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Reality Check: Third-Party Ad Targets Walker On BadgerCare

Published On: Sep 22 2010 07:18:03 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 22 2010 10:24:18 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

We the People Wisconsin Fact Finder is taking a look at a third-party ad that focuses on health care, specifically the state's BadgerCare program.

Just what does Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker want to do with BadgerCare? A group of nurses in the ad think they know.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee paid for and produced the ad. It's a liberal political action committee that cites health care reform among its chief issues.

"Walker wants to cut up to 350,000 children and families off health care, calling it an example of government waste," says a nurse in the ad.

A WISC-TV analysis found this needs clarification.

Walker told WISC-TV in an interview last October that BadgerCare has turned into an "entitlement program" and time limits are needed to save money. He said he won't cut people off immediately but would phase them out as they got jobs.

However, last month Walker reversed his positions and said he misspoke and doesn't want time limits. Walker said now he'd like to "reform" BadgerCare, returning it to the "original intent to serve the truly needy" and perhaps change income requirements.

What does that mean for those in BadgerCare? It's hard to say. Walker won't commit to specific details.

About half of the more than 770,000 have been in the program longer than two years, which was a mentioned time limit, and the bulk of them are children. About 400,000 people on the program are either employed or are the spouse or child of someone who is employed.

"Walker wants to use the money to pay for his promises for corporate tax loopholes and tax breaks for the richest 1 percent," says another nurse in the ad.

WISC-TV found this needs clarification.

Walker has never said outright he wants to trade BadgerCare cuts for tax breaks. Although it's true he does want to roll back the combined corporate tax reporting law, as well as get rid of recent tax increases for families making more than $300,000 a year, WISC-TV reported.

Walker points to BadgerCare as a place he believes cuts can be made to help balance the budget, but he's never quantified those cuts so we also don't know if they'd cover the cost of those tax changes, WISC-TV reported.

WISC-TV tried to verify the nurses in the story are actual nurses. However, the Greater Wisconsin Committee refused to release their names and place of employment, saying they feared retaliation for the nurses. The group provided WISC-TV with redacted nursing records but there was no way to verify their accuracy.

If you have a political question for Fact Finder, please send it to question@wtpeople.com.

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