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Wis. counties try to get around Gov. Walker's refusal to take Medicaid expansion money

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LA CROSSE, WI (WTAQ) - Twenty Wisconsin counties are trying a new approach to get extra federal Medicaid funds under the Affordable Care Act.

La Crosse County is among those trying to tip-toe around Governor Scott Walker’s refusal to accept additional Medicaid dollars statewide for recipients of programs like Badger-Care.

La Crosse County Supervisor Monica Kruse said her county and the other 19 have asked State Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades to pursue something recently done in Ohio.

There, Republican lawmakers rejected Obamacare’s additional Medicaid funds.

Still, a demonstration project was arranged in which the extra funding passes through the state of Ohio to the county with Cleveland in it, where a medical center serves low-income residents.

The Wisconsin Citizen Action Group plans a telephone news conference today to promote the same idea for the Badger State.

The new state budget gives BadgerCare only to those under the poverty line – and the rest would buy coverage under the federal government’s new insurance purchasing exchange.

Kruse tells the La Crosse Tribune that the Walker plan will remove 35,000 people from BadgerCare in La Crosse, Buffalo, Clark, Jackson, Monroe, Pepin, Vernon, and Trempealeau counties.

She’ll participate in Citizen Action’s news conference, along with officials from Dane, Brown, and Eau Claire counties.

In March, the executives of Dane and Outagamie counties called for expanded Medicaid funds for their counties only. That was before the Ohio arrangement was made, and the state said no at that time.

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