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Committee approves FamilyCare expansion

The state's budget committee approved more money Thursday to expand the Family Care program.

The Joint Finance panel voted 14-1 to spend almost $80 million to help more seniors and disabled people live in community-based settings instead of nursing homes.

The funding is about $2 million less than what Gov. Jim Doyle requested.

Also, the committee scrapped Doyle's idea to take away the Legislature's oversight of the program.

Kitty Rhoades, committee co-chair, said the governor's plan would force counties to take part and there's not a clear vision of what might happen.

Seven counties have Family Care now.

It started with a pilot program in five counties and lawmakers agreed last year to expand it statewide eventually.

Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said future generations will be thankful Family Care is in place because it gives clients more living options.

But Rep. Robin Vos, R-Racine, who cast the only no vote, called it a massive government expansion.

Vos said it might cost millions more than anyone expects.