Gov. Walker says Wisconsin won't set up health exchange - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Rep. Kind responds to Gov. Walker's decision on health exchange


Wisconsin (WQOW) - The election season may be over, but politics remains 24/7.  That was clear on Friday when Wisconsin's GOP governor made a decision that was praised by members of his party and criticized by Democrats.

Governor Walker announced that he will let the federal government run the state's health insurance exchanges in which people can shop for private coverage.  He says he talked to hundreds of people, but couldn't find any reason to have Wisconsin run its own insurance exchanges.  "Now, you can call it state-run, you can call it partnership where you can defer to the federal exchange, but in the end, decisions regarding eligibility, minimum standard of coverage and all of the important details are ultimately determined by the federal government," said Governor Walker.

"I'm afraid Governor Walker is playing this very cynical ploy and that is, allow the federal government to try to do it and if there's any hiccup, any skip, any mistake along the way, he'll be able to sit back and point fingers and say, 'See, I told you so.  They can't do it.  It's a losing system.'  That's no answer.  That's not being constructive and finding solutions to the health care crisis that we face in the state," said Rep. Ron Kind, (D) 3rd District.

Congressman Kind says there are disadvantages to having the federal government, and not the state, set it up.  For example, he said the feds are already in the midst of creating or managing programs in other states, so Rep. Kind said you could run the risk of stretching resources.


Statement from Rep. Kathy Bernier

Madison - Representative Kathy Bernier (R- Lake Hallie) today announced her support of Governor Walker's decision to defer setting up a state-based health insurance exchange. "I applaud Governor Walker's action today. This will protect Wisconsin taxpayers," Bernier said.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPAC), otherwise known as "ObamaCare", requires health insurance exchanges be in place by 1 January, 2014. States, however, have three options. 1. Establish a state-based, state-run exchange. 2. Establish a partnership with the federal government, and 3. Allow the federal government to establish a federally funded exchange.

"Wisconsin will follow the letter of the law," Bernier said. "The federal government provided these choices, but in any one of the three choices, federal regulations must be followed. It is not in the financial best interest of Wisconsin State taxpayers to take on a federal initiative, once again. That's not good for Wisconsin."


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin will not set up a health insurance exchange under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Instead, Walker told the Obama administration Friday that Wisconsin will leave that responsibility to the federal government.

Walker's highly anticipated decision was not unexpected given his long opposition to the law. He stopped implementation last year on the hopes the law would be overturned either by the U.S. Supreme Court or Republicans following the November election.

Neither happened.

Walker announced his intention Friday despite the federal government late Thursday giving states an additional month to decide.

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