Wisconsin Governor Backs Up Anti-Healthcare Reform Claim with Denial of Fed Funds
Embattled WI governor, Scott Walker (R), issued a statement yesterday opposing the implementation of a state exchange as provisioned by the ACA — opting to defer action on the measure until the case is heard by the SCOTUS in March. In doing so, he will be returning almost $40 M in federal funding earmarked for the healthcare exchange. Whether this is earnest on his part or merely a symbolic gesture to Wisconsin GOP faithful in the wake of a pending certified recall vote on his office remains to be seen. Walker has always been against the passage of the reform law, instead focusing on efforts to deny federal assistance in doing so (states which choose this path will have to demonstrate fiscal independence on healthcare exchange creation by 1/1/13 or will be mandated a program by the feds).
Is this entire episode a game of chicken by Walker in light of his sudden vulnerability? It is, if one listens to the rhetoric from the state’s Democrats on the issue. Advocacy groups are also weighing their own disapproval of the governor’s intentions. The SOCTUS will hear testimony on the constitutionality of the reform law (notably, the mandate for coverage) over a two day period by the end of March. By the end of Februrary numerous amicus briefs will be filed by both Obama admin (DOJ) and plaintiffs (states) in the case. In spite of all the rancor surrounding this issue, it will difficult to envision striking of the mandate provision, much less the entire reform law as two lower courts have offered split decisions on the matter — prompting the SCOTUS to act quickly on a decision on the entirety of the ACA well before the election. | PDF brief from UCB Labor Center in support of the ACA’s constitutionality