In 2018, Gov. Tony Evers campaigned on a promise to bolster defunded preventive health programs.
In his 2019-'21 budget, Evers proposed spending nearly $28 million to expand access to women's health care and reduce infant mortality rates.
Republicans opposed Evers' $28 million plan in part because it would have allowed Planned Parenthood to receive federal funding for family planning services. Republicans also rejected the governor's efforts to expand Medicaid and access $1.6 billion in federal funding.
They did keep the governor's initiative to increase funding for the Well Woman Program, which provides uninsured and underinsured women between 45 to 65 with breast and cervical cancer screening services. Additionally, Republicans kept a minority health grant.
But, much of Evers' initiatives on women's health were cut. During the last budget cycle, we rated the promise Stalled.
In his 2021-23 budget, Evers proposed $30 million in a "Healthy Women, Healthy Babies" Initiative which includes -- in addition to the increase for the Women's Health Block Grant and modifications -- the following:
Providing $1,015,200 in fiscal year 2022-'23 to cover doula services through Medicaid;
Expanding postpartum eligibility for women in the Medicaid program from 60 days to 12 months by providing $20,948,600 in fiscal year 2022-23;
Granting $3.5 million to organizations working to reduce disparities related maternal and infant mortality; and
Granting $4.5 million to Black woman-led and community serving organizations working to improve Black women's wellness.
"Women often face significant barriers to accessing and completing cancer screening and diagnostic services," said Evers' communications director Britt Cudaback. "The barriers may include lack of transportation, the woman's work schedule, and translation services. The Wisconsin Well Woman Program has been able to expand its patient navigation activities to help women overcome these barriers."
Cudaback said dozens of budget provisions are aimed at increasing access to healthcare, preventative healthcare programs and services.
Those provisions, among others, include initiatives to bolstering access to health insurance coverage through expanding BadgerCare and transitioning to a state-based marketplace.
The budget is now before the GOP-controlled Legislature, so time will tell how many of the initiatives survive.
For now we rate this promise In the Works.