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Walker opponents say partial-expansion of Medicaid not allowed under Obamacare law

Governor Walker signs education reform into law.
Governor Walker signs education reform into law.

MADISON (WSAU)  Governor Scott Walker is expected to tell a Wisconsin business audience this afternoon that he’ll support a limited expansion of Badger-Care and other Medicaid health programs. And he’ll do it without taking the federal money that’s being offered. But liberals said the Republican Walker needs to either support a full expansion of Medicaid or nothing at all, as part of the Obama health reform package. Under a full expansion, 175,000 childless adults would become eligible for Medicaid in Wisconsin, making less than 138-percent of the federal poverty level. But after some sketchy information was leaked out yesterday, Jon Peacock of the Wisconsin Council of Children-and-Families said he feared that Walker would move current Badger-Care-Plus recipients above the poverty line into the federal health exchange plans – thus reducing the numbers of people gaining Medicaid.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Walker would do some of that – but his plan would still provide a net increase of about 35,000 people into the state’s health programs. Walker confirmed yesterday that he wants to seek a middle path that’s not quote, “a black-and-white issue.” But Robert Kraig of the group Citizen Action said he doesn’t know of such a middle path in the Obama health law. Assembly Democrat Sandy Pasch of Shorewood said Walker will either make a “bold investment” in Badger-Care or he won’t.

Democrats have urged Walker to take the federal Medicaid expansion and the millions-of-federal dollars that come with it. But Republicans fear that Washington will turn off the funding spigot someday, leaving states to either find the money or drop coverage. G-O-P Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says Wisconsin could expand Medicaid later, after seeing how other states are faring. Vos says he wants the most flexibility possible.