MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A plan to cut about half a billion dollars from Wisconsin's Medicaid costs put forward by Gov. Scott Walker's administration drew an overwhelmingly negative response at the first of two public hearings Wednesday.

Advocates for the poor, elderly and others covered by a host of Medicaid programs spoke out against the proposal that would lead to increased premiums and the shifting of hundreds of thousands of people into less costly state or private plans.

"This is scary stuff," said Karen Foxgrover, a volunteer advocate for people with disabilities. "I understand what you're saying that these are necessary cuts, but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow."

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