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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

 6:47 PM 

Congressional Dems ask Walker to lift Family Care cap

Wisconsin's congressional Democrats sent a letter to Gov. Scott Walker today urging him to lift the cap on FamilyCare enrollment by the end of February, expressing frustration that no action has been taken.

Sen. Herb Kohl and Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Ron Kind and Gwen Moore told Walker in a letter that they were concerned with "rapidly rising" number of people the waiting list for the program.

"Until you sign a bill into law that repeals the enrollment cap, thousands of eligible older adults and disabled individuals will continue to be denied Family Care services, contravening CMS' federal directive," the letter said.

The letter went on to note that the waitlist for FamilyCare grew by 1,691 people from July 2011 to November. It also said that the state stands to lose $1.75 billion in federal funding if it does not lift the cap soon.

Walker's office said in a statement that his administration still plans to lift the enrollment cap and has "plans for a better program for the members, and a financially sustainable program for our taxpayers."

"Secretary Smith and his staff at the Department of Health Services have been working with partners, advocacy groups and members to make this happen," Walker spokeswoman Julie Lund said. "They have been working with the federal government on this and have been keeping them informed of our situation. DHS has been actively enrolling eligible individuals through emergency funding that was made available in the state budget as well as utilizing slots that have opened up.”

The Senate Committee on Health expects to hold a public hearing on a bill removing the cap this Thursday, but the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care has not yet scheduled a hearing on their version of the bill. An aide for committee chair and Rep. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, said he wasn't sure when the bill might come up for a hearing, but that they are still trying to work out fiscal issues with the bill.


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