Legislative Democrats introduced a bill Thursday that would give the state greater ability to combat what they say are some of the highest health insurance rate increases in the nation.
State Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, and state Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville, said at a press conference that their bill would give the state insurance commissioner the ability to nix exorbitant rate increases and create transparency measures for any increases for both public and private insurance programs. The proposal would also require 60 days advance notice for any rate increase and a public hearing for a rate increase of more than 10 percent.
Larson said it is the responsibility of legislators from both parties to protect Wisconsinites from overpaying for health insurance.
“We need to ensure consumers don’t pay more than we need to … and it's time to take this responsibility seriously,” he said. “This bill will strengthen our rate review process.”
Kolste said politicians have been so focused on the Affordable Care Act that they have not paid attention to other areas of health care policy.
“I have grave concerns about what the cost of medicine is doing,” Kolste said. “We’ve been so consumed with fighting the ACA that we haven’t done anything to fight these rising costs.”
Larson said the bill is circulating for co-sponsorship and added that he hopes his colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support the bill.
“These rates hit everyone… and I would hope that Republicans would join us in making sure folks aren’t paying exorbitant rates,” Larson said.
Republican presidential candidate Gov. Scott Walker recently unveiled his proposal to eliminate the Affordable Care Act on day one of his presidency and replace it with a new system.