Monday, August 17, 2015

Is Scott Walker a ruthless con man...?

There's no way I can add anything to the following reporters comments below, about Scott Walker's "Family Care" con. Come on, even "Stand with Walker" Borg-ites will feel like taking a shower after this one. Wausau Daily Harold:
It was the week after Christmas and before New Year’s in 2011, the end of Walker’s first
year as governor. Our usual political reporter was off with family, and so I was given the job of calling in to a news conference Walker had called to announce an end to the state’s cap on Family Care enrollments.

This was greeted as terrific news. Family Care, which is a Medicaid program that helps elderly people and those with disabilities to stay in their homes rather than go into nursing homes, is a popular program and it helps a lot of people.

Walker and Republicans had placed a cap on enrollments shortly after coming in to office in 2011. This end-of-year announcement meant the program would do away with its waiting lists and would expand from 57 to all 72 counties in Wisconsin. It was “very good news,” the executive director of the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Central Wisconsin told me.

So, great. Walker had a change of heart. We reported the news.

And then that night a Wisconsin political reporter, not me, scooped that, in fact, Wisconsin had been ordered by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare to lift the cap and expand the program. It was illegal not to do so.

Walker had called a press conference to take credit for something he’d spent a year resisting, a policy he had changed only when he was forced to do so.

I felt like a sucker for writing a credulous, straightforward account of the policy change. As I remember it, we ran my story in print the next day, only to then have to pick up the Associated Press’s better, less bamboozled report the next day, explaining that Walker had been forced to make the amazing policy change he’d touted as his own. Well, you win some and you lose some. I remember this story because it embarrassed me.

Now it is 2015 and Walker is running for president. You’ll never guess what happened this year. In the budget he proposed this year, Walker wanted to dismantle Family Careand a related program known as IRIS. Those proposals were altered in the budget process, with some portions of the proposed cuts restored. The program is now going to be overseen by insurance companies.

Maybe Walker should call a news conference to brag that he saved the program. 

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