After Obama re-elected, deadline looms for WI compliance with health care law

MILWAUKEE -- With campaign 2012 in the rearview mirror, and President Barack Obama elected to a second four-year term, Obama's Affordable Health Care Act will become law in 2014. That means Wisconsin has to figure out how it is going to handle the law and setting up health exchanges, which could affect how businesses offer health insurance to their employees.

The day after the 2012 presidential election, there was confusion over what Obama's Affordable Health Care Act may mean for business owners and the state government in Wisconsin.

Brett Eulberg owns Robert Haack Diamonds in Greenfield. He says confusion abounds when it comes to the health care law.

"You're getting all different answers from all different people. Not only me, but my employees -- they don't know if they have to pay in. If I got sick, am I allowed to go anywhere I want to go? There's just so many different questions that are unanswered," Eulberg said.

Dave Sroka owns Blue Flame Music on Milwaukee's south side.

"Something's going to happen. It's yet to be determined what impact (the healthcare law) will have, both on myself, my wife, our family unit and my business," Sroka said.

Part of the problem for Sroka, Eulberg and other business owners is that the state of Wisconsin has not yet decided how the state will comply with the Affordable Health Care Act. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had said he was waiting to see the results of the 2012 presidential election before moving forward.

"We haven't made a decision yet. It's one of three options. It's either a federally run exchange, a state run exchange, or a partnership," Gov. Walker said.

State Representative Jon Richards (D - Milwaukee) said he believes this could have been avoided had the state prepared to comply with the law before the election. Moving forward, Rep. Richards says he believes the state needs to act.

"We should have a plan in place that should have been drafted in public with input from small businesses and everyone else for a health care marketplace," Rep. Richards said.