Budget Repair Bill Provision That Affects 1.1 Million

The Budget Repair Bill being discussed in the Legislature has focused on employee benefits, but includes a sweeping shift of authority for setting Medicaid policy. If passed, this unprecedented seizure of legislative authority would put critical decisions affecting the lives of 1.1 million Wisconsinites in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, with minimal public and legislative involvement. This bill would give the Department of Health Services the ability to rewrite Medicaid policy related to benefits, reimbursement, eligibility, and a wide range of other important aspects. It could impact BadgerCare Plus, Core and Basic as well as Family Care, SeniorCare and Children’s Waivers, among other programs vital to families’ lives.

On February 14th The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released the following in a memo titled Non-Fiscal Policy Items Contained Within the Budget Adjustment Bill (SS SB 11): (http://www.thewheelerreport.com/releases/February11/0214/0214lfbnonfiscal.pdf)

“There is one item included on the non-fiscal list that should be noted. That item is entitled, “Medical Assistance — Study and Implementation of Program Changes.” The provision could potentially give broad authority to the Department of Health Services, with approval of the Joint Committee on Finance, to significantly modify the medical assistance program and supersede most statutory provisions regarding the program. While the provision may result in significant savings in the future, it has been included on the list because it would remove the entire Legislature from determining substantial elements of the medical assistance program.”

This proposal would affect:

  • 775,000 children and adults have basic medical coverage in BadgerCare
  • 90,000 Wisconsin children and adults with severe mental illness use Medicaid services
  • 9,800 children and young adults (0-21) with severe disabilities utilize Medicaid community based supports and medical coverage
  • 20,509 people with developmental and physical disabilities stay independent at home and in their communities with Medicaid funded supports
  • 18,000 seniors stay independent at home and in their communities with help from Medicaid
  • 90,000 Wisconsin seniors rely on SeniorCare for affordable prescription drugs


  • This proposal would open the door to far-reaching changes in Medicaid under the guise of a ‘budget repair bill”.
  • This proposal would yield NO savings to the state budget in this biennium.
  • Major Medicaid decisions that affect families’ lives should not be made behind closed doors.
  • The proposal would give the Administration the authority to implement emergency rules making critical changes that supersede current statutes.
  • The Administration would be able to extend the emergency rules for as long as four years, with no obligation to define the emergency.
  • This proposal severely limits the debate on this very important issue, silences the voices of families and individuals and weakens the legislative branch of government.
  • A system that supports 20% of Wisconsin’s population deserves to have open public hearings when rules are changed.

This is an argument that I have heard very little about from the media. I believe that this is a discussion that Governor Walker is happy that he has not had to defend. When did it become OK to allow unelected officials to set policy with minimal legislative input? But more importantly, when did we elect officials who do not get input from the people?


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61 thoughts on “Budget Repair Bill Provision That Affects 1.1 Million

  1. When did it become OK for state officials to cut and run? I have been trying to get in touch with my state senator,I have been told the fleebagger can’t be found!YA thats right we the people have no input when are senators are hiding from there job

    1. Hey Ray….Unless you rich like Scotty’s buddy Koch some day when your old you might need some of the Medicaid benefits so shut the H up! Mybe it will be one of your family members that need help. Ever have cancer? W A I T someday you just might need the help. Karma baby

  2. Ray,
    Those 14 “fleabaggers” are heroes to thousands of us who are trying to protect your rights as a citizen, employee and taxpayer in this state..unless you are a multimillionaire like your friends the Koch Brothers..

    1. Totally agree with you Linda. The Senators that have left and are not even able to collect their pay are heroes. They are not hiding from their job, they are in fact, doing it, but prohibiting the vote on a bill that serves no one but big business.

    2. Go Linda! I want one of those t-shirts that says “fantastic 14”. Those people are my hereoes and should be heroes to anyone in Wisconsin who works for a living.

  3. Let’s see, we have a budget repair bill that doesn’t repair anything, but severely reduces income of working (& tax paying) public employees. The reductions in income will eliminate discretionary spending by this sector of the economy, which will negatively impact local businesses, DECREASE jobs and effectively stall economic recovery. Further, all those losing their jobs or dealing with 10% (or more) reduction of already stressed finances, will NOT pay taxes or pay less taxes, further reducing revenue and increasing budget deficits–while the already wealthy reap the benefits of even more tax breaks.
    We have the move to end collective bargaining, bust the unions, and ultimately get rid of safe working conditions, living wages, paid leave, family leave (any leave?) and such things as unemployment compensation and worker’s comp (basically, any rights won by unions in the last century). This will ultimately effect all workers, public or private, republican or democrat, all races, all religions, everyone but that top 5% who is engineering this.
    Having already lost millions of federal dollars and thousands of jobs (high speed rail), we are now set to loose more millions of federal funds and more thousands of jobs as the union busting tactics dequalify local transit systems from federal funding. Not to mention the loss of the transit systems which won’t be able to operate without that assistance (so those who actually still have jobs–which don’t pay enough to afford gas–won’t have any way to get to work).
    Moving right along, we have the provision to sell power plants–without any bid proposals or oversight, for whatever the governor deems appropriate to whomever he wants. And who do you think is standing there ready to buy? Who’s is already hiring power plant operators? Why, do I recognize those billionaire coal and oil brothers who have been buying power plants all over the country? And who happened to have hugely supported Scott Walker’s campaign? And who will be able to set whatever prices they want on their new plants with no oversight?
    Then we see the effects on Medicaid (as discussed above with marvelous clarity); and let me hazard a guess and say the proposals for BadgerCare will have similar impacts on THAT program.
    OK, so is anything left unravaged? Retirement plans maybe? No wait, that’s in the NEXT bill, the actual budget that has yet to be unveiled.
    This is not only seriously un-Wisconsin-like but un-American and signals the end of life as we know it.

    1. Thank you, Katherine!
      Well said, and I do hope the “14” stay away as long as they can! If they don’t come back, what happens to the budget? Do we go into a state of standstill?

  4. Ray,
    You’re an idiot!!!! You should do your homework before you post something that makes you look so stupid!

  5. I wouldn’t trade any one of those “fleabaggers” for the whole bunch of those other traitors to the people of Wisconsin. I don’t know why Ray wants to talk to one of those “fleabaggers” anyway. Ray; I’ll bet you haven’t been trying to get in touch with anybody and you’re story is just a pile of crap!

  6. Follow the money,the fleebaggers are protecting the greedy union leaders.And yes the (fleabaggers) are parasites that need to be recalled.

  7. Ray, didn’t you learn in kindergarten to keep your mouth shut if you have nothing nice to say? You must have been in Walkers class and dropped out of that lesson. You wanna talk about protecting the greedy? Who received tax cuts from walker- before this bill was introduced publicly? Oh yeah, the greedy rich folks!

  8. Ok Ray, then why don’t you follow the money.

    Follow the money that all the corporations will receive in tax breaks that Walker gave them to create this deficit in the first place.

    Follow the money that the Koch brothers gave to Scott Walker, the RGA and other PAC’s that advertised for Scott Walker. The Koch brothers donated the the most individual money than anyone in Walkers race.

    Follow the money when you read Walker’s bill that says it gives him the right to sell off any and all public utilities if he deems it in Wisconsin’s best interest. The Koch brothers want those utilities. That will give them a vertical monopoly in Wisconsin. They will own the oil, the refineries and now the utilities that you are forced to use. Expect higher prices and less services so they can make huge profits.

    Try following that money and tell me who stands to benefit more. Union members that have already agreed to more pay and benefit cuts (like the no pay raises for the past two years they already are going through) or the two of the richest men in the United States who will officially own a monopoly and can charge whatever they want because they have no competitors.

  9. I am young and trying to understand something. The collective barganing isn’t a right but a state provision given in 1959 and can be taken away. I really dislike walker but the argument that your rights are being taken away are not true and it hurts the cause. Now my parents say this is a good thing, but my teachers disagree. Also Zach why didn’t your union have a contract for 2 years? I just want to understand this.

  10. Donny,

    Collective bargaining is a right, granted under Wisconsin law. It was granted to private sector workers by the federal government in 1935. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights identifies the ability to organize trade unions as a fundamental human right.

    The same is true of the bill of rights ( free speech, freedom of the press, etc), which wasn’t written into the original US constitution. It was added four years later.

    You are correct that rights can be taken away, which is what governor Koch is trying to do. Your rights under the Bill of Rights can be taken away as well, which is what Bushs’ Patriot Act partially accomplished. It seriously eroded your right to privacy.

    a good question for your folks might be, ” why are republicans always trying to take away our rights? ”

    Hope this helps.

  11. The fleebaggers hiding in Illinois like the cowards they are ARE not doing their job. Their job is to represent their districts not just the union leadership who bought and paid for them.But these fourteen losers know that without union money they would never get elected again, they know that the real working class in the state the ones that gets to pay for the union healthcare and outrageousness retirement would never elect them and thats why the need unions so bad, only people with low morals would vote for such despicable people. On Sat. the recall of the FLEEBAGGER DAVE “CHICKENSHIT” HANSEN begins in Green Bay, this coward will soon have plenty of time to hide with the other 13 pinheads as he will soon be once again unemployed. And speaking of unemployed I am really going to enjoy seeing the first round of layoffs of union workers coming up, these people don’t want to be responsible citizens then let them get in line with the other jobless people thanks to Doyle at the unemployment office.

    1. “I am really going to enjoy seeing the first round of layoffs of union workers”

      Wow…..just wow. How very Christian of you to take delight in the misery of others.

      I don’t usually say things like this, but you’re an absolute sack of crap.

      1. Well if the fleebaggers would come back do their job these people would not lose theirs. But sadly the 14 fleebaggers havethe support of the unions and because of this they are going to cause good people to lose their jobs while the fleebaggers continue reaping in the cash and benefits at the expense of doing the bidding of union management instead of what is best for the state and the state workers. Hard to feel sorry for people hwo support such ignorance.

        1. “I am really going to enjoy seeing the first round of layoffs of union workers”

          As I said before, that’s a very Christian thing of you to say. I’ve said a lot of stupid things, but one thing I’ll never do is take pleasure in seeing others lose their jobs.

        2. One of those fleebaggers is MY senator, and my hero; he IS doing his job, he IS representing me and my fellow constituents who elected him, and he and the other 13 are doing their very best–at considerable inconvenience to themselves I might add–to remind a certain self-styled dictator that this is supposed to be a democracy in which the people are supposed to have a voice and where ELECTED officials are supposed to listen. Since the voice of the people is being ignored, what exactly are we supposed to do? Shut up and pretend to be carpets and get stamped so far into the ground no one else in the country can find us much less hear us?

          1. Yay, Katherine! Please send my gratitude to your Senator! I am so very proud of all the senators who had the courage to stand for their convictions! I am so moved!

      2. Have you ever heard of a scare or pressure tactics?….What Koch $ucker Scotty is trying to do is turn people against each other. Punish one group of people for what another group of people are doing. He’s using layoff as a pressure tactic. He said he wasn’t going to budge OR compromise on the bill. When is he and the rest of our elected offcials going to contribute to their health insurance and pension plan…If you pay state and federal taxes shouldn’t they? Wisconsin could surplus money if we took away some of their perks. (mansion, cell phones cars, dining ect ect.

  12. “Collective bargaining is granted under Wisconsin law” which means that it is not a right and can be terminated by the same people who made it a law originally.

  13. Does anyone here actually believe in democracy? You realize that we elected the current governor and legislators, right? And the legislators are there to vote as our representatives, not go AWOL to another state. What precedence does this set? Should legislators that disagree with a proposed law always just leave the state when they are in the minority to try and stop the democratic process? How would you feel if the US House of representatives went to Canada to prevent the US government from functioning? Who actually believes this is responsible?

    1. I am proud as hell of my Senator, Bob Jauch, and I hope he stays in Illinois until a handful of republican Senators come to their senses.

      I think they’re all being exceedingly responsible, courageous and admirable.

      Thanks for asking.

        1. And I am proud of Mark Miller. So proud that Tomorrow I will be calling Senator Scott Fitzgerald (608)266-5660 Fax – (608) 267-6795 and telling him to stop wasting the valuable resources of the State troopers and to pay MY SENATOR. That is my money that he is messing with not his.

          1. “That is my money that he is messing with not his” Thank you that is the exact point of most of Wisconsin,, That is our money paying for the insurance and retirement of state workers and we no longer can afford it. PAY YOU FAIOR SHARE, stop milking the working class.

    2. And, GT, republican Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, commenting on Dem house reps who have fled his state for the same reason, says it’s a perfectly legitimate thing to do.

      1. Mitch Daniels is a pretty reasonable person to my knowledge. He said it was a perfectly legitimate thing to do, isn’t using fear tactics, and he got points from my perspective for calling things out for what they are whether it was misleading media or anything else.

        That and he gave Indiana Daylights Saving Time finally and made the people who were going to Old Country Buffet want to contemplate suicide because they got there an hour earlier than expected.

    3. At the moment, I’d be thrilled; considering the bill that has been enacted while they are supposedly “functioning”. Bill gives whole new meaning to dysfunctional.

  14. Notalib,

    Thanks for pointing out my poor use of language. I should have said that Wisconsin passed a law recognizing this fundamental right. Thanks again.

  15. I am disheartened for several reasons…most of which I will not get into tonight.
    Zack makes a very valid point about medical assistance. This is insurance that makes basic health care available to many children, elderly, and mentally/cognitively disabled people in our state. I do not think anyone would agree that certain areas need to be monitored more closely and investigated for misuse. However, many children will suffer. Honestly, I do not think people can say that children deserve to suffer…they didn’t create this mess. Many people across the state have not seen poverty at its worst…but some of us have, most of us are public sector employees. There will be an increase in the number of children who die or become gravely ill in Wisconsin. Please, let’s not forget about the thousands of children in foster care who will be seriously effected by several areas of this budget repair.
    One other point I want to make is this…the middle working class has been pitted against one another. Despite what you believe to be true or moral…Once again, the middle class is left to fight one another, their neighbors, their friends over an upper class problem. The upper class has been quiet and why wouldn’t they? Once again the middle class is sent to the front line to defeat one another. Wisconsin is built upon its middle class, democrat or republican, public or private sector employee. We all work very hard to maintain a modest home and provide for our children. Once half the middle class of Wisconsin is stamped out, the other half will be left with nothing as well. Private sector workers who make a meager $20.00 per hour will be replaced with two 20 year old workers who will make $10.00 per hour. This is our fate. Let’s just be respectful of one another. We are in the same boat. We will all suffer. I encourage people to study Wisconsin history and the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making this state great. Our middle class has always been strong, something for Wisconsin to brag about. However, it is weakening. It is weakening because we are fighting eachother…and at the end of the day if we all sat down at a table to talk, most of us would have views that are very similar, somewhere in the middle. Be respectful of the fact that thousands of people in Wisconsin who have worked very hard for its success will be facing forclosure, forced into bankrupcy courts, uncertain has to how they will provide for their children. I do not believe that ANYONE in WISCONSIN’S middle class believes that other middle class citizens of this fine state deserve that.

    1. Thank you Dawn. Your insiteful comments are well said. I do worry about the children, the disabled, and elderly. I worry about my grandchildren’s eduction. I worry about all workers in the country, if unions and collective bargaining are lost. I know it will make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Not a happy thought.

  16. So Dawn what you are saying that if the unions lose a small part of their salary to pay their own insurance and retirement that they will disappear as middle class? The middle class is not going anywhere, they will actually get stronger as they will eventually be taxed for every failed entitlement program.

    1. It’s not the union I’m personally worried about NotaLib, because honestly as much as pro-union I am and could go on about it until I’m blue in the face? I’m still not a part of a union.

      To me, it’s other huge but very damaging things within the bill. I ask you this: have you read the bill in it’s entirity and comprehend what it’s saying?

  17. So out of curiosity, I was watching online Fox News with the interview with Scott Walker with Greta Van Susteren.

    Then he said – and I quote this: “I even had lawmakers and others suggesting rattling things up.”

    It took me really by surprise. It seems according to other people, they’ve heard it too.

  18. I almost flew out of my chair when I heard the same thing.

    The link you’ve provided no longer leads to the full interview, but Ed Schultz played it tonight on his show. He also had the Dem senators on and Lena Taylor brought it up. She wanted to know who else had brought up ” rattling” or ” ratcheting” things up.

    I think Chief Wray in Madison has enough here to ask Walker/Fitzgerald some questions. These guys could be guilty of conspiracy to incite a riot.

    It’s starting to look like Walker knows he’s in trouble and doesn’t want to go it alone.

    What’s really sad about all of this is that none of it had to happen. The only winners here are the pizza parlors on State Street.

  19. Thanx Katherine for bringing the other issues to our attention.

    A few of us have been reading and re-reading the bill since last weekend, including the other bills passed, trying to make heads or tails of this mess. I don’t hear anyone talking about those bills.

    Our understanding is that there will be a $$ limit of $250,000 on any lawsuits brought against anyone, business or state entity and that the plaintiff would have to prove intent first before a lawsuit could continue. Now, we know that Exxon has been dying to get it’s hands on the Crandon area in search of the highly lucrative metallic sulfide mining business. This was stopped by the people years ago. Walker will be able to declare an State of Economic Emergency, which makes him sole decision maker (no oversight). He will sell the area to Exxon and OK the mining and will probably wave whatever EPA laws are in effect in the name of ‘Saving the State’. The land will be devastated. The adjacent waterways will become polluted beyond repair (there is no strip mining project of this nature ANYWHERE that hasn’t polluted the waterways and aquifers). People will bring suit against Exxon. The publics attorney will be limited to 10% of the total lawsuit, which is limited to $250,000. Exxon will pay and continue on their way, leaving us with the impossible cleanup.

    As far as the tax breaks he’s given to big business in the name of ‘increasing jobs’, the business must guarantee employee paycheck(s) to the tune of $200,000. This could be 20 jobs at $10,000 per year or one job at $200,000 per year. And I believe the length of jobs was only 3 or 5 years. (can’t remember which). If someone can verify or nullify this, please feel free. I have not slept much the last 2 weeks over this crap. And the funny thing is, I have not worked since last early fall, not eligible for unemployment, and really do not care for the Union.

    My gut is screaming at me to be involved in this because it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    November 3rd starts the recall process. “CAN’T WAIT!”

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