LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- A group of organizations seeking the expansion of Wisconsin's Badger Care program, known as Medicaid at the federal level, held a forum Monday at Viterbo University.
Badger Care provides health insurance coverage to individuals making roughly $21-thousand or less annually in income.
There's currently a waiting list for the program. But the President's Affordable Care Act, which seeks to reform the American healthcare system, is offering state's a chance to accept increased federal funding to expand their Medicaid programs.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Amos Inc., the Viterbo School of Nursing and the La Crosse League of Women Voters sponsored Monday night's forum.
Kevin Kane, a healthcare organizer at CAW, said he is urging the Governor to accept the funding.
"We already pay for uninsured individuals through emergency care and county mental health clinics, among other things," Kane said. "By making it so the federal government covers more of that cost, Wisconsin spends less. Our counties spend less, our state spends less and so we make sure the cost of the uninsured doesn't get pushed onto county property taxes."
The federal money would cover 100% of the cost of expanding Badger Care until 2020.
After that, funding would be cut to cover just 90% of costs.
Skeptics argue there is no guarantee the federal government can continue to fund the program over an extended period of time and don't want the state to get stuck with a large bill down the road.
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