Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) turned down on Thursday a $37 million grant that would have helped to provide health care services for tens of thousands of Wisconsinites, saying he would rather deny his citizens treatment if it means he is resisting the "encroachment of ObamaCare."

The money would have been used in Wisconsin to implement health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, meant to pool insurance resources to drive the cost of policies down for individual citizens and people with pre-existing conditions.

"Stopping the encroachment of ObamaCare in our state, which has the potential to have a devastating impact on Wisconsin's economy, is a top priority," he said in a prepared statement released Thursday. "Wisconsin has been a leader and innovator in health care reform for two decades, and we have achieved a high level of health insurance coverage without federal mandates."

Responding to Walker's announcement, The American Cancer Society told The Associated Press that Wisconsinites who need health care most would be the first to suffer from Walker's decision.

"A robust, consumer-friendly health exchange designed specifically for Wisconsin would greatly expand access to care to those who need it most, while preserving what already works," a spokeswoman said. "It's unfortunate the [Walker] administration is deciding to ignore this reality."

Walker has previously said he would wait until the Supreme Court rules on the new laws' individual mandate before implementing other portions of the Affordable Care Act.