Wisconsin Public Radio News: Exchanges and the Affordable Care Act

by Shamane Mills

September 21, 2012

Some states opposed to the Affordable Care Act are setting up exchanges now that the law has been upheld by the nation’s highest court. Democrats are urging Governor Walker to create a state exchange. That is where people could buy health insurance online with the help of federal subsidies.

Those in favor of exchanges noted that there were no Republicans on the Senate Health Panel to hear them. Nor did anyone from the Walker Administration attend the committee hearing. This upset Katy Phillips from the Wisconsin Farmers Union, who was visibly upset she was only talking to Democrats. "This is horribly discouraging that we dont' have any other voices here. I already know that you guys [Democrats] are pretty much on the side of exchanges. What's so disappointing is that we don't have any of the opposition [Republicans] here to listen to what we have to say."

Former Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald noted the committee hearing was occurring after the legislative session had adjourned. Furthermore, the Republican Senator said Democrats were holding the hearing to appeal to voters. The creation of on online marketplace to buy insurance was not the only topic discussed. So was expansion of Medicaid, something the U.S. Supreme Court ruled was optional for states.

Mike Bare of Community Advocates Public Policy Institute in Milwaukee urged the Walker administration to do so. "If Wisconsin chooses not to expand Medicaid, a large portion of the low income uninsured clients we serve, and at least 170,000 Wisconsinites will remain uninsured."

The deadline for states to notify the federal government about setting up an exchange is November 16th. If the state does not create an exchange, the federal government will. Wisconsin was one of the states that unsuccessfully sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

To view this article on the Wisconsin Public Radio News website, click here.

To view and listen to the testimony, click here.


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