In my previous post dealing with how universal health care will make Wisconsin a magnet for the nation\’s sick, I made a quick point that actually deserves more attention. As it turns out, people may not even need to move here to have Wisconsin taxpayers foot the bill for their health problems.
Under the \”Healthy Wisconsin\” bill, an individual is eligible for full benefits immediately if they are \”gainfully employed\” in the state. Once one person is \”gainfully employed\” (as defined by the Healthy Wisconsin plan\’s board), \”the person and the members of the person’s immediate family are eligible to participate in the plan.\”
But wait – while there\’s a catch. The bill requires an individual to live in the state for 12 months and have a \”substantial presence\” in Wisconsin (the time limit requirement would be legally questionable in court). However, once they\’re \”gainfully employed in this state,\” those requirements disappear. So what is \”gainfully employed\” in Wisconsin? If someone lives in Arkansas but owns businesses in Wisconsin, are they gainfully employed in this state? Is an independent contractor who lives in Colorado but contracts with Wisconsin business gainfully employed in Wisconsin? Apparently, the board would have to decide.
What is clear, however, is that once a single individual in a family is eligible, everyone in that person\’s immediate family is immediately eligible. And there are no residency requirements for family members. (I have verified this with legislative attorneys.)
As a result, a father of eight in Georgia could move to Wisconsin, get a job at a hot dog stand, and his wife and all of his children would immediately be eligible for taxpayer funded health care, paid for by Wisconsin residents. And the family wouldn\’t have to move an inch. For any family in America facing expensive care for a child afflicted with autism or multiple sclerosis, their prayers would be answered just by having one immediate family member qualify in Wisconsin.
Anyone who thinks this isn\’t incentive enough for people in South Carolina or Indiana to take advantage of this program are willfully deceiving themselves. As I previously mentioned, the health care crisis for people not already on Medicaid-based programs isn\’t a Wisconsin problem – it\’s a national problem. In fact, Wisconsin\’s MA program, Badgercare, even has a residency requirement tougher than Healthy Wisconsin.
As a result, it makes sense that the other 49 states would beg Wisconsin to enact the program – it would alleviate them of all the health care costs they\’re currently paying for their sickest individuals. Suddenly, Mississippi\’s budget would look a lot better when we\’re paying for their citizens\’ health care.