Gov. Scott Walker has proposed various provisions to Wisconsin's budget, including requiring people who receive welfare to undergo drug testing and setting limits on the length of time they can get the benefits.
Walker said he plans to add the changes in the state budget he will give to Wisconsin’s state Legislature -- in which Republicans hold a majority -- on Feb. 3.
In a statement, Walker said he thinks the budget will help remove barriers that keep people from achieving economic freedom and prosperity.
The changes would apply to able-bodied adults with no children receiving Medicare and everyone applying to receive state-sponsored benefits – namely Wisconsin’s food stamp program called FoodShare and unemployment insurance.
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He said he also wants to decrease the amount of time -- from five years to four -- that individuals can receive welfare benefits under the Wisconsin Works program.
Walker introduced this proposal during his 2014 gubernatorial re-election campaign.
One of Walker’s re-election platforms promised “moving individuals from government dependence to true independence and reducing the number of uninsured in the state of Wisconsin to the second lowest rate in the Midwest.”
Walker turned down federal funds to expand Wisconsin’s Medicaid program for the 2013-15 budget. Instead, he extended coverage to all those at or below the poverty line and encouraged all those above that line to buy health plans offered through the federal health exchange marketplace.
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The Department of Health and Human Services defines the poverty level for a family of four as making $23,850 annually.
Talks of reforming public aid projects occur as discussions begin to circulate about whether or not Walker will run as a potential Republican presidential candidate for 2016.