Gov. Walker Will Not Build State Health Insurance Exchange

The state will still have a health insurance exchange, something required under Obamacare, but the federal government will create and run it.

Gov. Scott Walker sent a letter Friday to the federal government that he will not build a state-based health insurance exchange.

The letter was addressed to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and outlines the governer's basic objection to any of the options offered.

"No matter which option is chosen, Wisconsin taxpayers will not have meaningful control over the health care policies and services sold to Wisconsin residents," Walker's letter reads.

The options mandated by the Affordable Care Act are as follows: an exchange built and managed by an individual state subject to federal control; a partnership plan requiring the state to perform functions on behalf of the federal government; or a federal exchange developed by the federal government.

"In Wisconsin, we have been successful in providing health insurance coverage to over 90 percent of state residents without the creation of an exchange and absent federal regulation," the letter continues. "We have a long history of being a leader on health reform issues, and with more guidance and greater state flexibility, our competitive market system would have ensured health insurance coverage to the most vulnerable Wisconsinites without federalization of our market."

The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, though they supported the creation of the exchange, stand behind Walker's decision.

“While WMC supported the creation of a Wisconsin-specific exchange, we acknowledge that Governor Walker makes a good case for not doing so. As the state’s largest business association, our mandate is to help our members navigate through the burdensome requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” said Kurt R. Bauer, president/CEO of WMC, in a written statement.

Some Wisconsin lawmakers want to be able to arrest officials who implement Obamacare. In a story from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rep. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, is one of nine state Republicans who want the healthcare law declared illegal, giving police the ability to arrest officials who try to enact the law despite the US Supreme Court's ruling that the ACA is not unconstitutional.

"Just because Obama was re-elected does not mean he's above the constitution," Kapenga is quoted as saying.

Other state legislators who have publicly announced their support for this stance include Sen. Mary Lazich, New Berlin; Rep. Don Pridemore, Hartford; Rep. Erik Severson, Star Prairie; Tom Larson, Colfax; and Scott Krug, Wisconsin Rapids. The list rounds out with three newly elected Republicans: Rob Hutton, Brookfield; Mark Born, Beaver Dam and Dave Murphy, Greenville.

Walker, though, doesn't think arresting officials is such a great idea.

In response to an inquiry from Democratic Rep. Jon Richards, Cullen Werwie, Walker's spokesperson, said, "Governor Walker doesn't support arresting people for implementing federal law."

Ohio on Tuesday also refused to create a state-based health insurance exchange.

“We still think it’s best at this time to let the federal government run the exchange," Ohio's Republican lieutenant governor Mary Taylor said in a story running on The Huffington Post.

But, by not building a Wisconsin-based health insurance exchange, Walker's decision hands complete control over to the federal govenment.

State Rep. Dean Knudson issued the following statement about the the governor's announcement:

"I agree with Governor Walker that it is not in the best interests of Wisconsin's current and future taxpayers to build a state-based health insurance exchange. The spending obligations under a state exchange would be large in the near-term and could be enormous in the long-term. Wisconsin patients and providers should be aware that no matter who administers the exchange, the federal government will be making all the decisions. Contrary to those who believe that a unique Wisconsin exchange could be built, the fact is that federal health care law does not allow deviation from the federal plan. No matter who administers the exchange, all the decisions and the final product will be the same."


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Cynthia November 16, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Why should we use our state taxes to implement federal law that does not allow Change? Obamacare is a federal program. Let the federal tax base pay to implement it. We have many other uses for our state tax base, such as schools and roads. I agree with Walker. We are stuck with "The Affordable Health Care Act", let the Feds pay to implement it. Really if it was such a good program why would there be the concern that the states need more flexibility and control of it? Why now the concern for States Rights now? After all the vote for revenge instead of Country has given us the results the Progressives wished for, has it not? Why be concerned now? The governor is only guilty of allowing the Federal Government to foot the bill for setting up the exchanges, instead of taking state money to implement a Federal Plan . Thus using the Federal assets instead of state assets. Seems brilliant to me.
Cynthia November 19, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Federal Strings and all. Besides it is the fall of 2012.. note the dead line was spring of 2011. Wisconsin is also joined by a dozen or more states that say, Federal Program let the Feds handle it. My thought is skip the middle man, just like the feds thought with the school loans. Why have the states implement and run a federal mandate, the feds can do it better. Is this not what you wanted as an outcome anyways? Health Insurance mandates for collective? Federal rule? And now you want to double down on our taxes? Both from the state and federal level. Let the feds organize the mandate so we can all collectively pay . Simple it is the law of the land. So just take out your wallet and pay one tax to the fed, leave the state out of it.
Carbon Bigfuut November 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
The last I heard, it's now 26 states that have decided to let the feds use their money to build the insurance exchange. That's over 50% of the states (unless you think the US has 57 states, like Obama). Why should the states use their money to build something they ultimately will have no control over?
Mick November 20, 2012 at 06:32 PM
The passage of the law is what usurped states' rights. Part and parcel of the master plan to continue chipping away at federalism.
robert heule November 20, 2012 at 07:07 PM
The St. Croix County Republicans may want to ask Rep.Erik Severson why he won't support a bill to make it a crime for airport security personnel who sexually grope passengers
yomammy November 29, 2012 at 12:33 PM
one persons "grope" is another persons "meh"...
Renee November 30, 2012 at 02:37 PM
"one persons "grope" is another persons "meh"." What?


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