Democrats say a proposal to expand Family Care is just Governor Walker trying to claim credit for something he had no control over.
The governor on Wednesday offered a plan to lift an enrollment cap and to make the program providing long-term care assistance for the elderly and disabled available in every county. State Representative Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) says federal officials actually deserve credit for the decision, based on a letter sent to the state earlier this month that informed the administration that program enrollment could not be capped under the waiver agreement with the state.
The December 13th letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ordered the state to remove the cap, and to admit anyone who had applied after it was put in place July 1st as part of the state budget. Richards says Walker taking credit for something he is being forced to do by the Obama administration is “despicable.”
Richards and several other Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to federal officials earlier this year, asking them to reject Wisconsin’s request for a cap on the program.
The Walker administration maintains Wednesday’s press conference, which made no mention of the letter, was part of an ongoing commitment to lift the cap on Family Care enrollment. A spokesman for the governor says the cap was always intended to be temporary.
In a statement released Thursday, state Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith adds that the plan to expand the program to all 72 counties goes beyond any ongoing discussions with federal officials.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:08)