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Wisconsin’s union employees are upset about a loss of collective bargaining and a mandated increase in benefit payments, including for health insurance. But at least these employees would still have health insurance. What has been widely ignored about Walker’s bill in part because of the speed with which he’s fisting it down Wisconsin’s gullet is a sneaky provision that paves the way for him to cut, or eliminate, Medicaid and BadgerCare healthcare benefits for low-income people.

So in short: Walker’s administrative rules change would allow the Department of Health Services, via the overwhelmingly GOP-controlled budget committee, to change state laws unilaterally, skipping the legislative process altogether.

the governor said, “The alternative [to state employee health and pension changes] is to look at 1,500 layoffs of state employees or close to 200,000 children who would be bumped off Medicaid-related programs.” At the time, PolitiFact Wisconsin asked, “But can he remove children from Medicaid, the state-federal program that pays medical bills for low-income individuals and families?”

Not without the administrative rules change he can’t—the changes he’s going to get when this bill passes. The advantage of this approach to gutting Medicaid is that it avoids the nuisance legislative process that is currently gumming up a similar war on the poor in Texas.

via Burning Down Wisconsin: The Hidden Budget Bill Item Even Worse Than Union Busting | The Awl.

Also in this article – you just have to see this paragraph – Unbelievable –

Once it became clear that Democrats would not be seen in public, the state patrol was ordered to retrieve them and drag them back to make quorum. That State Patrol is newly under the command of Stephen Fitzgerald, one of Governor Scott Walker’s latest appointments.

Stephen just happens to be the father of Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald—Wisconsin’s most powerful Republicans. (After being trounced by a 2-to-1 margin in the November election for Dodge County sheriff, Fitzgerald was rewarded with the State Patrol position.)

http://www.theawl.com/2011/02/burning-down-wisconsin-the-hidden-budget-bill-item-even-worse-than-union-busting

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