After proposing an extension for BadgerCare Thursday, Gov. Scott Walker authored letters to U.S. health officials requesting Wisconsinites be allowed to buy health care plans outside the federal exchange using tax credits.
Walker said in the letter that federal officials have “repeatedly” denied flexibility in administering health care exchanges.
“We warned you about the problems with your opaque and cumbersome regulatory approach, and now, Wisconsinites are paying the price through high premiums, limited choice and a federal exchange website that does not work effectively,” Walker wrote in the letter. “It is far past time to start fixing these problems.”
Walker’s proposal would allow the 77,000 affected more time to ensure they have coverage for 2014.
The delay comes as a result of complications with the federal government’s online enrollment system, Walker said in a statement Thursday.
“In Wisconsin, we are taking action to protect our citizens from the federal government’s failure,” Walker said in the statement. “We will take care of the people of our state and not let them slip through the cracks.”
Walker also wrote to U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who urged Walker to take federal funding , that the BadgerCare transition will now occur on March 31, 2014. He added Wisconsin’s Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan will also be extended until the same date.
Other government officials have expressed a need for more reforms, including U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse.
“Regardless of the health care reform rollout, Medicaid expansion remains an option,” Peter Knudsen, Kind’s spokesperson, said in an email to The Badger Herald. “Kind is continuing to urge the Governor to make the right decision on this.”
Knudsen added Kind will continue to advocate for Wisconsin’s acceptance of the Medicaid expansion.
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, also called for additional steps to be taken in a statement last week.
Staci Cox, Moore’s spokesperson, said in an email to The Badger Herald that Walker should reconsider his decision not to expand the Medicaid program.
“Medicaid expansion is an important part of the Affordable Care Act,” Cox said. “Governor Walker has sought to undermine this law and the health of Wisconsinites by not expanding the Badgercare program and by kicking more people off of Medicaid than any other state in the country.”
Cox added Walker’s administration has already made it difficult for Affordable Care Act to be properly implemented in the state.
Others, including U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, D-Wis., and state Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, said they were happy with Walker’s recommended measures in statements Friday.
Johnson introduced a bill to the U.S. Senate last month entitled “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act,” which would allow people satisfied with their health care plans, as promised by “politicians who sold the plan to the American public.”
“Americans want the freedom to choose their own plans and want to be in control of their own health care,” Johnson said in a statement. “They don’t want Obamacare destroying what they have and what they like.”
Johnson added in his statement that President Barack Obama’s administration estimates between 40 and 67 percent of people with individual policies will not be able to keep their plans, which he called “unacceptable.”
The special session to discuss Walker’s proposal will be held on Dec. 4.
Johnson’s office could not be reached for comment.