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Walker urged to set up state health insurance exchange


MADISON (WSAU)   Some of Governor Scott Walker’s business allies are urging him to have Wisconsin create its own health insurance purchasing exchange under the Obama reform law. According to the A-P, the Wisconsin Manufacturers-and-Commerce and the state’s Federation of Independent Businesses want a system that’s tailored to Wisconsin. And so does the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the state Association of Health Plans.

Minority Democrats in the Legislature have been badgering the Republican Walker for months to create its own exchange – and so have advocacy groups like Wisconsin Citizen Action and A-B-C for Health. Walker faces a deadline of Friday to get the exchange done – but he insists he has until next fall to take action, before the purchasing exchanges take effect in 2014.

Walker told reporters in La Crosse last Thursday that there are questions over how much flexibility a state can have in developing its own exchange. And if there’s not much the state can do, Walker says he might let Wisconsin use a standard template designed by Washington.

The A-P says Walker has not spoken with the affected stakeholders on what he might do. For months, the governor has refused to do much of anything connected with the Obama health package. He was counting on Mitt Romney to be elected president – and for Romney to throw out the health law.