Gov. Walker says Wisconsin will not set up health exchange

MADISON — 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.

Gov. 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.

Due to the new federal requirements all Americans must have insurance in the future and they’ll need a place to buy it. States were given the option — create your own market place or let the federal government to create a program for you. Gov. Walker chose Washington.

“One of my biggest concerns is that had we chosen a state-run exchange, it would have provided long-term risks to taxpayers and that is too high,” said Gov. Walker.

Gov. Walker’s decision has many fuming. Democratic State Rep. Jon Richards is a ranking member of the health committee. He was hoping the governor would choose to allow Wisconsin to build its own exchange.

“The whole point of setting up an exchange for how it’s governed, how it is set up, whether it is going to be county-by-county. Or regions of the state. Those are all decisions we could have controlled,” said Richards.

But Larry Gamble is applauding the move by the governor. He is part of a conservative group that made thousands of calls to the governor’s office, asking him to not have a single state dollar go to help build an exchange.

“This is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers,” said Gamble.

While conservative Tea Party members asked the governor to have the federal government create an exchange, this was not a partisan issue. Many business groups who have staunch supporters of Gov. Walker asked that he build a state exchange.

Gov. Walker joins more than 20 other governor who have chosen to let the federal government handle it.

2014 is when most Americans are required to have health insurance.

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