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Widely overlooked in the battle for worker rights in Wisconsin are the voices of people like Barbara Vedder:
I'm scared ... I don't want to go to a nursing home.

... because what's not being talked about in Wisconsin is the end-around attack against Medicaid that's in Republican Governor Scott Walker's budget:

What has been widely ignored about Walker's bill (in part because of the speed with which he's fisting it down Wisconsin's gullet) is a sneaky provision that paves the way for him to cut, or eliminate, Medicaid and BadgerCare healthcare benefits for low-income people.

... in short: Walker's administrative rules change would allow the Department of Health Services, via the overwhelmingly GOP-controlled budget committee, to change state laws unilaterally, skipping the legislative process altogether.

This little talked about proviso would:

... give the state Department of Health Services the authority to restrict eligibility, modify benefits and make other changes to Medicaid with less legislative review than required now. If the federal government didn't grant permission to make some of the changes, the state would drop at least 50,000 people from Medicaid next year.

And that means Vedder and 1.2 million Wisconsinites like her could be booted off the rolls of Medicaid and Medicaid programs like BadgerCare Plus, Family Care, and SeniorCare.

And while a spokesman for the Governor insisted that Walker just needs "flexibility" to plug the holes in the budget, consider who he appointed to head up the newly-empowered Department of Health Services:

... [Dennis] Smith is a fellow at The Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank hostile to Medicaid. How hostile? In 2009, Smith himself authored a paper titled "Medicaid Meltdown: Dropping Medicaid Could Save States $1 Trillion," which concludes "failure to leave Medicaid might be viewed as irresponsible on the part of elected state officials."

So, we know how Walker defines "flexible."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 07:45 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Progressive Hippie.

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