Republicans say no changes to Walker medicaid cuts

Republicans say no changes to Walker medicaid cuts

By the Associated Press. CREATED Nov 10, 2011 - UPDATED: Nov 10, 2011

MADISON- Republicans in control of the Legislature's budget committee say no changes are planned to Gov. Scott Walker administration's proposal to cut roughly half a billion dollars from Medicaid programs.

Co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee said before a hearing on the plan Thursday that they were comfortable with the proposal, which they say will preserve BadgerCare programs without dramatically cutting benefits or forcing people off the plans.

The Joint Finance Committee heard from Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith, who defended a plan to implement cuts that would result in an estimated 65,000 people leaving the state's health programs for the poor. Smith stated, "We have taken a different strategy than what other states are taking and the typical approach." He went on to say, "What we are trying to do is truly bring Medicaid more into the modern era."

Opponents remain concerend about the impact of the potential changes, including the estimated 65,000 people who would leave or be turned away from the state's health programs for the poor.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the changes will results in about 65,000 people losing Medicaid eligibility. About 28,000 of them are people who have access to employer sponsored plans.

Once the plan is approved as expected by the budget committee, it will go to President Barack Obama's administration which must grant a waiver.