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Scott Walker Eliminated Funding for ShotSpotter Program

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Monday, 20 October 2014
in Wisconsin

policeMILWAUKEE - Sometimes, when you are a career politician like Scott Walker, you just claim credit for a sexy sounding program whether you supported it or not. That's apparently what Walker did when pressed on his Public Safety record in last Friday's debate with Mary Burke.

Scott Walker cited the Milwaukee Police Department's ShotSpotter program as one of his major accomplishments. The technology, in use in high-crime areas in the city, uses sensors to detect gunshots. According to Milwaukee's Democratic mayor Tom Barrett, "This is a very effective law enforcement tool".

Unfortunately, when Barrett asked for state money to run the program back in 2013, Walker was not that supportive. Scott Walker eliminated funding for the ShotSpotter program in Milwaukee - $445,400 in the 2013-2015 budget.

Walker defended his cut by lauding his signature of the bill with reduced funding for the program. The governor called Mary Burke’s comments denouncing his cuts as “hogwash.”

Only after intense pressure from the public and law enforcement officials did Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature partially restored funding by $175,000.

That's the real story.

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Large Health Insurer Getting Over $12 Million from Walker BadgerCare Decision

Posted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Robert Kraig is Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, 221 S. 2nd St.,
User is currently offline
on Friday, 17 October 2014
in Wisconsin

anthem-blue-cross-wiSTATEWIDE - According to an analysis by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Wellpoint Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, part of the nation’s largest for-profit health insurance company, will make an estimated $12,785,484 in additional revenue each year because Governor Walker rejected enhanced federal funds for BadgerCare.

On a media call earlier this week Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign released evidence of a relationship between large insurance industry campaign donations to Scott Walker and the rejection of federal funds for BadgerCare. The data shows that the insurance industry was the biggest beneficiary of the decision to reject the funds for BadgerCare and has made major large campaign contributions to Governor Walker and leading Legislators.

scott-walkerThe estimate of additional revenue for Wellpoint Anthem Blue Cross is based on their market share in the new federal marketplace in Wisconsin, enrollment numbers for former BadgerCare recipients, and the average tax subsidy that each new enrollee will receive from the federal government. It does not include additional premiums paid by individual health insurance consumers.

Lobbying records from the Government Accountability Board show that Wellpoint Anthem Blue Cross lobbied for 159 hours on the part of the state budget related to BadgerCare funding. It also lobbied for 238 hours on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which could have included expanded BadgerCare eligibility. According to records compiled by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, executives from the company and its subsidiaries donated at least $42,850 to Governor Walker.

“The evidence is clear that the nation’s largest for-profit insurance company benefited substantially from Scott Walker’s disastrous decision to reject federal funds for BadgerCare,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “It disturbing to believe that tens of thousands of Wisconsin families may be either without vital health coverage or paying too much for coverage just so Governor Walker’s campaign contributors can pad their profits.”

Lobbying records released Thursday by Citizen Action of Wisconsin from the Government Accountability Board (GAB) call into question Governor Scott Walker’s blanket denial that the insurance industry lobbied his administration to reject enhanced federal funds for BadgerCare.

Television journalist Greg Neumann of WKOW TV 27 in Madison captured Scott Walker on video stumbling to respond to Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s revelation that insurance industry donations may have swayed his decisions to reject hundreds of millions of federal dollars for BadgerCare.  In the news story, Walker says on camera that “to my knowledge they [the insurance industry] haven’t lobbied me personally or anyone in my administration on this.”

However, lobbying records from GAB show that three powerful insurance industry trade associations and Wellpoint Anthem Blue Cross spend 363 hours lobbying on the part of the state budget related to BadgerCare funding. Wellpoint Anthem Blue Cross spent an additional 238 hours lobbying on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The expansion of BadgerCare is a key part of the health care law.

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State Records Show Insurance Industry Lobbied on BadgerCare

Posted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Robert Kraig is Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, 221 S. 2nd St.,
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 16 October 2014
in Wisconsin

scott_walkerContrary to Scott Walker's campaign denial that the insurance industry lobbied his administration to reject federal funds for BadgerCare, records show that the Alliance of Health Insurers, Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and Wellpoint/Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Wisconsin spent at least 363 hours lobbying.


STATEWIDE - Lobbying records from the Government Accountability Board (GAB) call into question Governor Scott Walker’s blanket denial that the insurance industry lobbied his administration to reject enhanced federal funds for BadgerCare.

On a media call earlier this week Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign released evidence of a relationship between large insurance industry campaign donations to Scott Walker and the rejection of federal funds for BadgerCare. The data shows that the insurance industry was the biggest beneficiary of the decision to reject the funds for BadgerCare and has made major large campaign contributions to Governor Walker and leading Legislators.

Television journalist Greg Neumann of WKOW TV 27 in Madison captured Scott Walker on video stumbling to respond to Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s revelation that insurance industry donations may have swayed his decisions to reject hundreds of millions of federal dollars for BadgerCare.

In the news story, Walker says on camera that “to my knowledge they [the insurance industry] haven’t lobbied me personally or anyone in my administration on this.”

However, lobbying records from GAB show that three powerful insurance industry trade associations and one large national for-profit insurance company lobbied substantially on the part of the state budget related to BadgerCare funding.

The records show that Alliance of Health Insurers, Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and Wellpoint/Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Wisconsin spent at least 363 hours lobbying on the section of the state budget that includes BadgerCare funding.

Unlike GAB reporting requirements on individual bills, reporting rules on subjects in the state budget do not require specific disclosure of what position was taken, only what areas of the budget were lobbied.

“Lobbying records certainly cast doubt on Governor Walker’s blanket denial that his administration was lobbied by large insurance interests to reject federal funds for BadgerCare,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “We are very concerned that over 26,000 Wisconsin parents may be going without vital health coverage because of more pay-to-play corruption in the Walker Administration.”

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Where Does Walker Stand?

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 15 October 2014
in Wisconsin

walkerGREEN BAY - Every few days, as I drive over to the Piggly Wiggly in Howard, I pass a yard sign that proudly proclaims “We Stand With Walker”. It’s a Scott Walker campaign sign and I guess it makes these people believe they are heroically standing up against something or other.

Anyway, this morning in my email I received a interesting link from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel entitled Watch live: Walker meets with Journal Sentinel editors, reporters. I wanted to see how Scott Walker answered their questions.

Now, I'm no Walker fan, but at least I was willing to listen. What I heard truly shocked me. I listened to the reporters ask him some fairly specific questions in “Walker on jobs pledge”, “Walker on his abortion stance”, and “Walker on the minimum wage” and saw nothing but a politician intent upon dodging the questions.

Really, where does this guy stand, exactly, on any of these issues? Does he think he should be held accountable on his failure to meet his 2010 pledge to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin during his first term? Does he personally believe all abortions should be banned, even in cases of rape or incest, after 20 weeks, or never because its a hard choice? If you don't raise the minimum wage here in Wisconsin, how exactly will everyone get these new higher paid jobs that he says will become available?

I challenge any of my neighbors, who “Stand With Walker”, to listen to these video links and honestly tell me what he and they stand for on each issue.

My parents, proud members of the “Greatest Generation”, born in 1905 and 1912, saw a lot of politicians in their lives and had one major rule - “it doesn't matter what they stand for, so much as that they stand for something”. “Wishy washy” politicians, who you couldn't pin down, were the worst kind.

I listened to these reporters, some of which I know, try to pin Walker down and saw their frustration grow. Is this all we expect of our governor?

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Campaign Contributors Benefited from Walker Rejection of BadgerCare Dollars

Posted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Robert Kraig is Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, 221 S. 2nd St.,
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 14 October 2014
in Wisconsin

scottwalker-dreamInsurance Companies getting windfall of public dollars also donated big money to Walker and legislators.


Statewide - On Monday morning, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign called into question relationship between large campaign donations and the rejection of federal funds for BadgerCare. When Governor Walker rejected federal funds for BadgerCare, an estimated 87,000 Wisconsin residents were forced to purchase private health insurance coverage from the health insurance marketplace. Tens of thousands fell into an entirely unnecessary coverage gap.

The new data shows that the insurance industry was the biggest beneficiary of the decision to reject the funds for BadgerCare, and have donated massively to the campaigns of Governor Walker and Legislators who pushed the policy through.

According to data collected by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the insurance industry, including insurance agents, have contributed over $1.26 million to Governor Walker from the period between 2009 and 2013. This is over three times more than Governor Jim Doyle received from the industry from 2000-2012. The insurance industry also gave nearly $1 million to State Legislators. The industry contributed over four times as much to Republican members of the State Assembly as their Democratic counterparts, and 2.7 times as much to State Senate Republicans. Data for 2014 is not yet available but experts believe the insurance industry contributions will be substantial.

These campaign contributions are dwarfed by the large financial windfalls for insurance companies resulting from the rejection of enhanced federal BadgerCare dollars. Federal marketplace plans are much more expensive than BadgerCare, and put the insurance industry in a position to profit substantially. Tracking the federal tax credits individuals denied BadgerCare receive instead to purchase private coverage, the data compiled by Citizen Action of Wisconsin shows that Wisconsin insurance companies would receive up to $350 million per year extra in tax credits for individual health policies. This does not include the premiums paid by individual consumers or new small business premiums.

“Many across Wisconsin have been confounded by Scott Walker’s seemingly irrational decision to leave hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table that could have strengthened BadgerCare,”said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “This data raised the disturbing specter that Walker and conservatives in the Legislature sold out their own constituents for campaign cash from the insurance industry. Leaving tens of thousands of Wisconsin families without health coverage in return for campaign donations is morally repugnant.”

“The question of federal funds for BadgerCare is a clear example of where the public wants one thing, and the insurance companies want another, and unfortunately the insurance companies succeeded in getting their way”, said Mike McCabe, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. “There is a disturbingly high presence of contributions directly to the officials that had the ability to get the industry what it wanted.”

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