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County leaders urge feds to reject FamilyCare enrollment freeze


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Wisconsin county officials have asked the federal government to reject Governor Scott Walker’s enrollment freeze in FamilyCare.

The popular program offers a variety of health services designed to keep the elderly out of nursing homes, and disabled younger people out of institutions.

Medicaid pays 60 percent of the cost – and because of that, the Obama administration must agree to Walker’s freeze. The governor and other state Republicans pushed for the enrollment freeze to save $100 million over the next two years, to help close the state’s budget deficit.

Milwaukee County officials say they have a waiting list of 2,000 people in FamilyCare – and a freeze could raise that list by 150 people a month. County Executive Chris Abele says more people would be forced to use more expensive hospitalizations and nursing home care.

The Wisconsin County Human Services Association has also asked U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to block Walker’s request for an enrollment freeze.

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson says it might force counties to jack up their costs for serving the elderly and disabled.

State officials say they’re discussing the freeze with federal Medicaid officials. The governor had said in late June that the freeze could be dropped or modified later this year.