The Latest: Republicans defend not expanding Medicaid

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican leaders of the Legislature's budget committee are defending their decision not to expand Medicaid as Democratic Gov. Tony Evers proposed.

Republicans said Tuesday the committee they control will approve spending $200 million more in state money in Medicaid over the next two years, without accepting federal money to expand Medicaid as Evers wanted. That would have saved the state $324 million and Evers called for leveraging $1.6 billion in additional federal money.

Republicans say they are increasing funding for hospitals, nursing homes, personal care workers, direct care divers and aids to children and families. Exact numbers about how the Republican plan differs from what Evers proposed were not immediately available.

Sen. Alberta Darling says Republicans are investing in people, not programs, while not expanding welfare.

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Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature were set to decide how much they intend to spend on health care programs over the next two years.

The Legislature's GOP-controlled budget committee was meeting Tuesday to vote on funding for the state's BadgerCare Medicaid program and a host of other health care programs in the state.

Republicans have already decided to reject Gov. Tony Evers' call to expand Medicaid, a move that would save the state $324 million over the next two years because of additional federal funding.

Under Evers' budget, the state would also leverage $1.6 billion in additional federal funds to pay for a wide range of programs targeting women's health, reimbursement rates for doctors and other health care providers, mental health and substance abuse services, dental health care and lead poisoning.

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