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Governor Walker calls special session on Medicaid

Walker wants to move deadline to April 1

MADISON, WI - Governor Scott Walker has called a special legislative session to extend the deadline for moving 77,000 people off Medicaid.

Walker says he wants to see the deadline moved to April 1. That would give people more time to get insurance through the online exchange created under the federal health overhaul. Walker had given the 77,000 until Dec. 15 to use the exchange, but the website has been fraught with problems.

Walker called the roll out of the "Obamacare" website, healthcare.gov an "abysmal failure." He said less than 9,000 individuals from Wisconsin have been able to enroll in the Marketplace due to the website glitches.

"The whole reason that we're here today is because the federal government can't get their act together," Governor Walker said.

"We see very vividly it's not working," Walker said of the exchange. "We want to make sure nobody falls through the cracks."

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, told The Associated Press he wasn't sure how much support Walker has in that chamber for the proposal, saying the Legislature shouldn't have to "bail out" Democrats for the problems of the health care overhaul launch.

He said he'd rather extend the deadline on a month-to-month basis.

"I'd just like to explore that first," he said. "I'm working with the governor to get there."

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Madison Democrat, sent Walker a letter on Tuesday asking him to let the 77,000 stay on Medicaid through the end of March, when the exchange closes for everyone. Her letter came a few days after advocacy groups wrote to

Walker expressing concern about the Dec. 15 deadline. They asked Walker to spell out his contingency plans if enrollment on the exchange continues to be difficult.


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