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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.

Still, Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, the newly elected Speaker of the Assembly here at home, supports Walker's decision.

"I vehemently oppose Obamacare as it is a major step toward socialized medicine which I am against. The individual and their doctor should make health care decisions not government bureaucrats," he said in a written statement.  "The reality is, like it or not, Wisconsin will have an exchange. I'm pleased that Governor Walker had the best interest of Wisconsin taxpayers' in mind when he made this decision."

$$andSense November 18, 2012 at 02:05 AM
"When WE make mistakes like we did on November 6th.. " So you voted for Obama. Well then you as part of WE will harvest the consequences as there is no "I" in WE.
Greg November 18, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Right ...
Ima Hippee November 18, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Speaking of airheads - Fred van der Wal everyone. Fred van der Wal.
Ima Hippee November 18, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Wait, did I say airheads earlier? Speaking of airheads, Dirk Gutzmiller everyone! Woo Hoo!
Ima Hippee November 18, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Bren - Tom Barrett? Really? Where is Tom Barrett on Palermo's? Hiding? Where is he? Under your desk? He has this issue in his city and he is no where to be found?
James R Hoffa November 18, 2012 at 05:25 AM
@Dirk - Unlike you, Hoffa understands that nothing in life is truly free - someone always has to pay. Obamacare provides no cost and subsidized coverage to tens of millions of people. That coverage needs to be paid for by someone. And despite the title and purported purpose of the Act, Obamacare doesn't do a single thing to actually lower the costs of health care in this country, does it? Thus, logic dictates that rates will go up. Too bad that we elected a President that apparently doesn't even understand such a relatively simple and logical correlation. Remember, Obama promised that Obamacare would lower rates by an average of $2,500. Since it was passed into law, rates have actually gone up by $2,500 and are projected to indefinitely increase into the foreseeable future by all reputable accounts. It's also a fact that both the CBO and OMB estimates of the cost of Obamacare have been revised upwards ever since it was first proposed. Finally, how can the insurance companies be "making huge fortunes on the medical fears of the middle class, which actually, yes, includes the Hoffa," when Obamacare limits their ability to appropriate premium to overhead expenses and profit? If what you say is in fact true, then how come Obama and Holder aren't suing every single insurance provide that has raised rates in the last 2 years for violating the law? Dirk, you continue to prove that you're low-information, non-thinking stooge, easily susceptible to propaganda!
Bren November 18, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Ima, what should Tom Barrett be doing about Palermo's, precisely?
morninmist November 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM
FYI. 70% of Counties with Fastest Growth of Food Stamps voted Republican. http://democurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2012/11/70-of-counties-with-fastest-growth-of.html Bloomberg: Republican-Heavy Counties Eat Up Most Food-Stamp Growth: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in May that he’d written off votes from 47 percent of Americans who are collecting government aid. Turns out many of them are part of his political base. Seventy percent of counties with the fastest-growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. .........
ELantow November 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Because of an amendment that was written into the law, if a state refuses to take it over, the feds have NO right and no ability to enforce the federal mandate (fines) on businesses and individuals. http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/070912-617564-states-start-to-revolt-against-obamacare-mandates.htm?p=full That's because, under the law, the insurance subsidies can only be run through state-administered exchanges, not federally operated ones. And the penalty only applies if employees can get subsidized coverage through an exchange.
Jay Sykes November 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Good question Randy, it is not clear if the insurance overhead is part of the number. If it is included, we could shave about 2%-3% off that number by moving to single payer system, since most healthcare dollars flow from the government. 65% healthcare $dollars flow from government(Medicare/Medicaid/VA...) 25% self insured large group@ 10% OH (Approximate Canadian overhead rate) 20% Small/single plans @ 20 overhead 10% X 20 % = .02 or 2%
Ima Hippee November 18, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Bren, your answer says it all. This exemplifies the shallowness that is Mayor Barrett. (and his followers)
Randy1949 November 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
@Jay Sykes -- If we're to believe JR Hoffa's link to hospitals that provide expensive $2000 tests for $250 if you pay cash, it's worth 90% off just to avoid the hassle of having to bill an insurance company. I'm not sure I believe those figures entirely, but we know that countries with single-payer manage to spend half what we do and cover everybody. I think there's a lesson in that.
AWD November 18, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Ask me if I care about the 10% of the population that doesn't have health insurance?...I don't. We're in the process of screwing up our entire health care system to cater to the 10% that don't have it, that not the right approach. The correct approach is to let that 10% die.
Jay Sykes November 18, 2012 at 06:36 PM
The relationship between the healthcare 'list' price and that which is actually accepted "paid-in-full", is kind of Monty Hall -- 'Lets make a deal'. I have no experiences negotiating directly with healthcare providers;I have always contracted with the insurance company to be my negotiating agent. Of the many medical bills I have reviewed, all 'processed'(must pay deductibles) through insurance, the 'allowable' amounts range from 80% to 15%, of the 'billable' amount. Tests/xray/scans seem to be 'allowed' near the lower percentage and Dr. charges tend to pay-out at the higher end. I cant find any 'logic' to the variances. Averaged all of it out, over time, it ends up around 50% of the billable is allowed(including deductible). Based on my experiences with the 'allowable amount', Hoffa could negotiate a 90% discount. Although, one would expect the discount to vary widely.
Randy1949 November 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Tell you what -- I'll try negotiating with Waukesha Memorial/Prohealthcare to get them to agree to a $400 colonoscopy ahead of time and see how successful I am. I expect peals of laughter from them, frankly. I'm also currently attempting to get an elderly relative a bed in a rehab/skilled care facility and discovering that they want a check in hand before we can even come in the door. I think any attempt at negotiation will result in my being told to try elsewhere.
The Anti-Alinsky November 18, 2012 at 07:22 PM
You and Mr. Peterson are drawing a conclusions based on headlines only. If you had read through the Bloomberg article that he cited (but failed to provide a link), it even states "...Nicholas Colas,... predicted that risk-averse voters in competitive states may side with the presidential candidate who would extend benefits..." simply put, even if you are in a heavily Conservative county, it is possible for people to receive food stamps and other government entitlements. And both Obama and Romney positioned B.O. as the "preserver of the entitlements" The Bloomberg article also covered Pitkin County in Colorado (Aspen area) having the largest increase at 463%. But... that was based on going from 48 to 273 households, or going from .62% of all households to 3.57%, still well under the 14.9% for the entire country. The point to be made though, is that when an area as successful as Aspen has a spike in things like food stamp, we are definitely headed in the wrong direction!
The Anti-Alinsky November 18, 2012 at 07:34 PM
$$andNonsense wrote: "...legitimize federal debt load shifting to individual states "based on their political leanings" on a supreme court ruling if it goes there. State secession petitions would weigh in..." $$andNonsense, where did you pull that analysis from? The 14th Amendment dealt with emancipation and the needed legislation in the aftermath of the Civil War. The only part dealing with debt is Section 4 that states the United States, and individual states would not be accountable for debts incurred by the Confederacy, or other future rebellions. Seriously, what are you thinking with these posts? Section 4. ...But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The Anti-Alinsky November 18, 2012 at 07:41 PM
AWD, while your conclusion is waaaaaay over the top, one of the largest problems with Healthcare, before B.O.Care came along was getting that 10% insured. The problem is that when someone needs medical assistance, a hospital has to help them regardless of their ability to pay. It is better to get that 10% onto a plan so their expenses can be covered under insurance. The problem is that B.O.Care shoveled the burden onto the middle class. I have stated repeatedly how much my payments have gone up. Personally, I don't see why the uninsured can't get catastrophic coverage and take care of their little boo-boos on their own. Unfortunately, they make up a large part of B.O.'s voter base, and B.O. will cater to them for their vote....at the expense of the middle class!
James R Hoffa November 18, 2012 at 07:54 PM
@Randy1949 - If you're serious about negotiating prices for medical care, then you have to do it right. You have to be ready to cite the real cash prices of competitors and provide proof of such prices. You have to know the price of test machines, the number of patients that annually use the test machines at the facility you're negotiating with, the total number of annual patients, the per patient overhead expenses that the facility experiences, etc. You just can't go blindly in to negotiations with no negotiating power. You should start by preparing a fair itemization of the costs/expenses/profit margin of the procedure you're negotiating over, with the best available information that you have. So long as you start out with a relatively fair offer, and can back up your notion of fairness with facts and numbers, instead of trying to dick around with unrealistic low-balls, Hoffa has found that most care providers are at least willing to talk numbers with you. And you also must be willing to shop around, as not everyone will negotiate and there are variances amongst those who will, sometimes substantially so. And when Hoffa says cash, he means $100 bills - not a personal check, cashiers check, money order, etc. Good luck and be sure to let us know the results from your attempted negotiations
morninmist November 19, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Well, perhaps @GovWalker could put more energy into job creation. He said that after the Recall election jobs would appear. He was wrong --again!! Spud Lovr ‏@SpudLovr Scott Walker’s “tools” can’t stop yet another month of job losses in Wisconsin http://ow.ly/fn5zr #wiunion #wright
Luke November 19, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Apparently he believed that Obama would spend more than 3% of the stimulus on infrastructure.
morninmist November 19, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Walker does a Friday afternoon news dump about the exchanges, then skips the state to announce his agenda for WI in CA. What a little man he is!! @millbot How very brave. "Gov. Scott Walker unveils agenda for Wisconsin during speech in California" http://bit.ly/ROAych #wipolitics
Bob McBride November 19, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Makes it sound like he had something to fear if he had been here. Did his not being here throw a monkey wrench into the plans of some lefty nut-jobs?
Greg November 19, 2012 at 07:34 PM
It was a "news dump" along with half of the other states in the nation.
morninmist November 19, 2012 at 07:37 PM
@Greg More news from Walker. te he. poor scooter. @katie_foody Apparently Gov. Walker not happy with coverage of his California speech. Deleted tweets @politwoops: http://ow.ly/fpLzL #wipolitics
Greg November 19, 2012 at 08:00 PM
You do know that people on this site have the ability to get all the news that we want without you reposting every twits tweets from sites like @bluebunghole.....But you have to be a real twit to post deleted tweets. te he....
Greg November 19, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Here I'll help: “@RedState: How Obamacare’s Taxes Will Hit Your Pocketbook bit.ly/ZvmbNk" FSA tax cap of $2,500--families w special needs hit hardest
The Anti-Alinsky November 19, 2012 at 08:16 PM
morn, were you asleep Wednesday, Thursday and Friday? EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE with any connection with Governor Walker was saying the official notice, which was due on Friday, would pass on creating health care exchanges. They even cited the same reasons he did in his letter.
Lex Parsimoniae November 28, 2012 at 05:01 PM
You're correct, Keith...Doyle did have a lot of "rob Peter to pay Paul" programs that Gov. Walker would not put up with - to the tune of $3.6B in the hole. Well, now that the ship has been put back on course, Gov. Walker is attempting to keep that same thing (this time, federally mandated) from happening again. Like all federal programs, they'll throw a bunch of money at the state to get something going, but gradually pull that money away, forcing the state to fill the gaps. No thank you, sir. This way, the feds are stuck with their mess.
Lex Parsimoniae November 28, 2012 at 05:20 PM
What exactly are "French benefits"...higher taxes? I know actually reading the U.S. Constitution is beyond 60% of the U.S. population's mental capacity, but you think some of you may have picked up something from "School House Rock". "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Remember that little ditty? It wasn't just some song written by a hippy in the 70's, it's the Preamble (kind of like a thesis statement) of the U.S. Constitution. Don't confuse the order of promote and provide.

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