Walker’s Job One: Cutting BadgerCare

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Just a day after announcing a $40 million tax cut to businesses without any requirement to create jobs, Walker, along with other Republican governors, is pressing the Obama administration to allow him to drop people from Medicaid, or BadgerCare, as it’s called here in Wisconsin. BadgerCare, as you may know, provides free or reduced-premium health insurance for children in poverty, the unemployed, and for people whose employers don’t provide health insurance coverage and can’t afford for-profit plans.

Given the new DHS Secretary Dennis Smith’s hostility towards Medicaid, reflected in a series of papers written for the right-wing Heritage Foundation, this is likely just the first step. In a December 2009 paper titled “Medicaid Meltdown: Dropping Medicaid Could Save States $1 Trillion,” Smith advised states to pull out from the federal Medicaid program as the “rational choice,” and that failure to do so “might be viewed as irresponsible on the part of elected state officials.”

On the campaign trail, Walker had already made clear his disinterest in protecting the program, by suggesting time limits and other restrictions that would result in over 400,000 people dropped from health coverage.

Cap Times health reporter Shawn Doherty writes today, “It will be fascinating to see how Wisconsin’s new health secretary administers programs he has been so critical of.”

I think we already have our answer: Smith won’t be administering these programs, he’s been given the job by Gov. Walker to dismantle them.

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