The health care plan Governor Scott Walker introduced in February will arrive on his desk largely unchanged after it received a final OK from Republican state Senators Thursday night.
Republicans also beat back efforts from Democrats to change the rest of the budget.
At various points this year, several Republican senators criticized Walker's plan to reject federal money from the Affordable Care Act for an expansion of BadgerCare. But Thursday night, Senator Dale Schultz of Richland Center was the only one to vote against the governor.
Under Walker's plan, someone earning $11,490 would qualify for BadgerCare. Someone earning more than that, up to $15,282, would not, even though the federal government has offered to initially pick up the full cost for such coverage. Someone at that income level would be eligible for the new federal health insurance exchange.
Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach called the decision irrational and told Senators it would have a human cost.
Erpenbach: "So when you're going out to your fish fries tomorrow night, [the person] who you're going to say 'no' [to] is the person serving you dinner. Who you're going to say 'no' to is perhaps somebody watching your child or your grandchild. Who you're saying 'no' to is, and I know this from experience, the person delivering your pizza."
Erpenbach said money not coming to Wisconsin for BadgerCare would flow to other states instead. Wauwatosa Republican Leah Vukmir said that assumes the money will be there. She thinks it won't.
Vukmir: "What happens when the federal government backs away from that commitment - which they will, great history of it. Well, I will tell you what happens and what will happen. It will create a huge hole in our budget here in the State of Wisconsin."
In the short term, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says this decision will cost state taxpayers $119 million over the next two years and result in about 85,000 fewer people on BadgerCare. The Senate passed this and the rest of the budget on a 17-16 vote.