Walker will return $38 million for health insurance exchangeWisconsin News
Wisconsinites will now use exchange set up by the federal government, if the U.S. Supreme Court allows the Affordable Care Act to proceed.
Wisconsin will give back $38 million in federal money that would have let the state implement the federal health care reform law in its own way.
Gov. Scott Walker said last month that the state would not develop a health care exchange that’s required under the law, until the U.S. Supreme Court rules this summer on whether the law is constitutional.
On Wednesday, Walker said rejecting the federal money would stop “the encroachment of Obamacare in our state.” He said the funding would have committed Wisconsin to reforms that could devastate the economy.
Walker has always opposed President Obama’s health package. But until now, he said it was better to have a marketplace that’s tailored to Wisconsin, instead of a standard model from Washington that states would be forced to use if they don’t create their own exchanges by 2013.
Walker says Wisconsin has long been a leader and innovator in health care reform, and it has achieved a high level of coverage without federal mandates.
The American Cancer Society said Walker’s move was a step backward. The society’s Allison Miller said an exchange tailored to Wisconsin would have expanded care to those needing it most, while preserving what already works here.
“Too many people in our state still find themselves unable to attain coverage, especially those touched by cancer,” said in a news release. “A robust, consumer-friendly health exchange designed specifically for Wisconsin would greatly expand access to care to those who need it most, while preserving what already works. It’s unfortunate the administration is deciding to ignore this reality.”
Assembly Democrat Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay accused Walker of playing politics, and not letting Wisconsin control its own destiny. Robert Kraig of the Citizen Action group says the state might have already spent $1 million of the federal money. He wonders if Washington will make the state pay it back.