February 14, 2016

State faces tight deadline on health exchanges

Time is running out for the state to decide how it will comply with the federal Affordable Care Act.

Governor Scott Walker has delayed efforts to implement the health care law for over a year, most recently saying he was waiting for the outcome of the elections. President Obama’s win on Tuesday means the law will likely stay in place though, leaving the state facing a looming deadline on determining its plans for setting up a health care exchange.

Wisconsin has until November 16th to tell federal officials whether it will take on the task of setting up its own health care exchange or if it will have the federal government establish one.

Governor Scott Walker says he plans to meet with state officials in the coming days to discuss the next steps Wisconsin will take. He says his goal is “to move forward in a way that ultimately looks of for the best interests of the people of the state; not only as consumers, but also as taxpayers.”

Depending on how the state plans to approach the issue, Robert Kraig with Citizen Action of Wisconsin says there are pros and cons to having federal officials take control of the process. He says if the state’s goal with an exchange is to work with providers and consumers, then Wisconsin would benefit from doing the work on its own. However, Kraig says if Republicans just want to undermine the law, then residents may be better off if the federal government steps in.

Kraig says there have been some indications the state is quietly working on its own blueprint for an exchange, although the Walker administration has so far been silent on the issue.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:11)

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