MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin has dramatically increased the use of private vendors to administer Medicaid programs, which have grown in size and complexity too fast for budgeting and financial management practices to keep pace, an audit released Tuesday said.

The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau report recommended a series of improvements to better track the $7.5 billion in annual spending on Medicaid programs like BadgerCare, Senior Care and Family Care, which benefit nearly 1.2 million poor, elderly and disabled Wisconsin residents.

Democrats seized on the report, which Republican lawmakers ordered in January, as providing alternatives for saving money and improving Medicaid beyond Gov. Scott Walker's proposal that would result in about 65,000 children and adults losing coverage.

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