In 2002, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle created Senior Care, a state run program that provides medication coverage for seniors. The program is very popular due to its user-friendly structure and much lower costs. Seniors enrolled in the program pay a $30 annual enrollment fee and a small copay for the medication - $5 for generics and $15 for brand name drugs. Better yet, Senior Care does not have the gap in coverage that most Medicare Part D plans do.
In 2011, Scott Walker tried to eliminate the program. This caused such an uproar among seniors that even Walker's Republican allies in the state legislature shot down Walker's plan to kill the program.
Last week, when Walker presented his budget, he made no mention of Senior Care, but lo and behold, he did include a massive cut to the program and wants to force seniors unto the more expensive programs offered by private insurance companies:
Democrats Wednesday blasted Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to push eligible recipients of the state's popular SeniorCare prescription drug plan into alternate federal coverage.
It wasn't immediately clear Wednesday how many of the 85,000 SeniorCare members across Wisconsin would have to start getting their prescriptions filled through the potentially more expensive federal Medicare Part D benefit.
The state would save $15 million from the change over the next two years, but the full impact of the cut would be nearly $100 million, since to provide its services SeniorCare also draws on drug company discounts and rebates — givebacks that they provide in the Medicare program — as well as fees and co-payments from patients.
While Walker is trying to spin it as no loss for Wisconsin seniors - he claims that it's just making the feds pay for it - the damage would be all too real for the elderly:
"They talk about going from steak to hamburger, but at this age most of us are already at hamburger and we're looking at going without," said 73-year-old Judith Joslin-Crary.
For Joslin-Crary and her husband Richard Crary, 86, of Beloit, losing funding from SeniorCare could mean making significant cuts or dialing back on doses of their prescriptions to manage.
One month's coverage through a private insurance company often costs more than the annual feel for Senior Care.
At least this shows that Walker isn't an ageist. He's willing to screw over anyone, no matter what stage of life they are in.