Madison, Wis. (Learfield) - Wisconsin’s massive health programs for poor and elderly will be audited, to see if almost seven-billion-dollars a year are being spent wisely. The state Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee voted today in favor of an audit of Medicaid – which is funded by both the state-and-federal governments. Majority Democrats refused to order such an audit during the past two years, saying there was no need. But Republican Governor Scott Walker said during his election campaign that he wanted to root out whatever fraud there might be in programs like Badger-Care-Plus. Today, Senate Republican Rob Cowles of Green Bay said about 20-percent of Wisconsinites get Medicaid benefits, so quote, “It’s obviously something huge that we need to get our arms around.” Assembly Democrat Jon Richards of Milwaukee voted in favor of the audit, but said it cannot be used as an excuse to cut needy residents from public care. Medicaid expenses have risen dramatically in the last couple years, as more Wisconsinites fell into the trap of the recession. Among other things, the audit will show how Wisconsin’s Medicaid program compares with other states – and how costs have been held down elsewhere. One state Medicaid program is already being audited – Family Care, designed to keep the elderly-and-disabled in their own homes. Results of that audit are due this spring.
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