MADISON (WKOW) -- The State Assembly approved Gov. Scott Walker's request to delay changes to the state's Medicaid insurance program on Monday, known as BadgerCare.
That means about 77,000 people living just above the poverty line will be able to stay covered by the state health insurance program for another three months.
But it also means another 83,000 people, who make even less money, will have to wait that same period of time to get their BadgerCare benefits.
Republicans say they had no choice but to call a special session to delay their original BadgerCare transition plans, because of the continuing problems with healthcare.gov. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) says those issues will keep most of those 77,000 people from obtaining private health insurance by the end of the year.
"A promise was made that most people could sign up by November 30th on website. That promise has primarily been broken. We know that in Wisconsin, only about 3,000 people have been able to sign on up the private insurance exchanges," said Rep Vos.
But Democrats say GOP lawmakers are compounding that failure, because their bill also delays 83,000 childless adults, who are living below the federal poverty level from receiving BadgerCare benefits beginning Jan. 1st.
That was part of the original plan passed by Republicans earlier this year.
"Promises made, promises kept Mr. Speaker? You made a promise, the Governor made a promise and you are looking to break it today," said Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), the Assembly Minority Leader.
The Democrats proposed ill-fated amendments to the bill that would have allowed the state to either permanently, or temporarily accept federal Medicaid dollars so those 83,000 people wouldn't have to wait for coverage until April 1st.
"And for whatever reason, you won't do it. Its inexplicable, its incomprehensible. And your constituents, I can guarantee you, don't understand it either," said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison).
"I think that would be more confusing to the people of Wisconsin than simply doing what we're doing by simply pausing," said Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).
Several Republican lawmakers also pointed out today, it was Democrats who capped BadgerCare enrollment for childless adults in 2009.
But Rep. Barca said that was because the recession cost the state millions of dollars in revenue.
This bill now moves on to the Senate, which will take it up December 19th.
MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin State Assembly passed a bill to delay the transition of 77,000 people, who are just above the federal poverty level, off of BadgerCare and into the federal health insurance exchange until April 1st.
But the bill, which passed by a vote of 64-32, will also delay 83,000 childless adults who are below the federal poverty level from enrolling in BadgerCare for an extra three months.
Those people were originally supposed to be able to enroll on January 1st.
Democrats introduced amendments that would have allowed the state to accept a permanent or temporary expansion of federal Medicaid dollars to allow those 83,000 people to still enroll in BadgerCare by January 1st, but Republicans defeated all of them.
Republicans said accepting the money permanently wouldn't be good for the taxpayers of Wisconsin and a temporary acceptance would only create more confusion. Several GOP lawmakers also pointed out that it was Democrats who originally capped enrollment for childless adults in 2009.
Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have more on this story on 27 News at 5 and 6.
MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin State Assembly will vote to a delay affecting health insurance coverage of more than 150,000 Medicaid recipients.
Governor Scott Walker is proposing to give 77,000 BadgerCare Plus Medicaid recipients living above the poverty line an extra three months to receive the coverage before they are removed from the program. Walker says the extra time, until April, is needed because of problems with the federal health insurance online exchange.
To pay for keeping that coverage in place for three months, Walker is also calling for delaying a start in Medicaid coverage for 83,000 childless adults. They were slated to start being covered in January, but that would be pushed back to April in the bill the Assembly is to vote on Wednesday.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WKOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Anna Engelhart at 608-661-2767. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.