UPDATED Tuesday, February 5, 2013--6:15p.m.
MADISON--Diane and Gary Kuse know what it's like to stress about being able to afford medical care: "My husband is a medical case, he has a lot of things behind him, diabetes and it's very, very extensive," said Diane.
When Diane lost her job in November, the pair were forced onto COBRA for coverage. "Changes what you're able to do with the money you have coming into the house," said Gary. "We were looking at $1,100 a month for COBRA."
Diane's still looking for another job--but in the meantime they're having to dip into other funds to cover their living expenses and medical bills."We've had to close out our 401k,....our IRAs and we're looking at selling our house now," said Diane.
The Kuse's trekked down from Green Bay today to show their support for a Democratic effort called the Strengthen BadgerCare Act.
Lawmakers are calling on Governor Walker to accept federal funds available under the Affordable Care Act that they say could help expand coverage to more than 170,000 people. "The federal government now will pay Wisconsin 100 percent of the cost of expanding BadgerCare over the next three years," said Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee. "Then for six years after that it will pick up 90 percent of those costs."
The governor hasn't decided yet about whether or not to expand Medicaid, saying he has some concerns. "I don't hear from the members of Congress an aggressive pathway by which they fully fund the dollars that would be needed for any state to expand," he said. "And so one of the concerns that I and other governors have is are we banking on money that just ultimately won't be there."
The Kuse's however, are hoping that BadgerCare will be expanded--saying it could save them between $500-600 a month if they could get covered by it. "That times 12, it would make a great difference," said Diane. "We might not have to sell the house."
Governor Walker said his decision about the Medicaid expansion will come out with his budget, which is set to be released later this month.
Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 --- 11:55 a.m.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democratic lawmakers and health care advocates are calling on Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans who control the Legislature to expand Medicaid coverage as allowed under the federal health care overhaul law.
Walker has not said if he will take advantage of the voluntary expansion. He has indicated his decision won't be announced until when he releases his two-year state spending plan on Feb. 19.
Expanding Medicaid in Wisconsin as allowed could result in 175,000 uninsured childless adults getting coverage.
State Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee says Walker should follow the lead of other Republican governors who have agreed to take the federal money to pay for the expansion. Under the law, the federal government would pay for the added costs through 2016.
Copyright 2013: Associated Press