Scott Walker’s false choice

In justifying his proposal to “repair” Wisconsin’s current budget deficit by removing collective bargaining rights for public employees, Gov. Scott Walker said the state would remove “close to 200,000 children” from Medicaid-related programs like BadgerCare, in addition to being forced to lay off 6,000 state employees.

Despite previously being “in the bag” for Gov. Walker when he was a candidate and during the initial few weeks of his administration, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact has decided to take a look at Walker’s claim that “close to 200,000 children” could be removed from BadgerCare if Walker’s budget “repair” proposal isn’t enacted.

According to PolitiFact, the federal health care reform law that took effect in March 2010 prohibits states, until at least 2019, from changing their Medicaid eligibility requirements for children, meaning states can’t take Medicaid away from kids who are receiving it. What’s more if a state did cut children from Medicaid, as Gov. Walker asserted he’d do in Wisconsin, the state would then forgo all $6.7 billion of the federal Medicaid funding it received last year.

Here’s PolitiFact’s final judgment on Walker’s claim about dropping 200,000 children off BadgerCare:

Walker said that if his proposal for state employees to pay more for their benefits is not adopted, alternatives such as removing nearly 200,000 children from Medicaid would have to be considered. But that’s a phony alternative. Legally, the state does not have the option to remove kids from Medicaid; Walker acknowledged he did not check before making the statement.

We rate Walker’s statement on Medicaid and kids False.

What, they couldn’t stand to give Walker a “Liar, liar, pants on fire?”


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13 thoughts on “Scott Walker’s false choice

  1. Badger Care another abused program that needs to be fixed. I have a lady at work who has refused to take health insurance through work because she was on Badger care for her deadbeat husband and kids before she was hired. She is not reporting properly in order to keep the Badgercare, she is very proud of the fact that she was able to keep this FREE insurance instead of having to pay out of pocket like real working families do. I am proud to say that I have reported her and we will see how long she stays happy, word of advice to people cheating the system learn to shut your mouths if you are going to do , more and more people are getting tired of your abuse.

  2. I think I’m actually gonna have to agree with you on this one. I look at how much my husband pays in taxes each year and just cringe. It wouldn’t be so bad if I knew it was paying for compitant people running these depts.(not only do I advocate for my own SN child, but I also volunteer for other parents thru WIFACETS type organizations) Social Services,e.g., needs a complete overhaul or should just be privatized. They help with physical and sexual abuse, but anything else…they do absolutely nothing. I have seen more kids being told the most inappropriate and hurtful things, which according to SS is ok. They have the same guidelines for action as the Humane Society! So thats how they categorize our kids mental well being? Even when documented evidence is reported by doctors, police and schools…still nothing. The whole, “something really bad has to happen first” kind of thinking is ridiculous! Social Services telling a parent that asthma isn’t a life threatening disease is completely unacceptable! I have never been part of a more useless “use” of our tax dollars than this. And yes, so tired of the people that actually “need” and deserve the medicade system get denied. Most hard working people feel proud to be able to support their families and NOT have to rely on the system. Its the lazy useless people that take advantage, like you pointed out Notalib, that enrage me.

  3. MOM my wife and I were foster parents for a number of years, we finally stop doing it because it really was a horrible system for the kids to be in. We saw time and time again kids being placed back into situations that had not improved, the driving force behind this system is the case workers being able to stamp a case closed, the welfare of the kids was always second. I believe it is our jobs to provide help for people when and where it is needed, but in return we need to weed out the abusers of these programs. Whenever this is suggested though I become uncaring evil on and on ……

  4. I agree, that the false choice type of rhetoric is just wrong.

    Unfortunately, that sort of rationale makes up the bulk of the discourse. Every time there are ever cuts discussed for schools or public sector jobs, the most common argument is that it will result in eliminating whatever the most popular program is, put felons on the streets, etc etc.

  5. Like his suggestion that Milwaukee County hold a sales tax holiday to increase sales in the county by drawing customers from other areas…to his thinking he can redirect federal rail money to highways…this is another instance showing the Governor Walker doesn’t do his homework and understand how the govt actually works…and the actual strings attached to revenues and taxes.

  6. I’m not entirely sure how this is a false choice… budget cuts have to be made, and if public unions did not take benefits cuts then BadgerCare would get even larger cuts than would have happened originally.

    Granted, BadgerCare cuts involving children would certainly have to wait until the Supreme Court rules the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” unconstitutional, which is beginning to seem likely…

    Probably the best legal summary of the challenges the federal government will have in a eventual showdown in the Supreme Court:

    The New York Times tried, but failed in conveying the actual reason Vinson ruled it as unconstitutional:

  7. Notalib, MOM, and anyone else who is spouting false hope. When a family budget is out of whack because income is lower than expenses you must look to see what got you there historically. Expenses have a history and you can see where you overspent by looking at your monthly balance sheets.

    Our Wisconsin deficit has many culprits but state workers pay, benefits, unions, and collective bargaining are not even close to being a culprit or even in the top 10. Lost tax revenues due to property values, job losses, etc. are the effect. The causes are banking and finance(which were deregulated), corporations moving to foreign countries for lower labor and taxes, obvious real estate meltdown due to all kinds of speculation(flipping, etc.), plain greed and global monetary imbalances.

    Fascinating you feel compelled to brainwash us with lies that have been handed down to you. You blame people who are in the same financial boat as you even though you may make the same amount of money. The people who gave you this lie obviously don’t give a damn about either of you. You are middle class and struggling with lower income and higher expenses. Healthcare, Insurance, and Energy prices being the main reason you can’t balance your budget.

    All I ask is – “Could you ever come up with the truth sometimes on your own?” Do some research or real “WORK for you own betterment. Don’t allow the “FAKE CONSERVATIVE” rhetoric to lead you. It maybe hard work but it will make you stronger and more apt for you to be truly self sufficient. Conservative traits are even embedded in some of the most progressive thinking of the day.

    So we need government to protect us from foreign enemies and unscrupulous business. Yes, we need change in government that is good and it can always do better. But we must fight for a mutual benefit that lifts everyone up.

    I saw a lot of that happening in Madison yesterday and I know the folks there would embrace a new paradigm shift in bipartisan collaboration. It is not the people against people. It is not the people against government. It is good people for good government and a better life for all Americans!

    Wouldn’t you agree?

  8. Bob I have not heard one person say they are the reason for the problems, however, they are state workers who depend on the money taxpayers provide which means there is only so much to go around.I don’t know why you are unable to see that having them pay their fair share of their healthcare and retirement is not an attack on them but only fair and the right thing to be asked of them. You accuse people who differ from you as not understanding what is really going on, well Bob in reality it may be you who has the blinders on.

    1. Not sure how old you are but across the board people understood (since before the 1980’s) that private sector jobs would pay more and have less benefits. While public sector jobs paid less and had more benefits. It was up to you to decide what you wanted.

      Did you decide? Was it a good choice? So stop complaining!

      But what eroded first was the private sector- they lowered wages and lowered benefits they even went so far as to deny pensions. At the same time executive salaries, benefits, and options skyrocketed – and still are. Guess what – the worker suffered the most. Are you one of them?

      In government salaries and benefits have not increased like private business did. Benefits costs have increased but so hasn’t the contribution by the government workers. Not only are these workers working for us they help us. That is their job.

      Today Unions in the private sector has diminished to almost non-existence. Bless Ronnie’s heart. Word has it he tried to break up the Union of Saints in heaven. But after God heard the complaints from the Union, God told Ronnie to “Go to hell!” Now Ronnie is trying to unionize the souls in Hell to redeem himself.

      I know the people at the rallies are open to new converts like you. Not only will they welcome you in – they will give you the help you need! Unlike some of the unscrupulous corporations that stole your pension money and asked the USA taxpayer to foot the bill. (research this and find out who was in office – don’t be surprised when it looks bi-partisan)

      So my blinders are off and I can see that you haven’t done your research! I promise you will feel better and informed.

      So please open your mind and stop being controlled by the misconceptions of the Governor.

      If the Governor’s perception is wrong – his solution is wrong!
      Spread the word – L I B E R A L L Y, F I G U R A T I V E L Y , and L I T E R A L L Y
      (newly added instructions)

  9. I have asked the question a number of times on a number of forums: How much of the cost of the Governor’s and Legislature’s benefits and pensions come out of their pay checks? I suggest their tithes start in their home!

    1. I heard Walker mention that they were next. We’ll see.

      I don’t disagree at all, that starting there would have been the right way to lead. I’ll give him a little leeway – so long as he ultimately does make at least comparable (if not more) cuts and/or expense sharing to himself. He does have a decent record for keeping his own salary in check, but it has to go farther than that. If he doesn’t, I’ll be the first to complain.

      I’ve been on record here & elsewhere saying I’d love to see the legislature – at the very least, the Assembly cut back to part time. Seems like this would be the perfect time. Honestly, their salaries don’t seem awful – $50,000. Since we’re only talking about 132 people or so, it’s really not much of savings even if we completely slashed their salaries.

      However – I’m a firm believe in the citizen legislator. I’m just not a fan of politician as a lifelong career. I’d be in favor of completely eliminating all pension and retirement benefits for all elected officials. I don’t know the in’s & out’s of how staffers & other employees’ salaries & benefits work to comment on that though.

  10. It would be a show of good faith and a certain sense of ‘solidarity’ if the governor and legislators took the step to make similar contributions to their benefits. The share the pain mantra wears thin if those chanting aren’t contributing.

    And I am not sure why we need 99 people in the assembly? That’s basically 25% of the US House to represent the entire nation. And the same for the state senate. I don’t see why we can’t trim the number of reps as well. With modern transportation and communication, the geographic size of a district is less of a restraint than in 1848.

    And do they still get a per diem? That could be as lucrative as their salary if ‘played’ correctly (I didn’t use right so my meaning wouldn’t be misconstrued…LOL!).

  11. I’d normally try not to quote quite so much, but according to wikipedia, the normal caveats, though it’s usually pretty good about getting this kind of stuff right:

    State Senators:

    Senators elected or re-elected in the fall of 2008 will receive an annual salary of $49,943.
    In addition to their salaries, senators outside Dane County may receive a per diem up to $88 to cover living expenses while they are in Dane County on state business. Members of the Madison delegation may receive a per diem up to $44 to cover expenses.

    Each senator also receives $75 per month in “out-of-session” pay when the Legislature is in session for three days or less.

    Over two years, each senator is allotted $66,008 to cover general office expenses, printing, postage and district mailings.

    And Assembly members:

    Representatives elected or re-elected in the fall of 2008 will receive an annual salary of $49,943.

    In addition to their salaries, Representatives outside Dane County may receive up to $88 a day each in living expenses while they are in Madison on state business. Members of the Dane County delegation are allowed up to $44 each in expenses.

    Each Representative also receives $75 per month in “out-of-session” pay when the Legislature is in session for three days or less.

    Over two years, each representative is allotted $12,000 to cover general office expenses, printing, postage and district mailings.

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