Area leaders call on Evers, GOP to budget BadgerCare expansion

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- The state budget is anticipated Thursday, and community leaders and local politicians are calling on Governor Evers and the Republican-led legislature to include BadgerCare expansion as part of its funding.

They say they speak for local voters, who passed advisory referendums to expand BadgerCare in 2014 by large majorities in the counties of Portage, Wood, Oneida, Lincoln and Clark.

"When people went to the polls, this BadgerCare expansion didn't ask them if they were Republican or Democrat," noted Lincoln County supervisor Hans Breitenmoser. "Nothing else mattered; this isn't a partisan issue."

He, and other local leaders, say the expansion is geared toward those above the poverty line, but who can't get insurance through an employer. Dr. Robert Kraig, the executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, estimates that 75,000 Wisconsinites are left without medical insurance.

The Citizen Action of Wisconsin group says they anticipate push-back from GOP leaders.

Supervisors from Lincoln, Wood and Oneida Counties joined the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Monday for the announcement, as well as leaders from Naomi, a faith organization, and Healthcare Consumers and Medical Professionals.