Wisconsin is feeling the impact of the national recession, as steep job loss has pushed many residents into poverty and resulted in the loss of health insurance coverage. These changes are particularly alarming considering they happened over a time period of just one year. Still, by many measures, Wisconsin’s economic situation is better than the national average.
Fortunately, the Recovery Act contained several changes in tax credits for low income families that softened the blow of the recession a little. However, those credits are scheduled to end at the close of the year and Congress will have to vote soon on whether to extend them.
Low‑income households have also been assisted by the growth of BadgerCare Plus as the recession eroded the job market and employer-sponsored health insurance. The growth of Badger Care Plus enrollment has picked up much of the slack in the insurance market, but that growth will cause significant fiscal challenges for the state in the next biennium.
It will take a concerted effort to meet the needs of struggling families in Wisconsin. Public services like health care, education, and economic support are especially important in times of economic crisis. To help Wisconsin families and communities back on the road to economic recovery, state and federal policymakers will need to employ a balanced approach to closing the budget deficit, while avoiding significant cuts to programs that help families hit hard by the national recession.
How the Recession Has Impacted Wisconsin Counties
WCCF analyzed and charted the relevant Census Bureau data for 23 Wisconsin counties, and found that Wisconsin residents are feeling the impact of the national recession, as steep job loss has pushed many residents into poverty and forced the loss of health insurance coverage. BadgerCare Plus has been critically important for families who have lost their jobs and their private health insurance during the recession (see pdf versions of Census data below).