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Gov. Walker calls to expand BadgerCare and HIRSP coverage

Can the state afford to extend coverage for 92,000 people through March 31st?
MADISON, Wis. (WFRV)--As problems with the ACA website continue, 92,000 people in Wisconsin could be without insurance come January 1st, but Governor Scott Walker is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We’re going to take decisive action to make sure the people of this state do not fall through the cracks,” Walker said.

At a press conference in Madison Thursday afternoon, Walker called for lawmakers to hold a special legislative session to pass a bill that would extend coverage for thousands.

The bill would extend BadgerCare for people losing their coverage through March 31st.

The Governor also wants to keep all HIRSP plans in tact—which is a high risk group—through the end of March as well.

Another change—Governor Walker wants subsidies to be applied to all insurance plans.

But in order to get this passed, the governor wants lawmakers to put their differences aside.

“For us it’s more important to set politics aside and disagreements aside and instead insure nobody in this state that needs access to health care falls through the cracks
and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” he said.

So how exactly will the state be able to pay for the extended coverage?

Dan Schwartzer, a Deputy with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, said “There would be no additional cost through GPR to leave everything as it was prior to January 1st and extend it for 90 more days.”

He also said that HIRSP has a $14 million surplus.

Some local Democrats feel this wouldn’t be a problem if Walker had originally accepted federal aid.

“The height of arrogance here.  His ideology refused to accept our money to fund BadgerCare enhancements and we wouldn’t have had this problem,” said Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay.

Local Republicans are behind the Governor. Senator Rob Cowles, R- Green Bay, said The disastrous roll-out of Obamacare has put health coverage for thousands of Wisconsinites at risk, and we may need to take action at the state level to clean up the mess made by President Obama.”

Walker hopes legislators will pass the bill quickly.


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