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Legislative Action Alert – Attend the Joint Committee on Finance’s Public Hearings!

Friday, March 29, 2019  
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Attend the Joint Committee on Finance’s public hearings and ask them to support WPHA/WALHDAB’s 2019-2021 priorities and expand Medicaid in the 2019-2021 biennial budget! 

The State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will be travelling the state to gain input from the public on the 2019-2021 state budget. We need you to attend those hearings and urge them to support our priorities and accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars in the 2019-2021 biennial budget! The Joint Committee on Finance’s public hearing schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, April 5, 10:00am @ Pontiac Convention Center, Janesville, WI
  •  Wednesday, April 10, 10:00am @ Oak Creek Community Center, Oak Creek, WI
  •  Monday, April 15, 10:00am @ University Center – Riverview Ballroom, UW – River Falls, River Falls, WI
  •  Wednesday, April 24, 10:00am @ University Union – Phoenix Rooms, UW – Green Bay, Green Bay, WI

At the Joint Committee on Finance public hearings, you can testify before the committee and speak to them about WPHA/WALHDAB’s 2019-2020 priorities. The Joint Committee on Finance is the legislative committee ultimately responsible for creating the state budget. 

If you plan on attending, please be sure to get there early, as you will be required to sign up to speak. Individuals testify in the order in which they sign up. You will likely be limited to approximately three minutes to speak. Be sure to identify yourself, let the committee know you’re a public health professional, and try to tie the priorities to personal stories as much as possible. This is an excellent opportunity to be a part of the budget process. 

Heading into the 2019-2020 legislative session, WPHA and WALHDAB decided to detail specific priorities and will actively engage in policy this legislative session that will focus on the four social determinants of health. Below are the four categories with a few corresponding proposals in the Governor’s budget, which we want the legislature to support.

  • Justice Reform
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Housing
  • Income Stability and Employment

Please see additional explanation of our priorities in the attached 2019-2020 Priorities document.

Additionally, WPHA and WALHDAB support efforts to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars. Medicaid expansion will provide funding to support prevention initiatives that address social determinants and will provide health care coverage to more than 82,000 residents living between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level. According to DHS, the proposal generates $324.5 million in savings which will be invested back into health initiatives focused on prevention. 

Accepting federal Medicaid Expansion dollars allows the state to invest in a wide variety of initiatives including the Healthy Women - Healthy Babies Initiative, Lead Poisoning Elimination, Dental Care, Community Health Benefits, and Tobacco Cessation.

An additional document will be forthcoming of how Medicaid Expansion and accepting the funds will help fund public health priorities.

Draft Script for Testimony

If you plan on attending, feel free to use the following outline as a guide in your testimony:

Hello, my name is _____________.

I am a WPHA/WALHDAB member. We are a statewide professional organization representing hundreds of public health professionals of all different sectors. I am also (professional role in public health).

I am here today to talk about how the budget can support health in a way that is cost effective and results in better quality of life for the people that live and work in Wisconsin.

The research shows that in order to be healthy we have to have good healthcare but also have the conditions that make health possible like employment, education, housing, and a safe environment.

WPHA and WALHDAB have prioritized the following four issues that we would like to see you consider in the budget as you develop your response to the governor's budget. (Talk about one with story)

We need to prioritize prevention in Wisconsin. We also know that we need new revenue to pay for prevention. Medicaid expansion will help pay for critical programs like (pick something that you can tell a local story about).

Thank you for the work you do for people in Wisconsin.

We hope you prioritize keeping people healthy and safe, rather than just responding once they are unhealthy and in trouble. We need that kind of urgent response but we also need to find a way to prevent these types of emergencies happening so regularly. Please let me know if you have questions or would like more information about public health.

If you are not able to attend, please contact your legislators, share the attached handouts, and urge them to support our priorities. To find out who your legislators are, please click here and type in your address in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you for your commitment to public health!

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