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Politics & Government

Wisconsin Asks Trump Administration: Let State Become the First to Drug Test Medicaid Applicants

Gov. Scott Walker wants Wisconsin to set new rules for childless adults taking part BadgerCare - the state's Medicaid program for people living at or below the poverty line. They would have to undergo screenings for drug use, pay $8 for every visit to an emergency room and take part in 80 hours of job training per month, among other new requirements. Walker says his goal is to, "help people move from government dependence to true independence." 

The state Department of Health Services submitted a waiver request to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday, asking for permission to enact the requirements. They include a stipulation that participants who don't meet the work requirement would be limited to four-years of Medicaid benefits. Walker says there are currently plenty of job openings in Wisconsin.

If the Trump administration grants the state's request, the new rules would take effect in 2019.

Under Walker's plan, Wisconsin would offer treatment to those testing positive for drug use, including residential treatment services for up to 90 days.

Several Democrat legislators released a statement criticizing the waiver request, including Senator LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee.  The release reads in part, "It is sickening to see Gov. Walker working with Donald Trump to make Wisconsin a national leader in cruel, unnecessary, and damaging policies for some of our most vulnerable populations."