WI Committee Approves Walker Plan To Drug Test Medicaid Recipients, Others

Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during a town hall meeting Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
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Wisconsin’s budget committee on Thursday approved Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) proposal to make it the first state in the nation to require a drug test for Medicaid recipients, among other regulations.

The Joint Finance Committee approved the measure, and several others, to be included in the state’s budget this summer.

The committee also approved of Walker’s proposals to require drug tests for adults without dependents who receive food stamps and are applying for coverage with the state’s BadgerCare program, which aims to insure people ineligible for Medicaid, and his proposal to expand the state’s food stamp work requirement to include parents — but only to certain regions of the state at first, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The paper noted that all of the proposals, including monthly premiums for childless adults enrolled in the state’s BadgerCare program, require federal approval.

Critics of drug testing for public programs say it does little to catch or deter drug use, nor to save tax dollars.

In 2012, an attempt to drug test welfare in Florida was found to have cost more than it saved in denied welfare funds to drug users — and that was before the costly lawsuits that followed.

A 2015 analysis from ThinkProgress found that tested welfare recipients used drugs at lower rates than the general population.

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