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Groups choosing sides after Gov. Walker's health exchange decision


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Reaction is coming in fast and furious to Wisconsin’s decision Friday not to create its own health insurance purchasing exchange – and to take whatever the federal government prescribes under Obamacare.

Robert Kraig of Wisconsin Citizen Action said Governor Scott Walker caved in to Tea Party conservatives to keep getting their support. And Kraig said it’s astounding that, “Walker is putting the demands of ideological extremists over the interests of health care consumers across Wisconsin.”

Democratic U.S. Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin said she offered to work with Walker to, “advance health care reforms that work for Wisconsin.” Instead, Baldwin said Walker chose to, “pass the buck and reject the opportunity to take ownership of this issue.”

Walker said he would have liked to have taken that ownership. But he said Friday morning that the state would not have enough control to set up a truly free-market exchange. He wouldn’t explain why.

Republican legislative finance co-chair Alberta Darling says it’s still not known how the federal reform law will affect the states. And therefore, Darling said it’s, “irresponsible to commit our state to a program that isn’t fully defined yet.”

The state’s largest business group, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, called on Walker to let the state set up its own marketplace of affordable health plans. But Friday, WMC president Kurt Bauer said Walker makes a good case for not doing so.

The insurance exchanges are one of two main parts of the health law that states can control. The other would expand Medicaid, but Walker wouldn’t say Friday what he’d do about that.