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Some Wisconsinites rally in downtown Chippewa Falls for BadgerCare expansion

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CHIPPEWA FALLS (WQOW) - Members of Citizen Action Wisconsin met outside the Chippewa County Courthouse Wednesday to ask members of the state Joint Finance Committee to keep the BadgerCare expansion in the state budget.

Governor Tony Evers' proposed budget includes expanding BadgerCare access to 90,000 more Wisconsinites, but Republican lawmakers who sit on the Joint Finance Committee have rejected expansions like this before and may do so again.

Rep. Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) spoke at Wednesday's event, saying Wisconsin is one of 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid. She said if they did so, it would bring in a billion federal dollars over the next two years. She then asked the committee to keep the expansion in the budget, saying it's the "right thing to do."

"If the last year has taught us anything about public health it's that what happens to one person impacts us all," Emerson said. "Health care is not a privilege or at least it shouldn't be. Health care shouldn't be tied to your work situation. We need to do better for Wisconsinites."

Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls), who is a member of the Joint Finance Committee, was not available for comment, but a spokesperson from her office said she is against the BadgerCare expansion.