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Supporters of expanding BadgerCare urges Gov. Walker to seek federal help


WAUSAU, WI (WTAQ) - Those who want BadgerCare expanded held a rally in Wausau Tuesday.

They urged Governor Scott Walker to seek an expansion of Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs under the Obama health care law.

Wisconsin Jobs Now organized the Wausau event. It says the state could get 211,000 people off BadgerCare’s waiting list, by taking $12 billion that Washington would offer.

But in mid-December, state Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith told Congress that the Medicaid expansion would cost Wisconsin more than it would get from Washington. Smith said it won’t provide enough extra reimbursements for those who would need to sign up for programs like BadgerCare Plus.

Smith also said funding reforms must be made before Wisconsin or any other state could expand its state and federally-funded Medicaid.

Still, the Walker administration has not said whether it would reject the chance to seek such an expansion. The decision is expected to be announced when the Republican Walker introduces his proposed state budget in about a month.

Marathon County Supervisor and former state lawmaker John Robinson told the rally that expanding BadgerCare should not be a partisan issue. He said Wisconsin has a rich tradition of supporting BadgerCare, noting that Republican Governor Tommy Thompson started it and Democrat Jim Doyle kept it going.