Wisconsin Governor-elect reverses position, advances health insurance exchange

Wisconsin’s Governor-elect is already making decisions about the future of the state. After turning down federal funds for rail projects, he has indicated that Wisconsin will establish its own online health insurance exchange but he’s leaving the specifics up to the legislature.

The Governor-elect says that he thinks having an online marketplace or exchange where citizens can get information on and purchase health insurance is important. However, there are several unanswered questions about how such an exchange will be run. Walker didn’t get into who would run the exchange – whether it would be the state or the federal government. Walker voiced opposition to the federal health care reform during his campaign as well as state exchanges.

Republicans in the statehouse have said that they and Walker are examining the options and looking for best practices in terms of fiscal responsibility. So far, Utah’s model seems to be leading the pack. An advisory committee has been established to create a bill for lawmakers that will contain recommendations based on the study of other state models. Committee members, for their part have already raised concerns about the size of the exchange and who would be included both in terms of the overall risk level of those seeking insurance and whether private insurers would be asked to serve on the governing authority.

The committee will reconvene in January to go forward with the bill.

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