GREEN BAY - Some individual Wisconsin county supervisors want the state to reconsider the federal Medicaid money that it rejected. Their hope is to allow counties that want the money to still get it.
Brown County Supervisor Dan Robinson is one of them. He and the other 19 county supervisors, four others from our area – speaking as individuals – are asking the state to reconsider its decision.
"There are over 11,000 people, in Brown County alone, that will not have access to adequate healthcare because we did not access those federal Medicaid money," said Robinson, who is also the vice-chair of the county's Human Services Committee.
You may remember Governor Walker wanted to reject $12 billion in federal money over ten years. The Republican-controlled Legislature went along, including the rejection in the new state budget. The money was a part of the federal government's health insurance reform.
Robinson, who represents the county's 19th district, says it's not a matter of whether you agree with nation's new health insurance reform law. He says it's about protecting the people of Wisconsin.
"We, as a community, and as a local government, as a county, need to look out for the residents of our county," said Robinson. "And we need to do all we can to help get access to those funds that are there for us to use."
In a signed letter to Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Kitty Rhoades, the supervisors ask the state give counties the option of receiving federal Medicaid dollars directly.
Supervisors say the money will help protect the poor who wouldn't fall under the tightened BadgerCare plan.
In a statement emailed to FOX 11, Rhoades says:
"The Department's focus is on reducing the number of uninsured in Wisconsin by nearly 50%, not on debating the policy decisions that are now law…"
"We hope that the counties who signed onto this letter and Citizen Action of Wisconsin will join us and many other advocacy groups and counties in this endeavor as we have a shared goal of ensuring that Wisconsinites have access to health care coverage."
The new law restricts the eligibility of BadgerCare to no more than 100 percent of the federal poverty level – or a little less than $12,000 a year for a single person. For those who make up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, they could then purchase insurance through an exchange system.
Opponents of the law say rejecting the money will cost the state and BadgerCare users more.
"The new marketplace exchanges were not designed for people below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level," said Citizen Action of Wisconsin Executive Director Robert Kraig in a press conference call Tuesday morning. "The co-pays and deductibles are just too high for most people – at any income level – to afford."
In May, the Brown County board turned down Robinson's resolution urging the state to accept the federal Medicaid dollars.
Proponents of the having the money administered by counties cite an example in Ohio. There, federal Medicaid money passed through the state to a Cleveland health Center.
After almost 80 years, a piece of naval history is on its way home. A model of the Japanese luxury liner Hikawa Maru is being packed up in Manitowoc and returned to Japan.
Visitors to Green Bay's Neville Public Museum will soon see hours slashed. The county-owned attraction is cutting access starting the first of the year.
An 11-foot-long model of the Japanese passenger liner Hikawa Maru is being sent back to Japan after 34 years at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.
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For the second year in a row, St. Norbert College could house overflow of homeless people from the St. John the Evangelist shelter in Green Bay.
A memorial fund has been created for a Grand Chute firefighter killed in a weekend car crash.