Madison- Gov. Walker today announced he was rejecting enhanced federal financing that would have closed a gap in BadgerCare.  Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) released the following joint statement in response to Walker’s announcement.

Said Richards: “Gov. Walker said no to a good deal today, plain and simple.  What he outlined isn’t some type of hybrid approach or middle ground.  It’s a bad deal for Wisconsin families and it’s a bad deal for Wisconsin taxpayers.  Funding is already guaranteed through the Affordable Care Act that would allow us to extend BadgerCare to as many as 175,000 people and save state taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in the next budget.  By turning down this good deal, Walker is costing taxpayers $66 million in the next three years, leaving $4.4 billion in federal funding on the table and saying no to 10,500 new jobs.  The Legislature - Democrats and Republicans - have to band together to pass the Strengthen BadgerCare Act to do the right thing Gov. Walker refused to do.”

Said Erpenbach: “I’m not sure what Gov. Walker is trying to prove here.  We know this federal money would have helped to create jobs, stimulate our state economy and give people the security of knowing they have health care coverage.  Tonight, we know few details about what the Governor intends to do, other than put politics ahead of the people of our state and deny them the security that Gov. Walker has in his taxpayer funded insurance.  And now Wisconsin taxpayers will be paying for the people of Arizona, Ohio and elsewhere to have the coverage they deserve.”

Richards and Erpenbach are lead authors of the Strengthen BadgerCare Act, which would capitalize on financing available through the Affordable Care Act to provide coverage to people now left out of BadgerCare.  According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, their plan could potentially extend BadgerCare coverage to up to 175,000 people, save the state $66 million in the first three years and bring an additional $4.4 billion in federal health care funds to Wisconsin though June 2020.