Shankland criticizes Republicans for long-term care changes in budget


By Larry Lee, WSAU Radio


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- As the state's Joint Finance Committee attempts to wrap up budget work, a central Wisconsin legislator claims Republicans have broken their promise to seniors and people with disabilities.


71st District Democrat Katrina Shankland says the GOP has, "ignored the voices of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities" by replacing Governor Scott Walker's long-term care changes with new changes, instead of removing the entire proposal and leaving Family Care and IRIS as they were. Shankland says the Joint Finance Committee's actions is, "selling out our most vulnerable to aid the Governor in his presidential ambitions."
The Assistant Minority Leader says Wisconsin has one of the best long-term care models in the nation, and agrees with the Wisconsin Long-Term Care Coalition, which said the JFC's changes are, "just the governor's proposal in sheep's clothing."
Several public hearings were held around the state in rec
ent months, and preserving Family Care, IRIS, and SeniorCare were the most common topics brought to legislators.
Joint Finance Committee co-chair John Nygren says their goal is to maintain services while implementing reforms to make the system sustainable. Republican Senator Leah Vukmir said their goal is to provide greater efficiencies, adding, "Integrating long-term care, primary care and acute care is the future for Wisconsin and the nation. Vukmir accused Democrats of scaring people with disabilities to get the attention of the media and advocacy groups. She says Republicans are not getting rid of the self-directed IRIS program, but they want to incorporate it into an integrated model to preserve it.