Walker – a tea party favorite who has changed his state’s bright blue health policy trajectory — is the lone Republican governor keeping an Early Innovator grant awarded early last year under the health reform law.
He isn’t using the $37 million federal grant. He isn’t giving it up. And it may stay that way.
Up until December, Walker’s administration had been committed to being one of five states leading the way in developing models for an insurance exchange — even though Wisconsin was one of the states fighting the health law in the courts. Wisconsin and the other “early innovators” were supposed to get federal money to work through some of the technical challenges of implementing the complicated health care law, in ways that other states could then adapt or follow.
That was then. Right before Christmas, Walker announced he was halting all implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care law, at least until the Supreme Court rules on its constitutionality later this year. But as of right now the governor hasn’t sent back the grant. He may not have to. …