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Group warns of business tax hike if Wisconsin rejects federal funding for BadgerCare


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A health care advocate says Wisconsin businesses would pay $120 million more in federal taxes if Governor Scott Walker says no to taking federal funds to expand BadgerCare.

Robert Kraig of Citizen Action says Wisconsin businesses would get a large tax hike if the state turns down federal money to expand Medicaid – which BadgerCare falls under.

The Obama health reform law requires companies with more than 50 employees to pay a tax penalty for every worker who gets care under an insurance exchange. But advocates say the penalty would not apply to employees who end up in BadgerCare, a state Medicaid program for the working poor.

Governor Walker is expected to announce next month whether the state should accept $12 billion over the next decade to help expand Medicaid. The decision is expected to be included in the massive state budget that the Republican Walker will submit to the Legislature.

State Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith recently told Congress that Medicaid needs major reforms to stay viable. Without them, Smith says states cannot expand their programs – and they’d pay more than what the Obama package would save.