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Wednesday, September 28th, 2005 -- 8:41 AM

by Bob Hague

A bid to override a veto by Governor Jim Doyle has fallen short. The state Senate failed to get a two-thirds vote to override Doyle?s veto which eliminated a one point four percent increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes.

New Berlin Republican, Mary Lazich, said the debate was about caring for the frail elderly. "The most vulnerable of our population that resides in the nursing homes," said Lazich. "What we're doing here today is to provide a measly 1.4% increase, for their meager existence." Poplar Democrat Bob Jauch said he had a bill ready, which would provide the reimbursement rate increase vetoed by Doyle. But Republicans, Jauch implied, weren't interested in that compromise. "This vote is all about power and politics, and has nothing to do with caring for the frail elderly," said Jauch.

In the end, the governor's veto was upheld on a 20-13 vote; Senator Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee was the only Democrat to vote for override. Representatives of the nursing home industry told reporters that their members need some type of relief to contend with rising Medicaid referrals in increasing costs.

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