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Walker wants Feds to appropriate money before committing to Badgercare expansion

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Governor Scott Walker at a Wausau press conference.
Governor Scott Walker at a Wausau press conference.
1-31-13 Press Conference aud... (Download MP3)

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  Several people, including most Democrats, say Wisconsin faces consequences if Governor Scott Walker rejects about 12-billion federal dollars over ten years to expand Badgercare. Walker is still undecided on that issue.

During an appearance in Wausau Thursday, State Representative Mandy Wright urged Walker to accept the federal dollars to help the program and also increase jobs.  "From what I understand, that could bring thousands of medical jobs to central Wisconsin, and we have the technical colleges, we have the UW system, we have a lot of opportunities to train that workforce and get people to work.”

Walker responded by saying the federal government may want Wisconsin to take the money, but there is still no guarantee the federal money is really there.  "They're not fully appropriated in Congress right now.  Having been in Washington last week, there's some real concerns that those funds aren't in the budget."  The Governor added, "It's one thing for them to say they're going to do it.  It's another thing for them to actually appropriate the money.  That's one of our big concerns right now, is that all of the promises in the world don't pay the bills.  They don't pay the bills at the state, and they certainly don't pay the bills to the providers if that funding is not there."Walker’s critics say turning down the money under the Affordable Health Care Act will cost Wisconsin around 495 million extra dollars for uncompensated care, cut mental health and substance abuse programs, and force businesses to pay about 120 million dollars in additional taxes for health care costs.

The Governor doesn’t want to have Wisconsin paying for something the federal government promised money for and couldn’t deliver on. He says right now, we don’t even know if Congress will appropriate the money for our existing level of Medicaid funding.

Walker expects to make a final decision before announcing his biennial budget proposal later this month.

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