Health Care Reform in Wisconsin


This part of the essay identifies the state, which is Wisconsin and the relevant healthcare related initiative that is under discussion.


This part of the essay examines the details of the healthcare reform which in this case is as a result of welfare reform. It also deals with the effects of the initiative.


This is an extremely brief part which makes a general statement that reflects the main message covered in the essay. It does not introduce new details.

Wisconsin is one of the states that have taken the bold though unpopular step of trying to limit the extent of welfare programs. In its program entitled Wisconsin Works, usually abbreviated as W-2, the state set out to reduce the number of people on welfare by giving them the opportunity to work. Besides affecting all the other areas of life that are depended on income, this program had a direct effect on the healthcare that the citizens of the state receive (Willis & Kliegman 1997, pp.25-27). The most affected members of the society are pregnant women and young children. Like in every other state, healthcare in America is a complicated area that needs extra care in either direct or indirect reform (Shi & Singh 2004.pp.4-5).

Based on this program of provision of work to those on welfare so as to stop the welfare program or make these people pay for what they make use of, the element of federal poverty line is being used to deny healthcare to pregnant women and children. Other grounds for denial of healthcare include the access to employer related health care arrangements for the working poor as well as defaulting in the payment of premiums by the working poor. In this last case of premium defaulting, the entire family cannot get access to healthcare if it is established that the expected premiums were not paid to the healthcare plan.

The above program may have been established and enacted with good intentions but its impact on the lives of children of Wisconsin is a concern. This is especially true for children of poor working families (Malloy,Willis & Kliegman 2000,pp.83-89). The case is worse for poor single parent families that suffer the curse of reduced income. What are the benefits of this plan to the citizens of Wisconsin? How does the state gain from this initiative? Have children and pregnant women gained from this initiative? These are some of the important questions that this brief essay will attempt to answer.

In terms of healthcare benefits emanating from the plan, families will definitely work hard and ensure that they are disciplined in healthcare spending so as to avoid the risk of getting access to healthcare services. The fear of access denial may lead to prompt premium payment and fiscal discipline that may ultimately lead to improved economic standing for the citizens and the state. The end result is that the enormous resources spent on welfare will be directed to the improvement of healthcare facilities within the state and this will ultimately improve the living standards of the people of Wisconsin. But is it as easy as it sounds?

The above story is the ideal. The reality is gloomy. Poverty is a problem that comes with many issues. The program cannot sufficiently meet the needs of the poor families and therefore the resources dedicated to health may not end up there leave alone being adequate. The end result is that families will fail to meet their premium obligations and if this means pregnant women and children as young as six years missing access, then the state is worse off that when it was catering for the medical needs of the poor. The case that emerges from this is that children of the working poor are punished by denial of access to healthcare (Budetti 1998, pp.541-542). In the long run, more young children cannot be protected and the death rate is bound to go up. The challenges faced by pregnant mothers will also continue to be a source of concern for the state as long Wisconsin Works program is running. The commitment to take care of our young children will have been broken in this manner (Newacheck, Stoddard, Hughes & Pearl 1998, pp.515-516).

In conclusion, Wisconsin works may be a product of good intentions but its impact especially on the lives of children and pregnant mothers is something everyone would want to avoid. It makes the access to healthcare by these two groups a nightmare.


Budetti, P. (1998). Health Insurance for Children: A Model For Incremental Health Reform? New England Journal of Medicine, (338, pp.541-542.

Malloy, M, Willis, E & Kliegman, R. (2000).Welfare Reform Consequences for Children: The Wisconsin Experience. Journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics, 106(6), 83. Web.

Newacheck P, Stoddard J, Hughes D & Pearl, M. (1998). Health Insurance and Access to Primary Care for Children. New England Journal of Medicine, 338, pp.513-519.

Shi, L. & Singh, D. A. (2004). Delivering Health Care in America – A Systems Approach.(3rd.ed.) San Francisco: Jones & Bartlett.

Willis, E & Kliegman, R. (1997).Wisconsin’s Reform Program and Its Potential Effects on the Health of Children. Journal Of Healthcare For The Poor And Undeserved, 8(1), 25-36. Web.