DE PERE — Without health insurance for her or her husband, De Pere small business owner Chris Spah is happy to hear the Affordable Health Care Act will move forward.
“I have no problem paying for healthcare, as long as it's affordable,” said Spah, who owns The Pasty Shop.
Each state is supposed to provide the Obama Administration with a blue print for its own health care exchange by November 16th. The exchange would be the online place where anyone could go to choose between competing insurance policies.
Wisconsin hasn't started to design its exchange. Earlier this year, Governor Scott Walker said he wanted to see if Republicans could gain control in Washington, and possibly repeal the health care law.
“We haven't made a decision yet,” said Walker. “It's one of three options. It's either a federally run exchange, a state run exchange or a partnership.”
There is no penalty if Wisconsin doesn't meet next week's deadline. However, it means the federal government would design Wisconsin's exchange. Citizen Action Of Wisconsin says that would leave the state with very little role in the process.
“I think people on all sides of the aisle would rather us build a strong Wisconsin exchange that works for Wisconsin consumers here and adapts to our own local insurance markets,” said Robert Kraig, the executive director of Citizen Action Of Wisconsin.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Affordable Health Care Act is about 70% implemented. The insurance exchanges aren't set to be operational until the start of 2014. Walker says that leaves time for Wisconsin to work on its system.
“Even after notifying them we have until next fall to make modifications as we saw fit,” said Walker.
As for Spah, she admits she doesn't know a lot about the exchange options. But she says she's ready to learn more.
“If it's any kind of plan that can help me and my husband get access to healthcare, I'm all for it,” said Spah.
Submitting the exchange's blueprint is a Walker administration decision. However, if it does submit a plan by next week's deadline, the state legislature could play a role next year in its installation.
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