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State may opt for standard federal health insurance exchange for Obamacare


LA CROSSE, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker says he might let Wisconsin use a standard federal health insurance purchasing exchange, and not adopt a plan that’s tailored to the Badger State.

The Republican Walker told reporters in La Crosse Thursday he doesn’t want to give up state control over the health purchasing system. But he said there’s a question over how much flexibility the state can have in developing its own exchange.

Walker said if a state cannot really run a plan as it sees fit, “It might be a better argument to let it be run by the federal government.”

Walker was hoping the Obama health reforms would be a moot point, since his fellow Republican Mitt Romney promised to throw out the mandates had he been elected president. But Obama won – and with both houses of Congress politically split again, Walker is resigned to the fact that the law will continue.

The governor promised his final decision would go beyond his belief that the health law is a “bad idea” for Wisconsinites.

Democrats and health advocates say Walker only has a week to come up with a tailored-made exchange for the state – or else it will be stuck with a template from Washington come 2014. But Walker insists the state has until next fall to make its decisions.

Also, the state may have to use its own money to create an exchange. Walker returned $38 million in federal dollars for that purpose.