MADISON, WI (AP)—Gov. Evers pledged Thursday to “fight like hell” to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin, a day after Republican legislative leaders said they would kill his proposal next week.

A defiant Evers held a news conference with Democratic lawmakers to urge the public to call Republicans and tell them to approve Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion is a centerpiece of Evers’ two-year budget proposal. Taking the money would make 1-point-6 billion dollars available in federal money to pay for a host of other health care priorities, while also making Medicaid available to about 82,000 additional poor childless adults and parents.