DHS secretary-designee tours Dove Healthcare West

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A proposed expansion in Medicaid is behind a visit to Eau Claire Thursday by Wisconsin’s potential Department of Health Services Secretary.

DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm joined state Sen. Jeff Smith at Dove Healthcare West.

In his recent budget proposal, Gov. Tony Evers called for covering about 82,000 more adults who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level through Medicaid.

Palm, who most recently worked in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under former President Obama, says the Medicaid expansion is an anchor in the DHS budget.

"You know I think it's a new day. There's a new opportunity here to have a fresh conversation and I'm committed, and the governor's committed, to engaging in that conversation and really highlighting how the proposals, the investments that we are proposing actually get at the concerns we're hearing from around the state,” said Palm.

Palm says an increased federal payment would save the state $324 million during two years.

A recent statement from the state Republican Party said Evers' proposal quote "could send healthcare premiums skyrocketing."