Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Walker throw 68,000 Wisconsinites under the bus.

Maybe this will finally start to sting people enough to wake them up.

State should plan for health care reform - JSOnline

Walker now has shifted the state's position, stating that Wisconsin would suspend planning for implementing the new competitive health marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act until the U.S. Supreme Court decides legal challenges next summer. The problem is that Wisconsin's full implementation plan is due by the end of 2012, and the Legislature will be out of session before the case is decided, leaving Wisconsin unprepared to meet the deadline. This position is inconsistent, as Walker continues to vigorously implement a number of his own initiatives that are under legal challenge, such as his elimination of most collective bargaining rights for most public employees and voter ID.

Part of Walker's motivation for this shift seems to be that that he and his top officials actually believe that skyrocketing health insurance costs and access to affordable coverage are not major problems in Wisconsin. Last fall, Walker's insurance commissioner vehemently defended the health insurance industry, asserting that Wisconsin's health insurance market is working well and that costs are "manageable."

In an op-ed in the Journal Sentinel, Walker's health services secretary claimed that all of the nearly 65,000 people he wants to force off BadgerCare still will have access to affordable coverage, reflecting an unrealistic view of what health consumers actually face when they seek to obtain coverage.

This "rose-colored glasses" view of Wisconsin's health insurance market is not borne out by the facts. According to Citizen Action of Wisconsin's annual Wisconsin Health Insurance Cost Ranking report, released Christmas week, health insurance premiums in Wisconsin have increased at an unsustainable rate, skyrocketing by 182% since 2000, 18% above the national average.

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