Walker’s health care decision ripped by Democrats

2012-11-16T14:00:00Z 2012-11-17T08:04:31Z Walker’s health care decision ripped by DemocratsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
November 16, 2012 2:00 pm  • 

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to hand off creation of an online marketplace to connect Wisconsin consumers with private health insurance providers riled Democrats and others who hoped he would support a state-run exchange despite his opposition to the federal law.

But Walker stayed true to his longtime opposition to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, derided by Republicans as “Obamacare,” with his decision Friday to join with other Republican governors in ceding authority for creating the exchanges to the federal government.

The move pleased Republican state lawmakers and tea party groups that had urged Walker to stand firm against becoming more involved with a successful implementation of the law. But his decision ran contrary to several conservative business and health care groups, including supporters of broader coverage, that joined together to call for a state-run exchange.

By not setting up its own exchange, Wisconsin will lose control over several key decisions over how easily consumers will be able to compare insurance plans, what plans can be sold through the exchange, what the plans must cover and their cost.

In addition, the exchanges offer coverage to people buying in the individual and small business markets, and those are areas that states have traditionally regulated. Without a state-run exchange, states undercut the role of their own regulators in an important new market.

In the end, a resolute Walker said his motivation was protecting Wisconsin taxpayers from being saddled with costs for running the exchange years down the road. But when asked how much those costs could be, Walker had no estimate.

Democrats said Walker’s concern over the costs of the exchange was disingenuous, noting that he earlier rejected $38 million in federal money that could have gone toward paying for it. Also, federal law requires the exchanges to be self-sufficient by 2015.

Walker told reporters on a conference call that the idea of a state-run exchange was a mirage, saying it would be “state in name only.” The phrase quickly gained traction on Twitter and among conservative talk radio hosts who said Walker coined a new term to describe the exchanges: SINO.

Those advocating for a state-run exchange weren’t able to articulate why that was the best approach, Walker said.

“The answer has essentially been a shrug,” he said.

One of the most prominent supporters of a state-run exchange was Walker supporter and powerful lobbying force Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s chamber of commerce.

President Kurt Bauer declined to criticize Walker’s decision, saying the governor made a “good case” for not doing what the group wanted. Bauer said WMC will continue to work with Walker and the state’s businesses to “navigate through the burdensome requirements of the Affordable Care Act.”

Other groups that called on Walker to create a state-run exchange included the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, health care advocacy groups that support universal health care and the state’s insurance industry.

Debate over Walker’s decision quickly broke down along standard political lines, with Republicans praising it and Democrats castigating Walker as kowtowing to extremists who believe the Affordable Care Act will be repealed even after the president’s re-election.

“It is astounding that Walker is putting the demands of ideological extremists over the interests of health care consumers across Wisconsin who need access to quality affordable health care options,” said Robert Kraig, director of the liberal advocacy group Citizen Action.

U.S. Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat and supporter of the health care law, said Walker “chose to pass the buck and reject the opportunity to take ownership of this issue.”

Incoming Republican state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Walker was protecting taxpayers from what he said “could ultimately become a major financial catastrophe.”

State Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee, said, “It would be irresponsible to commit our state to a program that isn’t fully defined yet,” she said.

Opposition to the law remains strong among Republicans. Nine Wisconsin GOP lawmakers went so far as to tell the tea party group Campaign for Liberty that they would back legislation to arrest federal officials who took steps to implement the Affordable Care Act.

Walker 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. But the Supreme Court upheld the law in June and Obama’s victory earlier this month ensured the law’s survival.

Walker said despite his opposition to the law, his decision to have the federal government run the exchange in no way means he will stand in the way of it being implemented.

“We’re not going to refight the Obamacare debate,” he said. “We are going to comply with the law.”

As of Friday, 22 states plus the District of Columbia said they would run their own exchanges or partner with the federal government while 14 states, including Wisconsin, said they would defer to the federal government. Fourteen states had yet to decide.

Walker announced the state’s intent even though the Obama administration late Thursday agreed to a request by Republican governors for a month’s extension for making a decision.

The law is expected to provide coverage to more than 30 million people nationwide through the exchanges and expanded Medicaid programs. The Medicaid expansion is voluntary and Walker said Friday no decision had been made on whether Wisconsin will do it.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(40) Comments

  1. David Jarzemski
    Report Abuse
    David Jarzemski - November 17, 2012 11:13 am
    Your so called 'petty little' governor wiped the butt of his critics, not once, but in 2 elections in the last 2 years, by bigger majorities each time. Sweet, huh? Keep on keeping on, Scott my man.
  2. Richy
    Report Abuse
    Richy - November 17, 2012 11:07 am
    The Nutty Professor lays it out plain and simple and most of you still don't get it? You dont get your hrs cut! Daa!
  3. Richy
    Report Abuse
    Richy - November 17, 2012 10:06 am
    David it sounds like your the only one here that knows what he is talking about.
  4. Richy
    Report Abuse
    Richy - November 17, 2012 9:40 am
    A top Iraqi diplomat urged Arab states to “use the weapon of oil” against the United States because of its alliance with Israel, raising more questions about the Middle Eastern nation's allegiance to the country that freed it from a ruthless dictatorship.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/16/liberated-iraq-calls-on-arab-states-to-use-oil-as-weapon-against-us/#ixzz2CUjM1k6d

    Just What do you all think this means? What it means is our future depends on what happens around the world! All these little things we spend so much time on arguing about is going to get us blindsided and maybe very soon!
  5. Richy
    Report Abuse
    Richy - November 17, 2012 9:33 am
    Wait till we go to the middle east to defend Israel after you Dems and Obama tried your Re hab on terrorist. I told you it was going to happen and now your kids are going to have to go to war with no guns after he cuts our defense to nothing you lame Democrats will be wishing you voted for somebody who can lead! Petraeus is gone now so good luck in the middle east because its all over now!

    Your all worried about Health Care and your world is crashing down around you! If things escalate the whole middle east may be on our doorstep, because none of them want us around and our chief is too busy playing golf while Iran is building Nukes you all amaze me with your little problems.Do any of you keep track of world events or just whats happening on the farm over the hill?? The way things are going you wont have to worry about who your going to vote for let alone health care.
  6. geo
    Report Abuse
    geo - November 17, 2012 8:19 am
    The governor of Iowa sent a letter to HHs asking 50 questions relating to the ACA exchanges. He is a Republican and, perhaps, that is why he doesn't know and had to ask. It is also possible that the answers to his questions are unclear or unknown. Are we so partisan that we must rush into decisions just to support our side? I don't know whether we should have a state exchange and would like to see the answers to Gov. Branstad's questions since those issues apply to all states. Say that our governor is dumb or obstinate, if you like, but I'm more concerned about him being right. The lack of information and final rule making makes me believe that an informed decision cannot be made. Don't tell what side you're on; just tell me the facts, please.
  7. Seriously Now
    Report Abuse
    Seriously Now - November 17, 2012 7:00 am
    Frangel45 makes a good point: "Communities don't have endless 'fund-raisers' for folks who are uninsured just for the fun of it." If insurance coverage is already so great, why do we see all these plastic containers at Kwik Trips with a photo taped on of some poor sap with cancer or some little kid with a rare disease that is expensive to treat? Others are for those in car accidents (often not their fault) who face loss of homes due to medical costs. We can always find money to blow up some country or give billions to some warlord who says he is on our side. Time to wake up American and use our power to support our own citizens.
  8. Seriously Now
    Report Abuse
    Seriously Now - November 17, 2012 6:53 am
    I wouldn't trust this vindictive, petty little governor to open a doughnut stand let alone a health care plan. He'd sabotage it, make it not work, just to make some silly point and please the idiots that own him lock, stock and barrel. Look at how many things he has put in place that have already been struck down already as illegal.
  9. David Jarzemski
    Report Abuse
    David Jarzemski - November 17, 2012 1:18 am
    I noticed that none of the Walker critics mentioned that the "state's insurance industry" supported a state run exchange. I wonder why that is? Could it be that Walker is right that eventually any state foolish enough to create their own state run exchanges would be on the hook for covering any extra mandates (including new Medicaid mandates) that the feds will decide is necessary down the road? And guess who would get the bill? State taxpayers. As Gomer Pyle would say: surprise surprise surprise.
  10. Report Abuse
    - November 17, 2012 12:56 am
    Oh the drama! Were all doomed! DOOMED!

  11. Anonangel
    Report Abuse
    Anonangel - November 16, 2012 10:40 pm
    People not look into this issue, and do some research. And most dont care who dies because of lack of coverage. Any bill that saves lives has my blessing. This isnt about your selfish agendas, this is about taking care of our people. I wish families that children or family members that are saved because of this could personally call each one of you that are against it. As long as peoples families are not affected they dont really seem to care. Nice to have a Govener that will let his citizens die.
  12. izzy
    Report Abuse
    izzy - November 16, 2012 10:18 pm
    He was counting on the the Kochs and Roves to buy the election this time around too so he did nothing. Then he uses the same excuse he did when refusing the money for high speed rail costing more jobs for Wisconsin. At least we only have two more years of tthis jack a**.
  13. izzy
    Report Abuse
    izzy - November 16, 2012 10:08 pm
    Who are the people who are voting for these idiots.
  14. Frangel45
    Report Abuse
    Frangel45 - November 16, 2012 8:14 pm
    skipper, you live in a privileged world obviously! Anyone that is self-employed, starts a small business does NOT have access to a 'group plan' as do MANY women who are employed. When I paid into my private insurance plan for over 10 years the company had no qualms about cancelling my insurance when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. You DO LIVE IN LALA LAND. Start asking about experiences that your friends relatives and neighbors have had. Communities don't have endless 'fund-raisers' for folks who are uninsured just for the fun of it. Obama has done a great job pulling our country together for the benefit of EVERYONE. But then Walker is the stubborn neighborhood bully who thinks he is better than everyone else. He will never be a cooperative member of society and as such will make life miserable for many Wisconsinites. Time for Walker to grow up - it's not just about himself.
  15. GrandpaS
    Report Abuse
    GrandpaS - November 16, 2012 7:52 pm
    As far as the cost goes for running the exchange, wouldn't most of that be born by the insurance companies on the exchange? It's advertising for them, isn't it? I don't know. Just askin'.......
  16. GrandpaS
    Report Abuse
    GrandpaS - November 16, 2012 7:46 pm
    "Nine Wisconsin GOP lawmakers went so far as to tell the tea party group Campaign for Liberty that they would back legislation to arrest federal officials who took steps to implement the Affordable Care Act."

    Does the 21st Century Republican Party realize that many of their members have gone totally insane? The 9 lawmakers mentioned above lead the pack, baby. They're frickin' wacko. There is no other explanation for a stance like they've taken. How do these loonies get elected? Who lets them out of the asylum long enough to campaign?
  17. Report Abuse
    - November 16, 2012 7:46 pm
    Governor Walker made the best decision possible for the citizens of Wisconsin.

    Why? State-created exchanges mean higher taxes, fewer jobs, and less protection of religious freedom. States are better off defaulting to a federal exchange.

    Abandoning the state run exchange and using the federal exchange, Wisconsin employers with 50 plus employees will no longer be required to pay the $2,000 penalty per employee, per year for not providing the “one size fits none” health insurance policy.

    This penalty to employers is only triggered when those employees receive tax subsidies from this state-based exchange. Since HHS-run exchanges have no subsidies, for states refusing to create exchanges, no employer in that state will be subject to that penalty.

    This means your Wisconsin employer will no longer have to consider cutting your hours back to 28 hours per week or terminating your employment to pay this added cost.

    Governor Walker knows that avoiding those taxes improves Wisconsin’s prospects for job creation, and also protects the conscience rights of employers and individuals whom the Obama administration is forcing to purchase contraceptives coverage. You will soon see companies relocate from states that implement a state run exchange to states like Wisconsin that have shunned it.

    Each state run exchange would cost its state taxpayers an estimated $10 million to $100 million per year, necessitating tax increases.

    A Wisconsin created exchange is not a Wisconsin-controlled exchange. All exchanges will still be controlled by Washington. The only difference is Wisconsin taxpayers will be paying directly for it rather than the federal government. The Wisconsin state run exchange would then funnel millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to private insurance companies. The state should not facilitate taxpayer subsidies to private companies!

    If Governor Walker created a state exchange, it would only set state officials up to take the blame when Obamacare increases insurance premiums and denies care to the sick. State officials won’t want their names on this disastrous mess.

    Finally, rejecting an exchange altogether, reduces the federal deficit. Obamacare offers its deficit-financed subsidies to private health insurers only through state-created exchanges. If all states declined, federal deficits would fall by roughly $700 billion over ten years.
  18. living the dream
    Report Abuse
    living the dream - November 16, 2012 6:27 pm
    dear tammy, you own the issue... not scott...now figure it out!!!
  19. Mandemack
    Report Abuse
    Mandemack - November 16, 2012 6:11 pm
    Love him! I so badly want to see him become president!
  20. spirit3
    Report Abuse
    spirit3 - November 16, 2012 6:01 pm
    he lied...see my above comment, I live in Wisconsin.
  21. spirit3
    Report Abuse
    spirit3 - November 16, 2012 6:00 pm
    you are a lier skipper, I was only eligible for HIRSP which is currently a high risk insurance, the best I could get would cost me $356 on a 1156$ monthly income, no drug coverage, a $5,000 co-pay and a six month waiting period for pre-existing conditions. You do NOT know what you are talking about.
  22. living the dream
    Report Abuse
    living the dream - November 16, 2012 5:37 pm
    another trip to illinois for those who wish to go!!! see ya
  23. living the dream
    Report Abuse
    living the dream - November 16, 2012 5:36 pm
    another trip to illinois for whoever wants to go!!!!
  24. Anonangel
    Report Abuse
    Anonangel - November 16, 2012 4:44 pm
  25. Cassandra
    Report Abuse
    Cassandra - November 16, 2012 3:33 pm
    Single-payer, now!
  26. Cassandra
    Report Abuse
    Cassandra - November 16, 2012 3:32 pm
    Facts don't matter.
  27. Tim Russell
    Report Abuse
    Tim Russell - November 16, 2012 2:53 pm
    I heard Mike Huebsch gave him an estimate of $7.5 gazillion!
  28. sallyjo
    Report Abuse
    sallyjo - November 16, 2012 2:29 pm
    In the end, a resolute Walker said his motivation was protecting Wisconsin taxpayers from being saddled with costs for running the exchange years down the road

    Who does Walker think the Federal Goverment gets their money from? Wisconsin taxpayers will still have to pay costs for a federal program, it will just be in disquise as a federal tax instead of state tax. This guy is nuts.
  29. Opus
    Report Abuse
    Opus - November 16, 2012 1:19 pm
    "Walker said creating a state-run exchange would expose Wisconsin taxpayers to shouldering the costs of running the exchange, but he did not have an estimate of how much that may be."

    No estimate, eh? He did nothing. He knew he would fall in line with the rest of the republican governors and do nothing.
  30. lookout
    Report Abuse
    lookout - November 16, 2012 1:07 pm
    He lied
  31. lookout
    Report Abuse
    lookout - November 16, 2012 1:06 pm
    People are being dropped from insurance co. all the time. They also have a little clause saying you reach this amount and we have the right to drop you.
  32. GrandpaS
    Report Abuse
    GrandpaS - November 16, 2012 12:34 pm
    "A broad coalition of groups that rarely get on the same side of an issue were urging Walker to have Wisconsin set up the exchange so it had more control over how it would function......But tea party groups and conservative Republicans in the Legislature pressured Walker not to move forward with the exchange."

    Any questions about where Walker's loyalty lies between doing what's right for the largest number of people or blindly bowing to the right wing extremists? I have to wonder if Walker got recalled again, if he'd win this time. Our governmor is a......well, a not-very-good governor. I'd get kicked off this blog forever if I typed what I'm thinking right now.
  33. GrandpaS
    Report Abuse
    GrandpaS - November 16, 2012 12:28 pm
    ceding control to the federal government as Republican governors in other states also have done." Yeah, then when the federal program is in place, Walker and his cronies will do nothing but bi**h about it. I can't stand it.
  34. skipper
    Report Abuse
    skipper - November 16, 2012 11:27 am
    Group health plans do not deny coverage if you have a pre-existing condition if you have had coverage for 12 months (without a break in coverage of more than 63 days). The federal government has been scaring people with the term "pre-existing" and people need to educate themselves on the definition of this term and multiple others that politicians throw around to scare us.
  35. Ar15kid
    Report Abuse
    Ar15kid - November 16, 2012 11:25 am
    "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," Walker wrote in the letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
  36. howisit
    Report Abuse
    howisit - November 16, 2012 10:57 am
    Of course he will complain about the feds plan so will the rest of the repubs,Its much easier for them to complain then to help solve the health insurance issues going on in this country.Some of the top republican leaders admit Obama's plan has good features but instead of building on them they choose to complain that it is no good.Maybe they should join the game instead of being arm chair quarterbacks.because no matter how much they complain Obama's plan is here to stay for quite some time.
  37. Seriously Now
    Report Abuse
    Seriously Now - November 16, 2012 10:33 am
    So in many parts of the country are these tea-party type guvs that dragged their feet, SURE Obama would not be elected. These same types ALWAYS talk about being responsible for your own actions and inactions. Now, when they are caught in a bind due to lack of their own planning, they beg the government for more time to get their health plans going. Obama should have kept the deadline for Friday, and said, "too bad, sooooo sad." You know these same clowns will try to make some half-a$$ed unsatisfactory local plan -at the expense of the populace-just to thwart the law. Throw these bums out!
  38. lookout
    Report Abuse
    lookout - November 16, 2012 10:27 am
    Walker says 80% of Wisconsin population has insur.To determine just how many people in Wisconsin and across the country will be helped by
    this part of the landmark decision, Families USA commissioned The Lewin Group to quantify
    the number of Wisconsinites who have been diagnosed with pre-existing conditions.
    Looking at only those serious conditions that are commonly linked to coverage denials, we
    found that more than 1.3 million non-elderly Wisconsinites have been diagnosed with preexisting
    conditions that could lead to denials of coverage, absent health reform. This means
    that more than one in every four non-elderly Wisconsinites (27.9 percent) would be at risk of
    being denied coverage today without health reform.Our analysis captures only those who have already been diagnosed with pre-existing
    conditions, focusing solely on those conditions that frequently result in denials of coverage.
    As our data show, the likelihood of being diagnosed with a pre-existing condition grows
  39. Geo44
    Report Abuse
    Geo44 - November 16, 2012 9:41 am
    Gov. Scott Walker had best not complain about whatever Federal plan is handed the state of Wisconsin. If he passes on gearing the plan that would best suit his constituents he is risking the getting a plan he may not feel could best suit the people looking to him for leadership.

    Doesn't his response ring of "I don't like paying taxes to the various government agencies, so I am going to leave it up to those agencies to tell me how to use or spend my remaining income on my family!".
  40. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - November 16, 2012 9:39 am
    Ye Baby! Can I vote for this guy again?
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Activate subscription button gif

Search local business directory

Hint: Enter a keyword that you are looking for like tires, pizza or doctors or browse the full business directory.

Follow The La Crosse Tribune


Latest Local Offers

Today's Question


What grade would you give the weather this spring?

View Results

Featured Businesses



Sign Up for Our Email Lists

Breaking News, News Update and Sports Update Headlines. Delivered at 11a.m. daily.

Sign up for Events, Contests and Promotions

Business report, local Business news. Delivered once per month.

New employment opportunities in the region.

Local homes for sale.

Cars, Trucks, Vans, SUVs, Motorcycles, ATVs, Boats, RV's & more