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Gov. Walker: Wisconsin won't run it's own health insurance exchange

by
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) - Reuters
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) - Reuters

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker said Friday morning that Wisconsin will not set up its own health insurance purchasing exchange under the federal health reform act.

The Republican Walker told the Obama administration that he’ll let the federal government set up Wisconsin’s system.

Walker’s announcement was somewhat expected. He’s been saying for about a week that Wisconsin would not appear to have much leeway in setting the marketplace which it must offer to individuals and small businesses starting in 2014.

The state’s largest business and hospital groups urged the governor to let Wisconsin create its own exchange – which will include a menu of affordable private health plans for people to choose from, especially lower-income individuals.

But the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin said it respected Walker’s decision. The group said it has its own problems with the exchange idea – including the creation of navigators which the insurers say would lack the knowledge and ability to protect consumers.

Walker told U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that Wisconsin has provided insurance to over 90 percent of its residents without an exchange. And he said that a state exchange would, “not provide the flexibility to meet our state’s unique needs, or to protect our state’s taxpayers.”

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