Former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle offered a rare comment on the policies of Republican Governor Scott Walker following a speech in Madison: Doyle said Walker's budgets for health care and education were completely contrary to what he worked for during his eight years in office.
Doyle has taken a low profile since leaving office more than two years ago, but when asked about Governor Walker's sweeping changes to Wisconsin's BadgerCare program, the former Governor opened up: "It's absolutely contrary to what the direction has gone, under both Governor Thompson and under me."
Walker's budget would restrict BadgerCare to people at or below the federal poverty level, opening the program to thousands of adults without kids but moving a greater number of parents off the program in the process. Walker would also reject federal money for an expansion of BadgerCare, but Doyle contends the decision is bigger than that.
"Wisconsin is the one state that's actually contracting its health care coverage, because we're moving people who are well over those income levels off of BadgerCare under this proposal and moving them. Who knows where they'll go."
Walker's plan assumes those who earn more than the federal poverty level will sign up for subsidized insurance coverage under a new federal health exchange.
Doyle also said Walker's education budget was contrary to his own: "I just think the investment in public schools is critical to the long-term health of the state."
Because of revenue limits, Walker's budget would hold state aid to schools largely flat aside from grants for the best and worst performing schools.
Asked how it felt to watch Governor Walker's approach on what Doyle saw as his trademark issues in office, the former Governor said, "life moves on."
"I know that the political world doesn't stop when a particular officeholder leaves office. It moves on. And so we'll have these debates."
Doyle's remarks came after a speech to a young lawyers conference organized by the State Bar of Wisconsin.