MADISON - Wisconsin won't start a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Health Care Act. That's what Governor Scott Walker said today.
The state will comply with the law, but will let the Feds handle the exchanges.
Governor Walker emphasized that more than 90 percent of Wisconsin has health insurance - that's without an exchange. But Walker thinks the idea of a State-Exchange is in name only.
Instead, the Federal Government makes the final decision on everything anyway.
These exchanges are supposed to make it easier for small businesses and people to shop for insurance.
"They don't give the kind of true flexibility that would be required to provide something unique for our state, the state of Wisconsin," Governor Walker said. "Therefore, one of my biggest concerns is that had we chosen a state-run exchange it would provide long-term to the Wisconsin taxpayer and that is too high."
Some Walker supporters like the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce hoped for a state-run exchange.
Meanwhile, many opponents said Walker made the wrong decision since creating an exchange would give Wisconsin control.
The Governor says there are costs that aren't controlled and not fully-funded.
"Whether or not we like it, we're complying with the law," Walker said. "The differences between the three options under the law are really minimal, if at all, in terms of the impact on consumers. So in the end, we chose the option that provides the greatest amount of security, the greatest amount of protection for the taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin."
Today was supposed to be the deadline for states to decide on exchanges,
But yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services pushed the date to December 14.
Also a Ministry Health Care spokesperson put out a statement today saying they wanted a state-run exchange, but respect the Governor's decision.
INDIANAPOLIS - At least 20 friend of the court briefs have been filed in appeals of rulings overturning gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, including one by a group of churches and another by 10 states' attorneys general.
The brief filed by the attorneys general argues that society should decide whether same-sex marriage is acceptable, not the courts.
Another brief filed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and groups representing four other churches argues that marriage between a man and a woman is God's will.
Wausau business man will spend 11 years in prison for fraud in 5 counties
NORTHWOODS - A former Wausau business man will spend 11 years in prison for defrauding more than a million dollars from homeowners and investors.
54-year-old Jay Fischer was found guilty of felonies of racketeering, theft, and fraud. He committed mortgage fraud through his Marathon County business Valley Title. He embezzled about $1million by failing to pay off old mortgages after homeowners got new ones. He did this to people in 5 counties including Vilas, Marathon, and Wood.
GREEN BAY - The only publicly owned team in U.S. professional sports is holding its annual shareholders meeting.
The Green Bay Packers are expecting more than 12,000 shareholders Thursday for the meeting at Lambeau Field. The Packers have about 364,000 owners.
The meeting is held in the open bowl of Lambeau. Shareholders will vote for three nominees to the board of directors, Associated Banc-Corp CEO Philip Flynn, Schreiber Foods CEO Michael Haddad and University of Wisconsin-Madison's Dr. Elizabeth Trowbridge.
LANGLADE COUNTY - Farmers in Central Wisconsin need to keep a close eye on their potatoes.
Agricultural leaders from UW-Extension received a report of late blight from a farm in Portage County. Late blight is a disease that can kill potato and tomato crops.
The blight was found last week near Stevens Point, and leaders are worried about it spreading into Langlade County. Late blight can spread out several miles though the wind and the water. Agriculture experts in Langlade say there are certain things that you can do to protect your crops.
"Go out and scout them, look at them, we would like you to also spray protectants," says UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Stephanie Plaster. "Home gardeners should be spraying a copper or chlorothalonil-based spray. There are also organic copper sprays available for folks that would like to remain organic."
NORTHWOODS - A warming climate could challenge many of the plants and animals that live in the Northwoods.
People in Boulder Junction learned about some of those risks at the Community Center Thursday night.
The speaker says even though we've had harsh winters these past two years, the lack of ice in the long term could impact fish, evaporation rate and skiing.
"Winter's kind of the limiting factor of the Northwoods. So when you reduce winter, those species that are adapted to being here in this kind of winter, they're going to move further north and actually follow where the winter is because, it's hard to believe, but a lot of species can't live in warmer temperatures," said Naturalist John Bates.
MERRILL - Instead of just dreaming of being a firefighter, some children in Merrill actually got to try it out.
The Boys and Girls Club of Wausau went to Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill on Wednesday to explore careers in emergency fields.
"They're going to do one scenario where they're actually going to get put up into fire gear. And they're going to hook up a hose line on a fire truck and they're going to put out a dumpster fire," says Bert Nitzke, the Executive Director of Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence.
Student's putting out the fire's say it was more difficult than it looked.
"It's kinda hard cause like the hose is pushing back really hard," says Jordyn Schalow, one of the students that took part in the training.
Students also got to experience EMS and police scenarios.
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