MacIver News Service | December 19, 2013[Madison, Wisc…] The Senate passed a special session Bill on Thursday that will delay the reforms to BadgerCare put in place by the 2013-15 state budget.
The state budget included a proposal that would transition about 72,000 individuals off of BadgerCare on to the Obamacare exchange. However, due to the failure of the Obamacare launch, many of these individuals have not been able to purchase insurance.
Governor Scott Walker called for a special session in November to delay the transition until April 1st to give Wisconsinites more time to sign up on HealthCare.gov.
Individuals under the poverty level that are currently on the waiting list will also have to wait until April 1st to be eligible for BadgerCare.
Republicans said that Wisconsin had a better idea than the federal government of what was needed in the state.
“When the affordable healthcare act was voted through in Congress and signed by President Obama, I feel like they kind of yanked the rug out from under us in Wisconsin,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said in a floor speech. “That this is not what we needed. We needed them to leave us alone; not to come in and say listen Wisconsin, listen Wisconsin legislature – we got a better way of doing this. I don’t buy into that at all.”
Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) blamed Walker for the need to call a special session.
“We should make sure we do the full [Medicaid] expansion so that we don’t have to keep coming back and doing patchwork pieces based off of political responses by our governor – whatever he sees fit,” Larson said on the floor.
The Senate passed the bill on an 18-12 vote and the bill will now head to Walker for his signature. The Governor is expected to sign the bill on Friday.