Unjustice of Walker Medicaid Decision Spurs Faith Leaders, Community to "Fast for Fairness"

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Community for Change, Racine Interfaith Coalition call on communities across Wisconsin to join them.

As the season of lent begins, leaders from 26 religious organizations, health care providers and community organizations will come together on Ash Wednesday to fast and pray for the expansion of Medicaid. Organized by the Racine Interfaith Coalition (RIC) and Community for Change, the group is also calling on counties across Wisconsin to do the same.

“We believe that access to health care is a basic human right to which all people are entitled,” says Rev. Michael Mueller of RIC. “Further, when presented with the opportunity to expand access to health care for the most needy, we are called to act.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, individual states were given the opportunity to expand their Medicaid programs with 100% of funding provided by the federal government for the first three years. Governor Scott Walker’s decision to decline to participate means more than than 3,000 low-income residents in Racine County and 80,000 in Wisconsin lose Medicaid coverage as of April 1, 2014. Walker’s alternative plan covers fewer people and, according to independent studies and a report by the Commonwealth Fund will cost Wisconsin taxpayers more.

“The Governor can do the right thing any time and accept Medicaid expansion dollars,” says Kelly Gallaher of Community for Change. “We’re urging him to do this, we want people across Wisconsin to stand with us.”

Individual county boards in Wisconsin may vote to request federal funds to expand Medicaid themselves. The Racine County Health & Human Development Committee has been in possession of a resolution that supports such a request but, to date, has not taken action.

As of January 2014, 19 counties in Wisconsin have voted in the affirmative.

The schedule for Fast 4 Fairness events is:

  •     March 5th - Kick-off event at Christ Church 5109 Washington Ave. in Racine. The event will include a press conference at 11:45 a.m. and an ecumenical observance from 12 p.m.to 1 p.m. Families who have lost their health coverage will share their stories.

Fasting will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout March with duration up to each individual. The public is invited to join in, to pray or visit. People will be able to enroll for health coverage and get health care information from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day of the church events.

o    March 8th - Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church, 625 College Ave.
o    March 15th - Atonement Lutheran Church, 2915 Wright Ave.
o    March 22nd - Miracle Center, 1100 Grand Ave.
o    March 29th - Zoe Ministries, 2130 Racine St.


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Kelly Gallaher
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