EAU CLAIRE, Wis. –The clock is ticking for Governor Scott Walker to make a decision on a highly controversial piece of legislation, The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
States must notify the federal government by Friday, on whether they plan to run their own health insurance exchange programs or to work with the feds.
Although some deadlines have been pushed back by President Obama, the heat is still on the Badger State.
Reports show that 18 states plus Washington, D.C. have decided to go it alone or work with the feds, while 23 states are currently exploring options.
Wisconsin and eight other states have had no formal activity with health care reform.
It's believed republican governors in these states were waiting until after the election to make a decision.
But they now face a harsh deadline.
Exchange programs are the life blood of the Affordable Care Act.
People or businesses without coverage will be able to go onto a website and easily shop for insurance.
Wisconsin, along with a slew of other states, must decide by Friday if they're going to create their own exchange program or work with the federal government.
“We are just waiting to see what the Governor’s approach is going to be. I know he delayed the decision until after the election,” said State Senator Terry Moulton, a republican from Chippewa Falls.
With President Barack Obama winning re-election, many republicans are realizing Obamacare is the law of the land and are now scrambling to make a decision.
State Senator Jennifer Shilling said it’s time for the state to move forward on this.
“We are just coming off a pretty contested election here in this state and voters have said we want to see bipartisanship, we want to see cooperation,” said Shilling, a democratic senator from La Crosse.
Senator Shilling said she’d like to see a health exchange that’s in our own control.
“We have a strong marketplace in this state and I think we need to look at something that is kind of homegrown and made in Wisconsin,” Shilling said.
Senator Terry Moulton said for better or worse, health care reform is something republicans have to deal with.
“Elections matter. Now we’re faced with possibly a huge bureaucracy that may or may not be good for our constituents,” Moulton said.
Once a plan is chosen by Walker, it must be approved by the State Assembly and Senate.
WEAU 13 News contacted Governor Walker's office on Monday.
It sent a statement, saying:
“Governor Walker will be meeting with key members of his administration over the next several days to decide the next steps regarding health insurance exchanges."
The statement went on to say that the deadline is Friday but didn't give a day when a decision would be made.
After the Friday Nov. 16 deadline, states have until Dec. 14 to submit plans for state-based exchanges.
Those that want to partner with the federal government have until Feb. 15.