County supervisors ask for waiver for more Medicaid funds - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: County supervisors request waiver for more Medicaid funds

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A group of county supervisors from across Wisconsin is asking the state to help them get some extra Medicaid funding.

County supervisors from 20 counties have written a letter calling on the state Department of Health Services (DHS) to serve as a pass through for enhanced federal Medicaid funds for individual counties. Leaders are asking for a waiver, similar to one approved in Ohio earlier this year, to send federal Medicaid funds to the county level for low income residents.

In February, Gov. Scott Walker rejected the federal expansion of Medicaid funding in Wisconsin, instead choosing his own plan he says offers more state funding for BadgerCare and makes more childless adults eligible for coverage.

Dane County Supervisor Melissa Sargent says the county board, along with 12 others in the state, have already passed a resolution asking the state to apply for a waiver to allow individual counties to still get some of the funding made possible by the Affordable Care Act.

"This would just be taking that same formula that counties are already using, and using it for the healthcare expansion so that we can continue covering our most vulnerable people within our state," says Sargent. "We cannot afford to leave any stone unturned."

Sargent says without the expansion, 5,000 people who are currently on BadgerCare in Dane County would lose it. With the expansion, she estimates those people would stay on BadgerCare and at least that many more uninsured would also be covered.

Governor Walker says it's unlikely this plan would be possible, and maintains his concern that the federal government wouldn't hold up to their funding promises in the future.

"In terms of those who want to go different routes, certainly those are things they can look at, but I think in the end, part of the reason why we did what we did with state resources is we just don't anticipate the federal government, right now, who can't fulfill its current commitments," says Walker.

DHS released a written statement Tuesday, saying they haven't yet received the letter, but Secretary Kitty Rhoades says the department's focus right now is not on debating the policy decisions that are now law.

"We have an aggressive timeline in place to implement the Governor's plan. Our priority is on ensuring that the entities who are assisting Wisconsin individuals and families enroll in the appropriate public or private health care coverage are prepared to do so," Rhoades says in the statement. "Our focus will be spent on forming partnerships across the state and providing as much information as possible to our stakeholders and Medicaid members about the upcoming changes. We hope that the counties who signed onto this letter and Citizen Action of Wisconsin will join us and many other advocacy groups and counties in this endeavor as we have a shared goal of ensuring that Wisconsinites have access to health care coverage."

DHS is currently accepting public comment for a "demonstration project" waiver request to change BadgerCare in the state budget.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A group of county supervisors from across Wisconsin are calling for a way to get some extra Medicaid funding.

Supervisors from Dane, La Crosse, Brown and Eau Claire counties have written a letter calling on the state Department of Health Services (DHS) to serve as a pass through for enhanced federal Medicaid funds for individual counties.

Leaders are asking for a waiver, similar to one approved in Ohio earlier this year, to send federal Medicaid funds to the county level for low income residents.

In February, Gov. Scott Walker rejected the federal expansion of Medicaid funding in Wisconsin.

DHS is currently accepting public comment for a "demonstration project" waiver request to change BadgerCare in the state budget.

Tonight on 27 News at 5 & 6, county leaders will talk about their request.

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