Activists push for Wisconsin to accept federal Medicaid funding

2014-03-05T13:01:00Z 2014-04-15T06:45:57Z Activists push for Wisconsin to accept federal Medicaid fundingMARK SCHAAF Journal Times

RACINE — Saying access to health care is a moral issue, a group of Racine faith leaders and community activists spoke on Ash Wednesday to push for Wisconsin to accept federal health care funding.

About 25 people representing community groups and local Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations held a press conference Wednesday at Christ Church, 5109 Washington Ave.

The group called on Gov. Scott Walker to accept federal money to expand Medicaid. Walker and other state Republican leaders have expressed concerns that federal funding will eventually decrease, leaving the state to pick up the tab, and have approved a different Medicaid plan set to go into effect in April.

The Racine Interfaith Coalition and Community for Change are holding a “Fast 4 Fairness,” in which members will fast from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays throughout March to call attention to the issue.

Jameel Ghuari of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said faith groups must show a united front in battling for health care for all residents.

“We have a system that is not a level playing field for all of us,” Ghuari said.

“We must focus on this issue of health care and making sure that affordable health care is available to all of our citizens, without discrimination. This is a battle that will not be won in a moment, it will not be won in a year. It will take all of our lives.”

Racine resident Chris Aho came to tears during the press conference talking about his struggle to pay his medical bills, noting his wife’s diabetes and his high cholesterol. He said he’s one of thousands of Wisconsinites who are hurt by the current system.

“I work hard, I try my best, I try to support my family. I don’t want to be on any of this assistance, but I need it,” he said. “I’m not asking for much. Just a little bit.”

Aho said his BadgerCare coverage ends April 1, when the state’s new Medicaid plan goes into effect.

The plan ends coverage for about 77,000 adults who earn just above the poverty line, while bringing in 83,000 childless adults currently without coverage, according to The Associated Press. People whose coverage ended will be able to purchase subsidized insurance on the federal exchange.

Walker has said the plan marks the first time everyone living in poverty in Wisconsin will be covered. The Racine Interfaith Coalition, meanwhile, said the plan is inadequate and will end up costing taxpayers more.

The group also called on Racine County to pass a resolution urging the state to accept federal money or, failing that, allow counties to take the money if they so choose.

It chose the Christian season of Lent to highlight health care because Lent focuses on “fasting and prayer to engage, in a deeper way, our journey with God and our journey with one another,” said Rev. Michael Mueller of St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 1015 4 Mile Road.

“We believe that access to health care is a basic human right to which all people are entitled,” Mueller said in a statement. “Further, when presented with the opportunity to expand access to health care for the most needy, we are called to act.”

Fast 4 Fairness

The Racine Interfaith Coalition and Community for Change has “Fast 4 Fairness” events throughout March. Fasting will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the duration up to each person. The public is invited to join in, pray or visit.

• March 8: Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church, 625 College Ave.

• March 15: Atonement Lutheran Church, 2915 Wright Ave.

• March 22: Miracle Center, 1100 Grand Ave.

• March 29: Zoe Ministries, 2130 Racine St.

Copyright 2016 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. Froggy
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    Froggy - March 06, 2014 10:26 am
    How did the gnome miss this photo-op?
  2. tansandy
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    tansandy - March 06, 2014 8:20 am
    Wrong on all accounts. Please show us the details you have!
  3. kid stuff
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    kid stuff - March 06, 2014 6:46 am
    Everything the republicans do is partisan. Why is it that most republican governors are not participating in the market? We pay whether our state accepts it or not. Our state rejected it because President Obama implemented it. Accept that he is president and get over it!
  4. tansandy
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    tansandy - March 06, 2014 5:40 am
    When are you moving?
  5. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - March 05, 2014 8:42 pm
    Don't be silly. God is pulling the wagon.

    Just read the Bible.

    No worries.
  6. Zigmond
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    Zigmond - March 05, 2014 7:40 pm
    Looks like the cleargy has been hijacked by the Progresive Socialists. As a child, I heard of how my relatives got help through Catholic or Lutheran services. Getting welfare was frowned upon, seen as not pullin your weight. Looks like they have thrown in the towel and they are lookin for the easy (sell-your-soul) way out grabbin Gov't $$$ just live eveyone else.

    What happens when everyone is in the wagon,,,, and nobudy is willing to pull the wagon?
  7. whateverusay
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    whateverusay - March 05, 2014 4:57 pm
    What a sad group of commenters. If a couple dozen clergy reminding you what the Bible says about comforting the poor is so annoying, how about this:

    Scott Walker's dumb Medicaid plan costs WI taxpayers MORE money, while it covers LESS people. To keep the hospitals quiet about all the poor people that will be kicked off BadgerCare in a couple of weeks, he wrote them a $30 million dollar check to cover the cost the newly uninsured.

    Want good access to health care at half the price of Wisconsin? Go to Minnesota, they expanded Medicare and the insurance on their marketplace is half of ours. Thanks for nothing, Walker.
  8. americanwarrior
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    americanwarrior - March 05, 2014 2:39 pm
    You have a point...they all use GOD to have taxes to pay for the irresponsible put on the rest of us. I disagree with your atheism but I agree with you that nothing is a right, it needs to be earned and then those who have excess wealth should use free will , not gov taxes, to help the poor and irresponsible. Gates is big lib, he doesn't give up his wealth like 3/4 of it, but I do not care, don't force me!
  9. tansandy
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    tansandy - March 05, 2014 2:16 pm
    Here is a novel idea. Let all the tax exempt churches start paying taxes. All this money will be earmarked to be sent for Medicaid. That way they will have a little skin in the game. it's a win win for everyone!
  10. JT fact checker
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    JT fact checker - March 05, 2014 2:01 pm
    What a sad joke. Access to healthcare is guaranteed. The only question is who is going to pay for it??? How can these ministers give Obama a free pass on any of this? Why not protest yet another delay coming for Obamacare today??? I guess that does not matter????
  11. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - March 05, 2014 1:42 pm
    Saying access to health care is a moral issue, a group of Racine faith leaders and community activists used Ash Wednesday to push for Wisconsin to accept federal health care funding.

    So, what's their position on people continuing to pay federal income taxes which are used to fund Obama's drones and murder people - world-wyde?

    What are they putting their faith in? Because these charlatans dressed in fancy robes are always proclaiming that an unknown force from above and whom they claim to represnt and have a relationship with is: " All-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise." EXCEPT, This unseen force ALWAYS NEEDS MONEY! This unknown force is always poverty stricken - but is still ALL-POWERFUL - it even created you!

    Time for a quick review: "When it comes to nonsense, big-time, major league nonsense, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest nonsense story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

    But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good nonsense story. Holy Moly!"

    I'll tell you what, why don't these dedicated workers of god apply themselves, become healthcare professionals, and work for free - you know, practice what they preach? Or would that be asking too much from those who grovel at the feet of the State? Liars, thieves and cheats in a flowing robe is all they are.
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