WI county officials seek financial relief for unwed fathers through halt to pre-2020 Medicaid repayments
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  • Dane County officials aim to cease the practice of making unwed fathers repay Medicaid for their children’s birth costs for cases before 2020.
  • The county has already ended this policy for births occurring after 2020.
  • In 2020, Dane County collected $2.2 million in repayments, up from $1.2 million in 2019, partly due to intercepting COVID-19 pandemic stimulus checks and unemployment bonuses.

Dane County officials are looking to stop making unwed fathers repay Medicaid for the cost of their children’s births in cases before 2020.

The county already ended the policy for births after 2020, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The county budget that passed in November calls for asking the state to drop cases from prior to 2020. That could lead to expunging 3,000 cases, according to the county.

EXPANSION OF MEDICAID BENEFITS FOR NEW MOMS GAINING SUPPORT IN SOME REPUBLICAN STATES

Dane County collected $2.2 million in repayments in 2020, up from $1.2 million in 2019 as the county intercepted COVID-19 pandemic stimulus checks and unemployment bonuses, according to ABC for Health, a Madison-based nonprofit law firm that helps people find health care.

The Wisconsin Capitol

The Wisconsin State Capitol Building is seen in Madison, Wisconsin. Dane County officials are looking to stop making unwed fathers repay Medicaid for the cost of their children’s births in cases before 2020. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Advocates who want officials to stop chasing money from unwed fathers say the stress on parents can lead to birth problems, particularly in Black and Indigenous families. Others argue the repayments help keep Medicaid solvent and help parents learn responsibility.

PRO-LIFE WISCONSIN LEGISLATORS EYE MEDICAID EXPANSION FOR NEW MOMS

About half of Wisconsin’s nearly 60,000 annual births are covered by Medicaid, a joint state-federal health care program. Two-thirds of those births occurred among unmarried people in 2020, according to a report last year from ABC for Health.

Milwaukee County’s 2024 budget calls for ending birth cost recovery as well. That spending plan passed in November.

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