Written by B.C. Kowalski, Stevens Point Journal
STEVENS POINT – Voters in Portage County overwhelmingly said they support expanding BadgerCare.
In Portage County 20,636 voters said they thought the state should accept federal funds to fund the state subsidized health care program with all 47 precincts reporting; 8,088 said they didn't support accepting the federal money.
The Portage County Board in August approved putting the advisory question on the ballot. The question read: "Shall the next state Legislature accept all available federal funds for BadgerCare to ensure that thousands of Wisconsin citizens have access to quality and affordable health coverage?"
Ballots in 20 counties asked voters similar questions. Gov. Scott Walker during his February 2013 budget address said that he wasn't going to accept $200 million in federal funding to expand the BadgerCare program. BadgerCare is a state-subsidized health care coverage provider for low-income residents.
More than 87,000 residents were ineligible for the subsidized health care program as a result of Walker's decision.
During Tuesday's election, more than 2,700,000 residents voted on a version of the BadgerCare question.
Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) championed the measure. She said accepting the funds will not only save money in emergency room expenses but will make sure money that Wisconsin taxpayers paid into the federal government will be used in Wisconsin.
Shall the next State Legislature accept all available federal funds for BadgerCare to ensure that thousands of Wisconsin citizens have access to quality and affordable health coverage?
Yes: 20,636 votes
No: 8,088 votes
* 41 of 47 precincts tabulated