HHS official touts Medicaid, mum on Walker choice

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is touting the value of states expanding Medicaid coverage as allowed under the federal health care overhaul law.

But Ken Munson declined Monday to discuss Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's decision to reject the expansion and to turn down a chance for the state to operate a new private marketplace for people to purchase insurance.

Munson spoke at the HealthWatch Wisconsin conference organized by low-income advocacy law firm ABC for Health.

Munson stressed that states can change their minds at any point both on expanding Medicaid and operating the so-called exchange.

ABC for Health director Bobby Peterson says Walker's Medicaid plan "is grounded in political ambition because it makes no sense from a practical, moral or fiscal sense."

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to give an update on how the federal government will implement a private health insurance marketplace in Wisconsin.

Ken Munson was scheduled to speak Monday at the HealthWatch Wisconsin conference.

Munson is a Milwaukee native who served three times as deputy secretary of the state Department of Health Services, most recently in 2010 and 2011.

Gov. Scott Walker has decided against the state implementing the health insurance exchange and instead is deferring to President Barack Obama's administration to set it up.

Walker has also rejected a federally funded expansion of Medicaid, instead opting to tighten income eligibility under the state's Medicaid program which will result in more people getting coverage under the exchange.


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