Today Sen. Frank Lasee again called on Gov. Walker to return $49-million in federal ObamaCare funds that his administration accepted early this year. The funds were intended for the establishment of a federally compliant state healthcare exchange. A similar request by Senator Lasee early last week was met with silence from the administration. Wisconsin remains the only state with a Republican governor not to have returned such funds.
Sen. Lasee, a dedicated opponent of ObamaCare and chair of the Senate Committee on Insurance and Housing, recently killed AB 210, a bill that would have embedded federal ObamaCare language into the Wisconsin State Statutes.
“My office reached out to Gov. Walker approximately two weeks ago in a sincere effort to discuss the many reasons for killing AB 210,” Sen. Lasee stated. “We also hoped to broach the hazard of the $49 million in federal Early Innovator Grant funds that the governor accepted in February of this year. Regrettably, we were rebuffed.”
Before deciding to kill AB 210, Sen. Lasee analyzed the bill himself. He additionally consulted national experts. Investigation clearly revealed that AB 210, even as amended, would immediately have: compromised Wisconsin’s state sovereignty; undermined the healthcare freedoms of its citizens; sabotaged the state’s insurance industry; and damaged the integrity of a 26-state lawsuit Wisconsin joined early this year to challenge ObamaCare’s constitutionality.
“The principled conservative position was simply to reject AB 210,” Sen. Lasee asserted.
Two additional matters beyond the retention of the $49 million in grant funds continue to cause Sen. Lasee particular concern.
First, evidence now shows that the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) already had a 36-page emergency rule written and submitted on September 26th, 2011. The rule’s language would achieve the same ends as AB 210. “While Gov. Walker has not yet signed the rule, he could still do so, bringing Wisconsin into compliance with ObamaCare by the stroke of a pen,” Lasee observed.
Second, bringing Wisconsin into compliance with ObamaCare by emergency rule would last for 150 days, with the possibility of an additional 120-day renewal. “Why, then, was there such urgency to pass AB 210 in the State Legislature?” Senator Lasee queries. “Perhaps the administration prefers not to take sole responsibility for a decision to entrench ObamaCare in state law. Ensuring a complicit legislature would certainly provide convenient political cover.”
Sen. Lasee added: “It’s difficult to believe that AB 210 is not somehow connected to the retention of the $49 million in Early Innovator Grant moneys. Wisconsinites, whose rights remain endangered by the retention of that $49 million, deserve an answer.”
In conclusion, Sen. Lasee stated: “If Gov. Walker is truly serious about safeguarding Wisconsin’s sovereignty, the healthcare freedoms of our citizens, and the integrity of the free market, he must return the $49-million in federal funds. If he does not, it will place in question the seriousness of his desire to keep ObamaCare out of Wisconsin.”
Rob Kovach, 608-266-3512 Robert.Kovach@legis.wisconsin.gov
SOURCE: State Sen. Frank Lasee
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