Medicaid Work Rules 'Stalling' in Wisconsin as Governor Fights for Reelection

October 16, 2018 AT 11:05 AM

By Dan Diamond

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sought for years to put Medicaid recipients to work. Now federal officials have given him most of what he wanted, but he‘s delaying the process for fear the changes will doom his flailing reelection bid, say three federal officials familiar with the deliberations.

“Wisconsin’s been stalling,” said one official, adding the Trump administration has been ready to formally approve and announce the state’s new work requirements for weeks. “It’s ended up being a lot of hurry-up-and-wait.”

The Walker administration disputed the governor is slow-walking the process, saying the state needs time to iron out the details and blaming delays on the Trump administration. "There are ongoing conversations," said Julie Lund, a spokesperson for Wisconsin's Department of Health Services. "We've felt it's close for a while."

Walker's hesitation to impose the strict Medicaid work rules comes as many Republicans have retreated from health care on the campaign trail — and as Democrats hammer the message the GOP is working to strip health protections from millions of people. Democrats have an 18-point national advantage on health care, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Sunday.

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