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BadgerCare is a health-care cost-reimbursement program created by former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. It went into effect July 1, 1999, and was created to provide health-care coverage to Wisconsinites whose employers didn't provide it and who made too much money to be covered by Medicaid.

BadgerCare was targeted to cover at least 40,000 Wisconsinites, including 23,000 children, by the end of 1999.[1]

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, families qualify for BadgerCare if they make up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level, but not low enough to qualify for federal Medical Assistance.

File:020513 BadgerCare Press Con -49.jpg
BadgerCare Press Conference

The program was altered in 2008 to Badgercare+, a program that greatly expands the original scope of coverage. It is designed so that a great many, if not all, of the children have access to healthcare. It has also been approved to expand to cover childless adults with hopes of expanding to that level of coverage sometime in 2009.

Chris Abele, Chief Executive of Milwaukee County proposes a plan like the original plan Governor Thompson enacted in 1999. It would pool Milwaukee County's health care coverage with the state's, in order to provide a larger pool and thus the ability to demand a better price from the insurance companies.

Abele also suggests the state to offer more aid to local governments that also join this pool, thereby increasing the purchase power even more.[2] That idea is similar to programs in place in Washington[3] and Oregon[4] and one planned for Connecticut.[5]