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Wisconsin on the Right Track With Program That Gives Low Income Women Free Breast Cancer Screenings - But...

The state of Wisconsin has a program called the Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) that provides preventative health screening services to low-income women who are uninsured. The program has been around for nearly 20 years, and it's funded by the state and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's a good program and it's helping more than 70,000 Wisconsin women get breast and cervical cancer screenings. And it's going away. What?

Yes, the program as Wisconsin women know it is set to be restructured in a few months. The real problem here is that the program change is scheduled to occur on July 1, 2014, but no one, including women who need to schedule follow-up appointments, know who the new health care providers will be.

The reason for changing the program

Here are some of the reasons the state gave for the restructure. WWWP Director Gale Johnson stated, "We anticipate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding and the need for WWWP services will diminish in the future as women gain access to expanded health insurance coverage...as a result of the Affordable Care Act." Anticipate?? That means they don't know for sure. When questioned by Dawn Anderson, executive director of the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition, about the number of women who would not re-enroll in WWWP, no projections could be provided.

The bottom line

So, it appears that the state acted impetuously, assuming that most women would abandon them for Obamacare, and that funding from CDC would dry up. In fact, there is no proof of how many women will not re-enroll in the WWWP program, and the CDC, in fact, has funded the program until June of 2015 and actually increased funding in 2013.

The big question now seems to be, as presented so pointedly by Ms. Anderson,"Why the rush? Why the rush?"


For more details about the program, visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/WomensHealth/WWWP/

Funding and Grants For Women and Families: