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Walker Summons Legislature to Extend BadgerCare for Thousands

Gov. Walker will call legislators into special session Dec. 2, to give people losing BadgerCare three more months to enroll in the federal exchange.

Initially, Wisconsin planned to cut 77,000 people from the state Medicaid program on Dec. 31, directing them to buy private health insurance on the federal exchange. Coverage was supposed to available, starting Jan. 1, but millions of people have not yet been able to sign up, because the exchange has been mired in problems. Walker will ask the Legislature to give them through March to purchase a private plan.

“The federal government failed to get its website fully operational, and it is irresponsible to force some Wisconsinites to pay the price for the federal government’s failure,” Walker said, in a release.

The governor is extending BadgerCare to all residents living at or below the poverty level and referring those above to the private market. He rejected federal money to cover more people, saying the proposition was too risky for Wisconsin, since the federal government will later reduce its funding.

Walker also reported Friday, sending the Obama administration a message. It asks the White House to allow Wisconsin residents who qualify for subsidies in the new exchange, to apply them to any qualified health plan, not just those participating in the exchange. It sets benchmarks for coverage.