MADISON — President Barack Obama's re-election is forcing the hand of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who had stopped all efforts to implement the federal health care reform law in the hopes that Republicans would take over in Washington.

Obama's victory coupled with Democrats' keeping control of the Senate assures that the Affordable Health Care Act will continue to go into effect. Walker's administration and Republican leaders in the state Legislature are now scrambling to figure out their next move.

Wisconsin faces a Nov. 16 deadline to inform the Obama administration whether the state will implement an online health care marketplace, or exchange, or let the federal government do it. Each state's exchange must be operational in 2014 under the health care law.

Walker told reporters Wednesday in Milwaukee that he will be meeting with state officials this week to discuss the next steps. He downplayed the urgency of the situation, saying no matter what the state does the federal government won't review it for months. Walker has said he doesn't think it would be a problem for the state to get an extension.

"Even after notifying them, we have until next fall to make modifications as we see fit," Walker said. "We haven't made a decision yet."

Walker said the choice for his administration was whether to accept an exchange run by the federal government, set up its own or pursue a combination.

"The question, from our standpoint, is what option is best for the taxpayers of Wisconsin," Walker said.

Walker halted implementation in late 2011, pending the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. When it found its main tenets constitutional in June, Walker then said he was holding off on implementing the changes until after the election in the hopes that Republicans would win and overturn it.

Walker also rejected $38 million in federal money that could have gone toward paying for implementing the law.

Advocates of the law say Tuesday's election results in Wisconsin show there is support for it. Wisconsin voters elected a proponent of the law, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, to the U.S. Senate over Republican Tommy Thompson, who vowed to be the 51st vote to repeal it. Obama also carried Wisconsin by nearly 7 percentage points.

Supporters of the law, who had urged Walker to continue with implementation both before and after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law, renewed that call Wednesday.

"Now that the election is over and the Affordable Care Act will be implemented, it is time for the Walker Administration to stop playing political games with the health of Wisconsin's citizens," said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. "The design of this new competitive health marketplace is critically important."

Citizen Action released emails it obtained under the state's open records law that indicate that Walker administration officials believe they can meet the Nov. 16 deadline.

One email dated Aug. 2 from Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith asks J.P. Wieske, the legislative liaison and public information officer for the state insurance commissioner's office, whether that office can meet the Nov. 16 deadline based on the outcome of the election.

"We think we can be ready to file by Nov 16th, if there is interest in moving forward," Wieske replied.

Wieske on Wednesday wouldn't say whether he stood by what he wrote.

"Right now, we're just going to wait for the administration to meet," Wieske said. One of the discussion points is what role the Department of Insurance will play in setting up the exchanges, he said.

DHS spokeswoman Stephanie Smiley had no immediate comment.

Democratic state Rep. Jon Richards, an advocate for the law, said whatever work Walker's administration may be doing should be out in the open and not secret.

"The time for making excuses for doing nothing is over," Richards said. "It's all been a charade. It's time to act and construct an exchange that will benefit Wisconsin."

Republican state legislative leaders said they were looking toward Walker's administration for the next move.

"We're certainly going to work with them closely and take the lead from the administration," said incoming Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Scott Fitzgerald. "I don't know enough to even comment on where it is."

State Rep. Robin Vos, co-chairman of the Legislature's powerful budget committee and one of the front-runners to take over as Assembly speaker next year, was also looking toward Walker.

"We're going to look and see what the potential is for what we're allowed under federal law," Vos said. "Just because the president was re-elected doesn't change my position that Obamacare is still wrong for the country and I'm not going to do anything to hurt the citizens of Wisconsin."

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(25) comments

randyjessup
randyjessup

Sorry, all you by-any-means-necessary folks, The US Constitution is STILL intact: Obama CANNOT force Walker's hand on Obamacare. Read it and weep:

Tenth Amendment states the Constitution's principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, ARE RESERVED TO THE STATES OR THE PEOPLE..

This is how the founders protected the populace from takeover by rogue elements i.e. the current Democratic party.

array1
array1

I believe the US supreme court disagrees with you.

gadfly
gadfly

Just curious. How much federal money has Scooter turned down now? That money would have gone to people in Wisconsin providing jobs, or being used in place of Wisconsin taxpayer money. Yes it's all taxpayer money, but Wisconsin for decades has sent more to Washington than Washington has sent back. We should take our piece of the pie or someone else will.

GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN
GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN


Typical proglodyte paleo-lib lemming.

After admitting ' it's all taxpayer money' you want us to que up for our share of "free" government cheese, we should get ours first. What nonsense!!! That's the very reason socialism has never worked anywhere on the planet, the selfish attitude of 'give me mine first'

Folks say we are on the path.to becoming Greece-like. I contend we'll be far worse. While Greece can no longer print, borrow or beg money-----------we can. And do.

Forty cents of every dollar is borrowed. Where do you think the money comes from?

You must be one of the 49.1% of the takers in America.

Why are you willing to encumber and impoverish our future for your selfish wants right now?

Don't you care about the course of America''s future?

Unaware you just answered the question, "Why are we in this handbasket and where are we headed?"

Woofda!!!

array1
array1

About 1 billion turned down by walker. At least 70 million Wi tax payer $ lost by walker by his brainchild WEDC. And still no jobs.

digger
digger

children, children please...we all know Rock Star Scottie will act ONLY in our best interest! It's us not him.

ShoePolishHead
ShoePolishHead

Let the feds implement the exchange. Walker is cooking up some scheme where his supporters will somehow profit from this. Besides, at this point I trust the feds to do a better job than the politicians that are still against it.

MadCityYokal
MadCityYokal

"The question, from our standpoint, is what option is best for the taxpayers of Wisconsin," Walker said.

The bottom line is not your health or my health. The bottom line is to ensure that you and I don't have to pay more taxes for your healthcare and my healthcare. Period.

Compassion is not part of the vocabulary nor in the equation.

bluecollarallthetime
bluecollarallthetime

Typical walker " a day late and our dollar short "

IndependentinWis
IndependentinWis

That is well over a billion dollars of Federal Money that we have given back under Walker just to show he is a "real" conservative. Since we are one of the states that get back from the Feds less than we pay in, it would have been nice to get more of our money back, but for political reasons we have lost that money and the thousands of jobs the money would have created. Not only did we lose this 38 million, but the company that started work on the high speed train is suing the state for another 50 millin, which they will win. With Walker the damage never ends.

robertsthc
robertsthc

You do realize that Doyle slid that train contract in under the radar, don't you?

Tricolor Dog
Tricolor Dog

First, let's find the missing $8 million that Walker is personally responsible for from WEDC. He's the Chairman and that quasi-private/public entity is legally his baby. You can go to jail for "losing" $8 million dollars of taxpayers' money.

farming
farming

Are you saying oboma should be in jail for 90 billion in green money lost from taxpayers.

Dode
Dode

ZeroCare was supposed to be free. It shouldn't cost anyone a single penny. If there are a million people in the state that want ZeroCare, I say tax them $38 each to come up with the $38 million.

River
River

I, for one, am glad elections have consequences. :-)

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

Only 45,000 americans die prematurely every year because they lack health insurance and a measly 1.5 million declare bankruptcy due to medical costs. Why would we want to change this?

196ski
196ski

From Politifact:
"Richard Kronick, chief of the Division of Health Care Services at the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine at the University of California at San Diego examined the IOM’s findings in a paper published in April 2009.

Kronick, a senior health care policy adviser in President Bill Clinton’s administration, found that after adjusting for demographic and health factors - such as whether uninsured respondents were smokers and how they rated their own health - the uninsured were at no greater risk of dying earlier than people who had employer-sponsored group insurance.

Kronick pointed out in his paper that even he considers findings "counterintuitive." He suggested that uninsured people are being caught in the social safety net of public hospitals and community clinics before they they die prematurely."

Other studies, including one from Harvard done by two physicians who coincidentally co-founded the Physicians for a National Health Program, an advocacy group for single payer healthcare, estimated the number at 45K.

The truth is over75% of national health spending is attributable to chronic diseases that are largely preventable
– 80% of cardiovascular disease – 80% of diabetes
– 60% of lung diseases
– 40% of cancers

http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=glen_mays

So if I drink, smoke, am overweight, don't exercise and in general don't take care of my own health, who should be responsible for paying for my healthcare?

US has the highest obesity rate in the world, by a huge margin. Canada 17%, US 32% and going higher each year in addition to affecting younger and younger individuals.
It is not possible for the government or anyone else to pay for the cost of healthcare unless personal accountability is included in the equation.

ShoePolishHead
ShoePolishHead

And who do you think is paying for:

"He suggested that uninsured people are being caught in the social safety net of public hospitals and community clinics before they they die prematurely."

The hospitals and doctors aren't eating the cost of this safety net, the expense is being passed on in insurance premiums or directly to the taxpayer.

Yes, I agree that people should be responsible for their health, but what about the
unpreventable?

– 20% of cardiovascular disease – 20% of diabetes
– 40% of lung diseases
– 40% of cancers

No one, NO ONE is totally immune to disease. It is just a matter of time before humans need healthcare.


x

iponder
iponder

Vos is wrong for this state. He should get back to the task of updating his online dating profile and moving to a state where he can skinny dip 12 months out of the year.

tebriel
tebriel

Once again Walker throws WI under the bus. Vos - no one cares what your opinion is you lying twit.

Phil
Phil

"Walker also rejected $38 million in federal money that could have gone toward paying for implementing the law."

That would have created a lot of jobs. Just like the high-speed rail line would have created a lot of jobs. Just like the high-speed internet money would have created a lot of jobs.

Don't have a job? Walker doesn't care. His ideology is much more important.

robertsthc
robertsthc

Get tired of hearing this. Just like the "slow speed rail" arguement. Maybe the 38 million would have created some jobs...but who would pay for them next year. You people honestly think that federal money is free????

MadRes18
MadRes18

Walker & Co. might as well let the feds put the exchanges together for Wisconsin. They'll do a better job and won't take state resources.

toobad
toobad

Democratic state Rep. Jon Richards, an advocate for the law, said whatever work Walker's administration may be doing should be out in the open and not secret.

Too funny. Dems insisting on transparency regarding 0bamacare implementation.


bookman21
bookman21

When did keeping an eye on Walker become a bad thing? Before or after his lackeys stole tens of $thousands from Veterans?

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