Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, February 15, 2011
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill would give his administration sweeping powers to reshape state health programs covering more than 1 million state residents. Under the bill, the administration's rewrite of the Medicaid program would be reviewed only by the Legislature's budget committee, which has a broader margin of control for majority Republican lawmakers than any other committee. The proposal would allow Walker's Department of Health Services to change state laws dealing with medical care for children, parents and childless adults, prescription drug plans for seniors, nursing home care for the elderly, and long-term care for the elderly and disabled outside of nursing homes. The programs affected would include the BadgerCare Plus and BadgerCare Core plans, FamilyCare and potentially SeniorCare. "It's a shockingly broad delegation of legislative authority to the Department of Health Services," said Jon Peacock, research director for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.