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Special session begins today on 90-day BadgerCare extension

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)   Wisconsin lawmakers are returning to Madison this week for a special session on delaying the state's changes to Badger-Care. The first proceeding is at 11 this morning, when the Joint Finance Committee holds a public hearing on Governor Scott Walker's request to wait until March 31st to cut off 77,000 people from the state's health program for the working poor.

Under the new state budget recipients from homes above the poverty line would have to sign up for the federal purchasing exchange under Obama-care. The exchange's Web site has been plagued with problems, although the federal government now says most are fixed. Even so, the Republican Walker says it's only fair for those being pushed into the exchanges to have more time so they can have a better chance of beating the deadlines for signing up.

The current federal deadline is December 15th to get Obama-care coverage by January first. Also, the state would delay new Badger-Care coverage for childless adults below the poverty line. Democrats say it could put people at risk, and they want Republicans to pay for the delay elsewhere.

In addition, Walker wants to push back the scheduled end of the state's high-risk health insurance pool from the end of the year to March 31st. The shutdown would force another 20,000 people to use the Obama-care system for their now-mandatory coverage.