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Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Gov. Scott Walker announces Family Care expansion in northeast Wisconsin

Gov. Scott Walker announced Monday the expansion of Family Care into northeast Wisconsin, raising the number of counties with the program from 57 to 64.

Family Care was established in 1998 and offers access to “long-term care, offering independence and a greater quality of life, by allowing people to stay in their own homes longer,” Walker said in a statement.

The expansion includes Kewaunee, Marinette, Menomonie and Shawano counties. The Department of Health Services found expanding Family Care to the remaining counties could reduce long-term care costs by $34.7 million over 10 years.

“This is a win-win for the entire state, and people who are aging or who have physical or developmental disabilities,” Walker said in the statement. “By extending Family Care services, they can have a better quality of life, more independence and they can avoid the expense of moving into a nursing home before it is necessary.”

The move was well received by both sides of the aisle and related interest groups, although Democrats criticized the delay in the rollout of the expansion.

State Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, state Reps. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, and John Nygren, R-Marinette, were among those who supported the measure.

“Not only will this ensure our most vulnerable citizens receive the services they need, it will address an inequity that currently exists as taxpayers in our area are paying for a state program they can’t access,” Nygren said in a release.

Cowles voiced similar sentiments in a Monday statement saying, “This is about fairness, and I applaud the governor for expanding the program to bring services for the nearly 1,600 residents currently on waiting lists in northeastern Wisconsin.”

Conversely, state Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, while acknowledging the positive impact of the Walker’s move, criticized the delay in expanding the program.

“I cannot help but remain troubled by the fact that this Governor and his Republican colleagues in the Legislature initially refused to provide access [to] it in the first place,” Hansen said in a statement.

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