MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An array of interests that don't normally agree— from the state's conservative chamber of commerce to liberal health care advocates — are united in pressuring Gov. Scott Walker to create a state-run exchange under the federal health care law.
But Walker, who faces a Friday deadline to tell President Barack Obama's administration what he intends to do, has been secretive in what approach he intends to take. Walker met privately with advisers immediately after Obama won re-election and had no plans to publically announce what direction he's headed until after Monday.
"The Walker administration is feeling it's still too radioactive for them to touch," said Bobby Peterson, head of the Madison nonprofit ABC for Health, a public interest law firm. "There's been so much energy placed into repeal and replace Obamacare, to do the 360 required is going to be tough politically. ... It's really hard for them to accept the reality but they're going to have to at some point."
Walker late last year said Wisconsin would not move forward with implementation of the law, pending the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on its constitutionality. When the court upheld the law in June, Walker said he would wait until after the November election in the hopes Republicans would win the presidency, take over the Senate and overturn the law.
But Obama's win has forced Walker and other governors that haven't taken action to decide what to do next. Walker has three choices: create a state-run virtual marketplace for the public to shop for private insurance; let the federal government set it up; or a combination approach.
Walker won't say which approach he's taking. Those with interest in the process contacted by The Associated Press say they have not been involved with Walker's administration on coming up with a plan.
On Friday Obama's administration reiterated that states must decide by Friday whether they planned to create the exchange, but further details wouldn't be due until mid-December.
Many of those with an interest in the health care law, including Wisconsin's hospitals, insurers, the Wisconsin Medical Society, advocates for the poor and Democratic lawmakers, are unified in calling for Walker to have the state create the system.
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