As JFC Meets Today, Legal Memo Says Republicans Can Release Funds Immediately

Jun 06, 2024

As JFC Meets Today, Legal Memo Says Republicans Can Release Funds Immediately

MADISON, Wis. — Today, the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee meets in Madison. One thing not on the agenda? Releasing already-approved crisis funding to support health care in western Wisconsin in the wake of hospital closures by HSHS and Prevea Health.

For months, Republicans have claimed it is impossible to release the funds—but a new legal opinion from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council’s office describes such releases as not only possible, but “routine.” As Republicans are outright lying to Wisconsinites to further their own political games, hospitals and providers are left to deal with this health care crisis alone.

As new reporting from the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram details, the Republican refusal to release $15 million in already-approved crisis funding for western Wisconsin hospitals is putting a strain on emergency rooms and labor and delivery departments. This comes on the heels of Marshfield Clinic’s announcement it was pausing labor and delivery at its Rice Lake clinic entirely, forcing Wisconsinites to drive an hour or more to deliver their babies at other hospitals.

“Republicans are out of excuses for not releasing this funding,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Joe Oslund. “As GOP politicians like Duey Stroebel and Shannon Zimmerman continue to play cynical political games with health care crisis funds that have already been approved and signed into law, Wisconsinites are being forced to drive hours out of their way for care they should be able to access in their own communities. We look forward to delivering accountability this November.”