Democrats push Gov. Walker to accept Medicaid expansion - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Democrats push Gov. Walker to accept Medicaid expansion

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MADISON (WKOW) -- State Democrats are putting a full court press on Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) to accept the Medicaid expansion available to states under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and several other Democratic legislators presented their "Strengthen BadgerCare" bill Tuesday morning.

They were joined by a number Milwaukee residents who delivered 3,000 petitions to the Governor's office, asking him to accept the Medicaid expansion.

Democrats say it would allow 175,000 people to obtain health insurance through BadgerCare, the state's low-income insurance program.

"For the Governor to say no, for whatever reason he might come up with is wrong.  There's absolutely no compassion there, but more importantly if you want to look at it as a dollar and sense type of thing, the money will go to other states," said Sen. Erpenbach.

But the Governor's office has expressed caution about accepting the expansion, as have Republican legislators.

"While its an interesting concept, this is not just....'hey, it may be a good idea for a press release today,'" said Rep. Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford), the Assembly Majority Leader.  "We want to actually make sure taxpayers are protected for tomorrow."

Republicans are concerned the federal money promised as part of the Medicaid expansion may dry up in a few years, leaving Wisconsin to foot the bill.

The Governor plans to announce his decision on the Medicaid expansion closer to his budget address on February 20th.

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