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State Rep. Steve Doyle is calling on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to reject a part of the biennial budget that the governor himself proposed to eliminate one health care program and switch another from nonprofit to for-profit.

The Onalaska Democrat sent a letter to Walker on Thursday urging him to retain the Include, Respect, I Self-Direct program, also known as IRIS, and not to put Family Care in the hands of for-profit agencies.

The programs “were designed to keep our elderly and disabled out of nursing homes and institutions and to cut down on Medicaid costs,” Doyle said.

IRIS is credited with saving millions in Medicaid money, and an estimated 3,500 people in southwest Wisconsin, including 2,000 in La Crosse County, depend on Family Care, which was piloted in La Crosse.

Like others objecting to Walker’s proposals, Doyle said switching Family Care to a profit-oriented model will jeopardize the quality of care and seniors’ care choices.

“As a representative from one of the Family Care pilot counties, I have seen firsthand how vital and transformative these programs have been for my community,” said Doyle, who, as a member of the La Crosse County Board, helped launch Family Care.

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Reporter

Mike Tighe is the Tribune newsroom's senior citizen. That said, he don't get no respect from the cub reporters as he goes about his duly-appointed rounds on the health, religion and whatever-else-lands-in-his-inbox beats. Call him at 608-791-8446.

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