Wisconsin Democrats are pressing Gov. Scott Walker for a new, state-run health care plan versus a program run by the federal government, according to a letter from Democratic politicians.
The letter, signed by U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin, and U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison and Rep.-elect Mark Pocan, D-Madison, was released on Tuesday. The letter asked Walker to create a healthcare plan unique to Wisconsin that would not rely on the federal government to draw up a general plan for the state.
The individuals writing the letter said creating a state exchange would be in the best interest of Wisconsin citizens.
“We hope we have the opportunity to work with you on this, and we respectfully request that you not ask for an extension in announcing your decision,” the letter said. “We again urge you to ensure the state plays a role in operating the exchange. It is the best decision for Wisconsin consumers, businesses and families.”
The Democratic Party wants Walker to make a plan specific to Wisconsin because health care reforms allow for state-based insurance exchanges, according to the letter. This measure would permit small business owners, family farmers, individuals and families to increase purchasing power, which will create more affordable and better quality health care.
United Wisconsin Political Director Erik Kirkstein said Wisconsinites want Walker to move forward quickly regarding the issue in an email to The Badger Herald.
“Wisconsinites spoke with one voice on Election Day and are now taking every avenue necessary to urge Walker to move forward immediately with these common-sense reforms,” Kirkstein said. “We would call on Walker to allow greater public input during that time.”
Kirkstein said if the state wants to include the voice of consumers and providers on the specifics of the reforms, it would be best to submit a declaration letter by Friday and a full blueprint by Dec. 14. Federal officials recently extended its deadline for states to provide blueprints a month later, instead of Nov. 16.
Walker has yet to give an indication on what his decision will be for health care reform.
The Republican Party does not have one consistent stand on what they think is the best health care option for Wisconsin.
Rep. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, said she does not think Obamacare is the best health care option for Wisconsin.
Lazich said Wisconsin has wonderful health care facilities, doctors and health care education facilities, such as the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
“I feel that with Obamacare, we will lose the automotive of those independent features of our healthcare system,” Lazich said.
With three days left until Walker makes a decision, Kirkstein assured The Badger Herald via email the Democratic Party is not backing down.
Kirkstein said he hopes Walker will do “what is right” and work on implementing a program for Wisconsin.
“Wisconsinites cannot wait any longer for the state to move ahead with health care reform,” Kirkstein said. “For the first time, access to quality and affordable health care is within reach for those who need [it].”