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Dems slam Gov. Walker for taking credit for ending Family Care enrollment cap

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) holds a news conference at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin February 25, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Darren Hauck
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) holds a news conference at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin February 25, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Darren Hauck

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Dozens of disabled people were at Governor Scott Walker’s side Monday, when he signed a bill in Milwaukee that ends the enrollment limit for Family Care.

But Democrats accused the Republican Walker of wrongly taking credit for saving the program.

They said Obama officials in Washington should be the ones taking the bows. That’s because federal Medicaid officials ordered last December that Wisconsin end the enrollment cap that Walker and GOP lawmakers approved in the state budget the previous summer.

The Republicans capped Family Care – the program that keeps the elderly and disabled out of nursing homes – at its current level of 43,000. But Medicaid, which pays for half of the costs, told Wisconsin to end the cap and sign up everyone who’s eligible.

Walker responded by coming up with $72 million in efficiencies to boost enrollment while holding the line on costs. State Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski said Walker taking credit was like, “the arsonist calling the fire department and looking for a reward afterward.”

The Legislature approved the ending of the enrollment cap last week. But they agreed to have the Joint Finance Committee approve any expansions of Family Care in the 15 counties which don’t offer it now.

Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Jon Richards said that’s a real concern. That’s because of the panel co-chairs, Assembly Republican Robin Vos, has been a critic of Family Care – and he voted against the bill ending the enrollment cap. 

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