Scott Walker Wants To Kick Men Out Of State's Reproductive Health Services

Scott Walker claims to be a Christian. Yet he is constantly cutting services for the working poor and unemployed. Which raises the question: What would Jesus do? Remember, this was a cat who hung out with prostitutes and assorted people of ill-repute. Wonder how he'd feel about Scott "I loves me some Jesus!" Walker throwing the poor to the wolves to pay for tax cuts for businesses?

Greg Hartman was waiting tables to support himself through college in the fall of 2010 when his hometown of Manitowoc, Wisc., experienced an outbreak of HIV and the hepatitis C virus. After finding out his best friend had been infected with hepatitis, the uninsured 22-year-old decided he needed to get checked out as well -- but the tests were going to cost him more than $300 out of pocket.

"There's no way I could have afforded it on my own," said Hartman, who brings in only $150 to $200 a week from his restaurant job.

Hartman said he went to the University of Wisconsin's campus health care center and applied for BadgerCare -- the state's Medicaid-funded family planning program, which reimburses low-income men and women for sexually transmitted disease testing, birth control services, cancer screenings and other preventative reproductive care. Through BadgerCare, Hartman was able to afford to get tested for both HIV and hepatitis C -- he tested positive for the latter.

"If I didn't qualify for BadgerCare, I would have just said '[screw] it' and not gone into the clinic in the first place," he told HuffPost. "I would never have known I had hepatitis."

Although the BadgerCare family planning program doesn’t cover Hartman's treatment, he was able to afford two different HIV tests, a liver panel and potentially life-saving hepatitis tests through the subsidized program.

But the nearly 7,000 other low-income Wisconsin men who use BadgerCare may soon be out of luck. Scott Walker, the state's Republican governor, has proposed eliminating men entirely from the program in his latest budget bill. That move could cost Wisconsin all of its federal family planning funds, policy experts warn.

[...] Abortion rights advocates in Wisconsin are convinced that Walker and the GOP lawmakers are just looking for underhanded, politically acceptable ways to change the BadgerCare program so significantly that the U.S. government is forced to cut all federal family planning funding to the state.

"Taking men out of the program not only serves to remove critical health care for men, but it puts us out of compliance with our agreement with the federal government and puts the entire BadgerCare program at risk," said Tanya Atkinson, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Wisconsin. "It's a politically palatable way of systematically dismantling Wisconsin's family planning program."


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