations released an educational piece concerning the Caregiver Crisis in Wisconsin. There are not enough caregivers to meet the need for persons who need care.

In 2016 Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations survey 85% of the more than 500 respondents said they canno find enough direct care workers to meet their daily needs. This means that persons can't get help to do simple tasks we take for granted like getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, making meals, eating, etc. Imagine what their day is like without this help.

Go to this Wisconsin is Facing a Caregiver Crisis link to read more.

Facts about How the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Impacts Medicare Beneficiaries
& What Beneficiaries Could Lose if it's Changed

The ADRC has compiled a fact sheet (click the link here or in the title above to read it) to help you understand what changes could mean to persons on Medicare (beneficiaries).

Read below for information that other aging network organizations have put together that would also be helpful to you.

MISSION: The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives.

The Medicare Rights Center has issues a series of "Issue Briefs" that discuss the debates regarding health care and Medicare and how the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) interacts with and supports the Medicare program.

Medicare Rights Blog: Kaiser Foundation Issue Brief Provides Clarity About Medicare's Financial Outlook. Lots of information here about Medicare's financial outlook and a side by side comparison of Affordable Care Act repeal plans and how they may impact Medicare.

This Medicare Rights Center Issue Briefs link will take you to their website to read these briefs and learn more. They update them regularly.

NCOA Straight Talk for Seniors

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a nonprofit organization that for more than 65 years has made improving the lives of older adults their passion and mission.

Advocacy is a big part of their mission. With a new Administration and Congress expressing interest in changing policies important to seniors the organization has developed a website to help older Americans, their families, and professionals stay on top of issues involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, Medicare, and the Older Americans Act (OAA).

It is a great source to help you stay informed so that you can express your wants and needs to your elected representative. Go to this link to learn more:

AARP Real Possibilities

Special AARP Report Why Medicare Matters is in response to the legislatures proposals to make changes to Medicare and the many members writing to AARP worried about what might happen to Medicare the health care program they depend on.

Robert Love, AARP Bulletin editor in chief states, "At AARP, we continue to believe passionately in this program, which has allowed our citizens to age with dignity. In this special report, we detail what the state of Medicare is today and provide what you need to know about the upcoming debate in Washington over the nation's most important health care program." It has valuable information to help you talk to your representative about how important Medicare is to you.

Other Advocacy Groups and Information


  • AARP
    Advocacy page from AARP website. Up to date news and articles of interest to seniors. Links to federal and individual state issues and on-line tools for you to use to let your legislator know how you feel.

  • Administration on Aging
    Federal agency whose mission is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of home and community-based services that helps elderly individuals maintain their health and independence in their homes and communities. News and information about elder rights, health and prevention, home and community-based long-term care and much more.

  • Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups CWAG
    The Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups CWAG is a non-profit, nonpartisan state-wide membership organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people of all ages through: intergenerational understanding and leadership development, public education, legal and legislative advocacy and public policy development.

  • N4a Advocacy in Action Center
    Advocates for services and resources for older adults and persons with disabilities. Information on issues, legislation, position papers and ideas. Topics include Older American's Act Reauthorization, enhancing the health and well being of older Americans, and livable communities.

Disability & Health

  • Disability Rights Wisconsin DRW
    A private non-profit organization that helps disabled persons of all ages. DRW helps people across Wisconsin gain access to services and opportunities through its advocacy and legal expertise.

  • Disability*Gov
    Information network of disability-related programs, services, laws and benefits. Connections resources from federal, state and local government agencies, educational institutions and non-profit organizations. New resources are added daily across 10 main subject areas – benefits, civil rights, community life, education, emergency preparedness, employment, health, housing, technology and transportation.

  • Family Voices of Wisconsin
    Family Voices of Wisconsin is a state-wide network of families who have children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities and those who work on their behalf. Provides information, training and leadership opportunities. Works to inform and educate health care providers and local, state and national policy makers and administrators about issues.

  • Information & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
    Listing: Organizations that assist persons with disabilities and their families in finding services, assistive technology, and support groups in addition to providing education and advocacy on disability related issues and so much more.

  • Kaiser Family Foundation Medicare & Medicaid Advocacy
    Non-profit foundation provides policy analysis and research on health issues. News and information about health policy and develops and runs public information campaigns.

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI Brown County Wisconsin
    National organization with local chapters, there is one in Brown County, WI. Provides education, information, advocacy and more. Keep up to date with legislative issues, suscribe to the NAMI Advocacy magazine.

  • Office of Disability Employment Policy Federal
    The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides national leadership on disability employment. Information for employers, employees and job seekers. Advocates for employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

  • Waisman Center
    The Waisman Center provides clinical care through 12 specialty clinics across the state through a collaborative partnership with the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic systems. The center provides full, detailed early assessments and evaluations of children with developmental disabilities. In addition, the Waisman Center conducts research, has training opportunities for students and the surrounding communities, services for individuals and families of those with developmental disabilities, and outreach into the community.

  • WI Family Assistance Center for Education Training and Support WIFACETS

  • Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities
    Advocates on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities, foster welcoming and inclusive communities and improve the disability services system.

  • Wisconsin Council on Physical Disabilities
    A state council created to make recommendations to state agencies on legislation, promote public awareness of and barriers to persons with disabilities and encourage development of programs and policies that prevent physical disabilities. The website provides links to citizen advocacy, civil rights and disability specific resources and services providers.

General Issues

  • Wisconsin Eye
    State-of-the-art robotic cameras in the Capitol produce gavel-to-gavel, unedited coverage of state proceedings, both live and archived video.

  • League of Women Voters WI
    A nonpartisan organization working to encourage active and informed participation in government. Information on and position papers on federal, state and local issues.

  • United States House of Representatives
    Official site of the US House of Representatives. Historical and visitor information. Current session schedule, floor proceedings, votes, bills and reports.

  • United States Senate
    Offical site of the United States Senate. History of the senate and current session information. Vistor information for those planning a visit to Washington DC.

  • Glossary of Political Economy Terms
    Ever wonder what the difference is between the National Debt and the Deficit? What about an Appropriation and a Bill? This online glossary is easy to use and will help you understand what you read and hear in the media and from politicians and friends.
    The online edition of A Glossary of Political Economy Terms by Dr. Paul M. Johnson of Auburn University.

Long Term Care

  • Long Term Care Ombudsman
    The Long Term Care ombudsman responds to complaints and problems of residents or recipients of long term care, such as care in nursing homes, community-based residential facilities, and services of the Community Options Program and managed long-term care programs. They work with all parties involved to investigate and look for solutions to problems.
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