How I learned to stop worrying and love a federally-created ACA healthcare exchange for Wisconsin
It’s about time that I turn my attentions back to Scott Walker, the albatross round Wisconsin’s neck.
Do you remember when Scott Walker said this?:
“Governor Romney is the leader Wisconsin and America needs to reverse this disastrous law, and he will begin working on Day One to repeal and replace Obamacare with one that provides quality medical care by offering consumers more choice, not less.”-source
He didn’t exactly “say” that ridiculous sentence. It was in a press release fired off shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA otherwise known as “Obamacare.
Time has passed and times have changed. Romney’s “Day One” is never coming and the November 16 deadline for Wisconsin to submit a plan for an ACA healthcare exchange is.
I learned by way of the DKOS blogger PuddyTat that MJS printed this:
“the state is scrambling to decide by a Nov. 16 federal deadline whether Wisconsin wants to take charge of a virtual marketplace, or exchange, required by the law to allow consumers and small businesses to purchase health coverage.”
Republican legislators around these parts scramble if they’re running into the Capitol tunnel to get to their car. Walker scrambled to take credit for keeping Wisconsinites on the Family Care program around Christmas time hoping we wouldn’t notice that the Kathleen Sebelius crew wrote him an “or else” letter for being out of compliance.
I’ll believe his shuffle to do anything in compliance with the federal government turns into a full-on *scramble* when I see it.
Anyway, the ACA healthcare exchange thing is not a big deal because if Walker can’t get his ducks in a row, the federal government will provide a healthcare exchange due to a provision written into Obamacare which does just that if he doesn’t comply in time.
Frankly it’s optimal if the federal government provides the service. I don’t want Walker and his crony staff to create the healthcare exchange because they will either screw it up the way they did with the unemployment insurance program [remember the 9,000+ people who've been waiting for their checks since ***JULY***] or they’ll find a way to inflate the cost of the service so it will benefit a private contractor. Who it will be revealed is a prime contributor to a Walker campaign or two.
Only semi-snide when I ask, Got $38 Million?
A lot of people think that Walker returned a $38 million dollar federal grant that was intended to make the ACA exchange in December 2011. After we learned of the incredible mismanagement of funds in Walker’s piggybank for private corporations otherwise known a “WEDC”, may I ask why we should assume that Walker’s administration would return that money? Wouldn’t that be another convenient “whoops” or “we’ll get around to that”?
Why did Walker muck this up?
Beyond the obvious obstructionism against Obama and “Obamacare” that is required of all adherants to the Republican party, there are other reasons for this silliness.
There are signs that a Wisconsin state senator reknowned for suggesting that teachers should be armed, Frank Lasee, was pressuring Walker to forget about creating the exchange back in 2011.
That’s when Sen. Lasee of DePere was the Chair of the Senate Committee on Insurance and Housing and could block passage of AB 210, a state bill that facilitates creation of an ACA healthcare exchange. That’s also back when Wisconsin was signed onto a 26-state challenge to the constitutionality of ACA. Since then the state senate has switched briefly to Dem control. Recently it tipped back to GOP control with a 15-18 split.
Would Walker/Scott Fitzgerald defy Tea Party brethren and conveniently pass over Lasee when putting committees back together?
Before Lasee stamped his cowboy booted foot and said “No” to AB 210, he ran the legislation by 3 bastions of conservative wisdom: The Goldwater, Heartland, and Cato Institutes. They said if Lasee let AB 210 be implemented – and thus make us ready for a healthcare exchange – it would undercut the state’s legal position.
Now if Walker ejects Lasee from his committee chairmanship, it will undermine the Gov’s Tea Party street cred. That would not do. Also, once Walker’s mind is made up, it’s made up. He has the stubbornness of a man who can go to work and ignore the 180 thousand or so people yelling at him on the way in.
I think the federal government will wind up making the exchange. I think it should.
blue cheddar bonuses:
From a November 2011 Lasee Press Release:
“After carefully evaluating AB 210, I am convinced that this bill poses a serious threat to Wisconsin’s sovereignty under the 10th Amendment and to the healthcare freedoms of our citizens.” Senator Lasee asserted. “AB 210 would also make the state complicit in sabotaging much of Wisconsin’s insurance industry. I cannot in good conscience advance this bill another inch.”