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Letter: Call now before thousands lose BadgerCare benefits

Gov. Scott Walker has rejected $4.4 billion in Medicaid funds from the federal government to expand the BadgerCare program as a part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

Accepting the federal funding would allow all estimated 150,000-175,000 people presently on the BadgerCare waiting list to have health insurance.

Now, not only will those thousands not be insured, but Walker intends to kick over 95,000 people (including 6,000 children) above the federal poverty level off BadgerCare.

Under Walker's new plan, BadgerCare will be available only to people at 100% of the federal poverty line, instead of the present 200% limit. This means, for instance, that a family of four with an income of more than $24,000 will no longer be eligible for BadgerCare.

Other Republican governors have accepted the expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act.

For example, New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie has said: "...expanding Medicaid by 104,000 citizens is the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health."

Dumping BadgerCare enrollees will create a huge tax drain on taxpayers who will ultimately have to foot the bill for more expensive emergency room visits by people left with no other alternative.

Walker's new policy also robs the state of thousands of new health care jobs enabled by the federal funding.

State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and Rep. Dean Knudson both sit on the Joint Finance Committee that is now deciding whether to enact Walker's cuts.

We need to call and e-mail them now. They can be reached respectively at: (715-232-1390) and (888-529-0030).

Working together, we still have the chance to save lives and livelihoods in Wisconsin if we act now.