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Wisconsin Hospital Assn. wants Gov. Walker to expand Medicaid


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Hospital Association says Governor Scott Walker should agree to expand Medicaid under the Obama health care reform act.

The U.S. Supreme Court gave states the option of expanding Medicaid to cover adults who not currently eligible for things like BadgerCare Plus.

The Republican Walker will announce his decision later this month, when he unveils his proposed state budget for the next two years.

Hospital Association president Steve Brenton said hospitals are looking for stability, especially in covering the most vulnerable persons. Brenton said the debate will have valid opinions on both sides but, “In this time of uncertainty, we cannot have fewer people with coverage, and more uncompensated care” – in which hospitals cover the tab for those who can’t afford to pay.

Walker’s health secretary Dennis Smith has said the math doesn’t add up – and despite increased federal funding, Smith has said it might cost Wisconsin more to take the government’s Medicaid offer.

Washington would cover the full expansion cost through 2016, and the federal share would eventually drop to 90 percent. Under the federal care act, Medicaid would be expanded to include low-income Wisconsin adults who no children under-19.