RACINE — A Burlington area woman and Kenosha man Monday spoke about their lack of health care coverage at a press conference designed to build support for Gov. Scott Walker accepting $12 billion in federal aid over 10 years to expand BadgerCare.
Walker previously said he would not take federal aid available under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The event at the Bray Community Center, 924 Center St., also included Democratic Assembly minority leader state Rep. Peter Barca, was hosted by a group called Wisconsin Jobs Now.
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in a report issued in November that if Wisconsin takes the new Medicaid money, in 10 years an additional 211,000 citizens will be enrolled in BadgerCare — beyond the increase that would occur without the ACA.
“I’m here today as a face of among thousands,” Genevive Klimala, 37, of the Town of Burlington told the roughly 40 people attending at the Bray Center.
Klimala said she previously worked full time while going to school before deciding she couldn’t do both adequately and is now a full-time student seeking a bachelor’s degree in social work. Because she is has no children, BadgerCare, Wisconsin’s version of Medicaid, will not cover her. The Core Plan, for adults with no dependent children, had a waiting list of 149,165 people as of Thursday.
“Where’s the help, however temporary, for those of us who choose not to have children?” Klimala said.
Scott Page of Kenosha said his job and a tool-and-die maker was outsourced about two years ago. Since then he’s been without health insurance, and the only work he’s found has been for temp agencies.
Invariably, Page said, as he approaches 90 days with a company, the point at which he’d be eligible for company-sponsored insurance, “They always seem to end my employment just before that.”
Barca, of Kenosha, whose 64th Assembly district includes part of Mount Pleasant, said he has talked with Walker recently about taking the federal money to expand BadgerCare. He said Walker told him he is “at least open to this. I would say he’s on the bubble.”