- The U.S. House of Representatives voted today (Thursday May 4) to approve a bill to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “Obamacare”) with new legislation known as the American Health Care Act (ACHA). The measure was passed on a 217-213 vote.
Among other things, the ACHA would make profound changes to the state-federal partnership program known as Medicaid or Medical Assistance, including reducing by $880 billion over the next 10 years the amount of Medicaid dollars the federal government sends to states. These changes would significantly impact the ability of students with disabilities and students in poverty to receive critically necessary health services in public schools. The changes would require schools to compete for limited Medicaid funding, which would likely result in arbitrary caps on the amount of Medicaid reimbursements made to public schools.
Continue reading U.S. House Passes Obamacare Repeal Bill, Deep Cuts to Medicaid Will Impact Special Education
Last week, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) co-chairs removed 83 provisions identified as “non-fiscal” policy items from the governor’s budget bill. (See previous post).
However, a number of policy items with a significant impact on school boards and school districts remain in the bill. Here we highlight a few of them: Continue reading Several Significant K-12 Policy Items Remain in Budget Bill
In a hopeful sign, Gov. Scott Walker says he’s open to modifying his proposed requirement that districts be “Act 10 compliant” in order to receive additional per-pupil aid. That measure would require each school district to certify that its employees “will be required to pay at least 12 percent of all costs and payments associated with employee health care coverage plans in that year” to receive the increases.
The governor (pictured above with WASB president Terry McCloskey, Three Lakes) made those comments flanked by representatives of the WASB and the Southeast Wisconsin Schools Alliance as well as other school leaders and students at a press conference Monday at Waukesha South High School (see previous post). Continue reading Gov. Walker Open to Changing Proposed Act 10 Compliance Language in Budget
Ahead of today’s agency briefing on the DPI budget, the WASB sent a memo to Joint Finance Committee (JFC) members outlining our concerns about a provision in the governor’s proposed budget that requires each school district to certify that it is using the “tools” provided under Act 10 in order to receive the proposed increases of $200 and $204 in per pupil categorical aid under the budget bill.
Specifically, this provision requires each school district to certify to the DPI that “the employees of the district will be required to pay at least 12 percent of all costs and payments associated with employee health care coverage plans in that year” in order to receive the increased per pupil aid. Continue reading WASB Asks JFC to Remove Requirement to Certify “Act 10 Compliance” from Budget
Earlier this week, the board that oversees state worker health benefits—the Department of Employee Trust Funds’ Group Insurance Board (GIB)—postponed making a decision on whether and how to restructure the state group health insurance program. It will resume its discussion of options at its next meeting in January. Continue reading Board Overseeing State Employee Health Benefits Delays Decision on Self-Insurance
The Government Relations presentation at the Summer Leadership Institute focused on trends in school funding in our state, including providing a realistic look at what we see as some of the barriers to achieving stable, predictable increases in school funding.
That presentation was followed by table-top discussions among attendees using a set of structured questions designed to get members thinking about topics of conversation they could (and should) be having with legislative candidates and incumbents in their areas. Below, we summarize the most common comments from those discussions.
Continue reading WASB Summer Leadership Institute Attendees Share Concerns, Aspirations for Their Schools