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Joint Finance Committee approves BadgerCare delays

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State lawmakers have given their first endorsement to Governor Scott Walker's proposed delay for big changes in BadgerCare.  

The Joint Finance Committee voted 11-2 Monday in favor of waiting three months, until the end of March, to drop 77,000 BadgerCare recipients above the poverty line. They would have to get their coverage from the federal Obamacare purchasing exchange, which has had major problems in enrolling people online.  

The bill now goes to the full Assembly Wednesday.  

Health groups and some Democrats took issue with the change, because it would also delay new BadgerCare benefits for 83,000 of the state's poorest childless adults.  

Senate Democrat Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie and Assembly Democrat Cory Mason of Racine voted against the measure. Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Jon Richards endorsed the bill but said it was a, "imperfect Band Aid," after majority Republicans refused to take additional federal Medicaid funds to implement Obamacare.  

Republicans don't want the state to be stuck funding the program if it doesn't work nationally. GOP finance chair John Nygren says the Obamacare rollout has been, "a disaster."  

Also Monday, state Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel asked the federal government to include the state in a pilot program that lets people use subsidies to buy coverage not available on the exchanges. The governor made the same request last month but never got an answer.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)