October 22, 2014

State will announce decision on exchange by Friday

The governor’s office says it will announce tomorrow or Friday whether Wisconsin will have its own health insurance purchasing exchange under the federal health care law.

Governor Scott Walker has until Friday to tell Washington whether it will run its own exchange or accept a standard federal template starting in 2014. Walker has been meeting privately on the subject this week with state health and insurance officials.

The exchanges create a menu of health plans for individuals to choose from. Experts say states can better coordinate the packages with their own Medicaid programs if they design the system themselves. Until President Obama was re-elected last week, Walker had delayed work on setting up an exchange, in the hopes that a Romney administration could repeal it.

On Wednesday, Democrats in Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation warned that it would be difficult for Wisconsin to change its mind in the future if it lets the federal government design the exchanges now.

Several Tea Party groups have also urged Walker to keep opposing the Obama health law and not set up the exchanges.

At least 17 states and Washington DC are setting up their own exchanges, while ten others have decided to let the federal government do it for them.