MADISON, Wis. — While Gov. Scott Walker refuses to implement health care exchanges in Wisconsin, Minnesota’s progress on offering consumers and businesses the opportunity to leverage their resources to purchase affordable, private health insurance will, according to recent news reports, create 100 new jobs at Waukesha County based Connecture, Inc.
“It’s ridiculous that Gov. Walker is putting partisan politics first and refusing to move forward on creating the insurance exchange to help small businesses and individuals get coverage here in Wisconsin,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “With a Wisconsin-based company in a strong position to help create our exchange, his stall tactics are now costing us jobs too.”
Under the federal health care law, each state is required to set up insurance exchanges which will give uninsured small businesses and individuals the chance to pool together to purchase private insurance — while getting the leverage that larger companies already have. Connecture, Inc., recently won a contract to build Minnesota’s health insurance exchange as required under the health care law. It hopes to add 100 employees over the next few years.
While Gov. Walker returned $38 million in federal planning grants to help Wisconsin set up its own exchange, the federal government is empowered to step in and do it for the state. Small businesses are already eligible for tax credits to provide insurance to employees while uninsured individuals will be eligible for tax credits to help pay for insurance within the exchange when it is operating in 2014.
Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist recently wrote a column supporting the exchanges, calling them “the most innovative, market-driven, and ultimately constructive part of the (health care) law.” And, current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pioneered the concept while Governor of Massachusetts when he included a state exchange as part of his health reform law.
“It’s past time for Gov. Walker to do the right thing and implement health care exchanges under Obamacare,” said Ross. “Now we know that, in addition to helping provide affordable health insurance to Wisconsin consumers and businesses, implementing Obamacare can help create Wisconsin jobs.”