WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Reps. Ron Kind (WI-3), Gwen Moore (WI-4) and Representative-elect Mark Pocan (WI-2) sent a letter to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker this week asking him to move forward in implementing Wisconsin’s state-based health insurance exchange, made possible through the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Walker faces a November 16th deadline in deciding whether the state will run its own exchange or the federal government will run Wisconsin’s exchange.
“It is critical that Governor Walker moves forward and allows the State of Wisconsin to set up the health insurance exchange that best meets the needs of small businesses, family farmers and consumers here at home, it’s the Wisconsin way,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Health insurance exchanges have previously had bipartisan support. Now is the time to put partisanship aside and do what is best for the people of Wisconsin.”
“State leaders must choose whether to create a state-based exchange, a hybrid state-federal exchange, or leave it entirely up to the federal government,” said Senator Herb Kohl. “The best choice for Wisconsin’s small businesses, families and individuals is to keep things in our state so we can meet our unique and specific needs. I hope that they will make the right decision for Wisconsinites.”
“Wisconsin has a strong tradition of advancing health care reforms and this is an important opportunity for our state to lead in moving reform forward,” said Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin. “I am committed to bringing people together and working collaboratively to make America’s new health care law work for Wisconsin. I also believe that putting in place a Wisconsin-run health insurance exchange will provide Wisconsin families and businesses more choices for the quality coverage our state is known for providing our citizens. Taking ownership of this opportunity is the right path forward for all of Wisconsin.”
“The implementation of this health insurance exchange, should Governor Walker allow it to proceed, will provide Wisconsinites with a ‘one stop shopping’ experience to compare prices, quality and physician and hospital networks,” said Rep. Gwen Moore. “This program will empower Wisconsinites to determine what works best for them and their families while keeping prices low and affordable. I join my colleagues in urging the Governor to move forward with this vital implementation.”
“Wisconsin voters went to the polls this election and supported candidates who advocate polices that extend health care to more and more Americans,” said Rep-Elect Mark Pocan. “We must ensure the people of our state have every opportunity to access quality health care.”
Health care reform provides for state-based health insurance exchanges that allow small businesses, family farmers, and individuals to pool their purchasing power to find quality, affordable health care. Exchanges create a marketplace that allow consumers to comparison shop among a variety of plans and prices, giving all Americans access to the same type of quality, affordable coverage that is now often available only to large employers. Based on the SHOP Act, authored by Rep. Kind, exchanges have long received strong bipartisan support because they are transparent, consumer-friendly, and operate on free market principles.
With President Obama’s reelection and a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, it is clear that the Affordable Care Act will continue to be fully implemented. The state faces a November 16, 2012 deadline to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services how the Wisconsin exchange will operate.