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Wis. lawmakers respond to Walker's health exchange decision

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin lawmakers are weighing in on Governor Scott Walker's health exchange decision.

On Friday morning, Walker announced Wisconsin will not set up a state-run health insurance exchange under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.  Walker told the Obama administration that he will leave that responsibility to the federal government.

Democratic Congressman Ron Kind said he's disappointed in Walker's decision. Earlier this week, Kind, Senator Herb Kohl, Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin, Representative Gwen Moore and Representative-elect Mark Pocan sent a letter to Walker asking him to implement a state-run health care exchange.

Kind's entire statement is below:

"Governor Walker put partisan politics before people today.  Instead of allowing Wisconsin to run its own health insurance exchange, make key health care decisions for Wisconsinites, and better meet the needs of families and businesses here at home, Governor Walker punted that responsibility to Washington.

"Health insurance exchanges are based on the SHOP Act, legislation I authored, and have always had bipartisan support. They allow small businesses, family farmers and individuals to choose amongst competing health care plans which are coupled with tax credits to make them affordable. What's not to like?

"I'm disappointed in Governor Walker's decision and hope that we can find a way to rise above the politics, work together, and provide access to quality, affordable coverage for the people of Wisconsin."

Baldwin also released a statement on Walker's health insurance exchange decision. Her entire statement is below:

"The people of Wisconsin sent a clear message last week that they wanted to move Wisconsin and our country forward by having both parties put progress ahead of politics.

"I joined others in reaching out to Governor Walker and made it clear I was committed to working with him to advance health care reforms that work for Wisconsin. Instead of leading and working together to move a "made in Wisconsin" health insurance marketplace forward, Governor Walker chose to pass the buck and reject the opportunity to take ownership of this issue.

"I will not let politics stand in the way of progress; that is not what I was elected to do. I remain committed to bringing people together to make health care reform work for Wisconsin. I will work to ensure Wisconsin families and businesses get what they deserve: a health insurance marketplace that provides affordable and accessible choices, strengthens Wisconsin's economic security, and moves our state forward." 

Democratic Congressman Gordon Hintz said he's disappointed in Governor Walker's decision. His entire response is below:

"I am disappointed  in the Governor's decision to give up developing a Wisconsin based health insurance exchange in favor of letting Washington develop one for the state.  It is incredibly short- sighted to disregard the expertise of Wisconsin's private health insurance companies and health care providers.

"At what point is Governor Walker going to actual govern and make decisions with the people of Wisconsin in mind instead of the Tea Party?  The Governor seems incapable of making decisions without politicizing every action at the expense of the well-being of Wisconsin citizens.

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.  Numerous business and insurance agents have expressed frustration that Wisconsin would risk turning over regulation of Wisconsin's insurance market to Washington to make a political point against a health insurance law. Our strong private insurance market would benefit from participating in the development of the health exchange system that addresses cost and access."

Republican Senator Frank Lasee praised Governor Walker for his decsion on "Obamacare" exchanges. His entire response is below:

"Governor Walker was faced with a tough decision today. He decided to lead Wisconsin away from an unpopular, bureaucratic, expensive government run Obamacare state health insurance exchange. This was the right decision for Wisconsin. This decision will save Wisconsin taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

"Obamacare will add nearly a trillion dollars to our nation's debt of $16 trillion, that's irresponsible. Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans support fiscal responsibility while President Obama continues his spendthrift ways. Because of the decision by Governor Walker, Wisconsin employers will avoid paying a $2,000 Obamacare fine for each employee they do not provide health insurance to.

"In addition, non-government free market health insurance exchanges already exist without government control or taxpayer subsidy. For those people looking for health insurance on the internet, you can go to HealthCare.com, IndividualHealthQuotes.com, and HealthInsuranceSort.com to name a few. Millions of people have purchased their health insurance using these and other sites.

"I praise Governor Walker for his leadership and good judgment."

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