It seemed like Scott Walker was seeing the light and maybe was tired of being called Scrooge during the Holiday Season. You almost thought something was wrong with your radio or TV if you heard Walker sounding like he being a pretty cool guy who wanted to suddenly help out those poor people on Family Care.
Walker had capped enrollment at about 43,000 people in the state budget that took effect July 1. He and the Republicans debated that the program was growing too rapidly. 60 of 72 counties offer state Family Care programs, which provide long-term care options for the elderly and disabled to stay out of nursing homes.
It was reported that Walker was glowingly going to do the right thing and lift the cap on the funding. Walker made no mention he was forced to lift the cap:
Walker, a Republican, imposed a ceiling on enrollment in the state’s Family Care programs in the state budget that took effect July 1. Republican lawmakers contended during the budget debate that the programs, available in 57 of the state’s 72 counties, were growing too rapidly.
But on Wednesday, Walker said at a news conference that ongoing talks with program providers have identified $80 million in efficiencies that will enable his administration to end the enrollment cap and expand the programs to the 15 counties that currently don’t offer them.
The Legislature would have to approve the move by passing a bill, but that’s all but certain; Republicans control the state Senate and Assembly and minority Democrats support Family Care.
Walker said the cap was always meant as a “time out” to reassess Family Care, not as a permanent freeze.
Many thought that maybe Walker was finally turning around. Maybe he was moving more to the political center due to being paranoid about the Recall efforts. Maybe we didn’t know the true nice guy…
Well, it was not what he wanted to do. It was what he was told to do.
Federal officials ordered Gov. Scott Walker’s administration to immediately lift an enrollment cap on a state program designed to keep the disabled and elderly out of nursing homes.
Walker held a news conference Wednesday to announce he wanted to lift the cap he imposed on Family Care in the state budget. But he made no mention of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ order. All he told reporters was that state health officials had identified $80 million in program efficiencies that would enable them to lift the cap.
But the CMS in a Dec. 13 letter ordered Walker’s administration to lift the cap and immediately enroll anyone waiting to join Family Care.
Walker’s spokesman said Thursday morning the governor had been planning to lift the cap for months.
After the full story was reported, state Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) was spot-on when he said “to try and take credit for this move was despicable.” It is indeed true. Walker wanted to take credit for something that he was told he better do. That’s pretty disgusting.