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Walker wants to delay shifting 77,000 from BadgerCare to federal insurance exchanges

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Governor Scott Walker asked Wisconsin legislators today to give 77,000 state-funded health care recipients three more months to sign up for Obama-care, before they get cut off from Badger-Care. The Republican Walker called a special legislative session to move up the deadline. He says he wants nobody to fall through the cracks due to the failures of the federal purchasing exchange to get people signed up.

Only 877 Wisconsinites were able to sign up during the first month the exchange has been open. Senate G-O-P Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he would only support month-to-month extensions instead of a blanket three-month delay. Fitzgerald said he didn't want to quote, "bail out" Democrats for the failures of the Obama-care package they supported.

Wisconsin Democrats wanted the state to go all-in on Obama-care, by taking millions more in Medicaid funds to cover more lower-income people. Instead of doing that, Walker cut off Badger-Care recipients making up to 138-percent of the state's poverty level, forcing them to use the federal exchange. With a three-month delay, Walker said the exchange's Web site should be ready for them by a new April deadline.

Up to 700,000 Wisconsinites were expected to get their coverage through the exchanges. But that number will go down, because President Obama today granted an additional year for people to keep plans that don't meet the law's standards. Thousands of Wisconsinites had that coverage cut off since October.