Gov. Walker: Wisconsin won’t act on health care ruling

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

MADISON (AP) — Regardless of the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has vowed not to do anything until after the November election.

Walker, an outspoken critic of the law, originally said in January that he would not begin setting up the state’s health insurance exchange required by the law until after the court ruled.

Earlier this month, the Republican governor went even further, saying that if the law is upheld he will not do anything until after the election, hoping that the next president and Congress will repeal it.

Only after those two fail would Wisconsin “figure out some alternative within the state,” Walker said in a statement released by his office this week.

Republican state lawmakers appear to be on board with that approach, even while Democrats and health care advocates say the state should be more bullish in moving forward with consumer protections and other reforms under the law.

The law would provide health care to about 30 million uninsured people and make coverage more affordable to millions of others by expanding the reach of Medicaid, forbid insurance companies from refusing coverage to people with pre-existing illnesses and creating new subsidies.

Officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law is called “Obamacare” by opponents, including Walker.

The Supreme Court, expected to rule on the law Thursday, could allow it to remain or strike down all or part of it. But the ruling is likely to signal only the next stage of the debate, not settle the issue, especially in states such as Wisconsin where Republicans control the governor’s office and legislature.

Walker’s decision to wait until after the November election before doing anything makes sense, said state Assembly Health Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale.

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