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Saturday, November 16, 2013

 9:29 AM 

Sebelius pushes Walker on federal Medicaid expansion

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday urged Gov. Scott Walker to reverse his decision to turn down federal money to expand Medicaid, even as she praised him for his move to extend BadgerCare coverage by three months.

"There is $10 billion of federal funding that would come into Wisconsin over the next 10 years if the governor and the Legislature chose to expand Medicaid," Sebelius said. "Ten billion for newly insured folks in Wisconsin to get health care, and frankly, those dollars are now being absorbed by community hospitals paying for uncompensated care, by taxpayers who pay for care of others," she said.

The governor said Thursday he's in favor of allowing people to continue coverage through March 31, the deadline to enroll in health care through the Affordable Care Act.

"Having people take the full advantage of open enrollment, which lasts until the 31st of March, makes sense, so people don't drop through the cracks," she said, citing support for the change from Dems Tammy Baldwin and Tom Barrett.

Sebelius said Wisconsin was once "on its way to run a state-based marketplace and actually was one of the early innovator states" and had "incredible technology builds" started. Then, she said, "the new administration came in and decided they would no longer follow that plan any longer would would instead become part of the federal marketplace."

She said she hoped Wisconsin and the 35 other federal marketplace states would create state-based programs. "We'd love to hand over the baton," she said.

See more from the press conference here.


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