Government and Political Roundup: Gov. Walker still unsure what he wants to do about health insuranceWisconsin News
-- Some of Governor Scott Walker’s business allies are urging him to have Wisconsin create its own health insurance purchasing exchange under the Obama reform law.
Some of Governor Scott Walker’s business allies are urging him to have Wisconsin create its own health insurance purchasing exchange under the Obama reform law. According to the A-P, the Wisconsin Manufacturers-and-Commerce and the state’s Federation of Independent Businesses want a system that’s tailored to Wisconsin. And so does the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the state Association of Health Plans. Minority Democrats in the Legislature have been badgering the Republican Walker for months to create its own exchange – and so have advocacy groups like Wisconsin Citizen Action and A-B-C for Health. Walker faces a deadline of Friday to get the exchange done – but he insists he has until next fall to take action, before the purchasing exchanges take effect in 2014. Walker told reporters in La Crosse last Thursday that there are questions over how much flexibility a state can have in developing its own exchange. And if there’s not much the state can do, Walker says he might let Wisconsin use a standard template designed by Washington. The A-P says Walker has not spoken with the affected stakeholders on what he might do. For months, the governor has refused to do much of anything connected with the Obama health package. He was counting on Mitt Romney to be elected president – and for Romney to throw out the health law.
A U-S labor official says Wisconsin is among the states with the largest number of faith-based organizations where the unemployed look for help in finding jobs. Ben Seigel of the Labor Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships says thousands of local “job clubs” have been formed around the country. He talked about them during a recent symposium near Milwaukee, which is said to have at least a dozen faith-based job groups. The Journal Sentinel says those groups offer everything from informal meetings, where people share their challenges and successes in finding jobs – to study sessions where the unemployed are taught to set goals for their job searches. Also, the centers show people how to make winning resumes, and good impressions during job interviews. One center in Waukesha has had about 100 members in recent years – and coordinator Peter Warra says about half found meaningful careers. Another program in Mequon has started to help returning veterans. The centers are especially helpful to older workers who haven’t needed to look for a job in years. The Labor Department’s Seigel says the economic downturn has killed a lot of industries – and many folks have been out of work for so long that they’ve gone to their churches for help. And those churches are responding.