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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Gov. Scott Walker seeks to stabilize Obamacare markets following the national GOP’s axing of a key funding mechanism in their tax plan.

Gov. Scott Walker seeks to stabilize Obamacare markets following the national GOP’s axing of a key funding mechanism in their tax plan.

Walker proposes plan to save Obamacare

Though a longtime opponent of Obamacare, Gov. Scott Walker is pushing a plan to prop up the program’s state marketplace following the removal of a key funding mechanism under the recently approved GOP tax plan.

In 2015, Walker refused federal funds from the Obama Administration to expand Medicaid access to residents as a part of the Affordable Care Act, but is now pushing an initiative to ensure the program’s survival in the state.

“Our Health Care Stability Plan will help bring needed peace of mind and stability to Wisconsin families," Walker said in a press release. "Wisconsin is a leader in healthcare quality and access, and now it's time for us to be a leader bringing certainty to Wisconsinites.”

The governor has called on the state Senate to pass a bill to make it illegal for insurance companies to deny or limit coverage based on preexisting medical conditions, a central reform of Obamacare. That legislation was already passed by the Assembly last June.

Walker has also suggested utilizing the program’s State Innovation Waiver, a process allowing states to waive key components of the ACA in order to experiment with unique statewide models.

After being granted a waiver, Walker aims to follow suit with several other governors in creating re-insurance programs, in which the state would cover the claims of high-cost patients to encourage companies to stay in the marketplace and lower premiums.

However, many state Democrats, who have introduced similar legislation in the past to little avail, remain skeptical of much of Walker’s plan.

“These newly loved Democratic plans are a drop in the bucket compared to what accepting funds to expand BagerCare could do for the people of this state,” state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said.

Erpenbach also doubts the effectiveness of the proposed re-insurance program, which invests less than half of what neighboring Minnesota spent in a similar program of their own.

The plan also does not go far enough for advocacy groups like the Survival Coalition, a network of state disability organizations.

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“Survival Coalition supports state-level efforts to prevent health plans from denying individuals coverage but we cannot support any initiative that results in individuals with disabilities being charged more for health care just because they have a disability,” said Survival Co-Chair Lisa Pugh, referring to a provision that is notably absent from both the Assembly’s bill and Walker’s plan.

Without intervention, many fear that the federal government’s repeal of the individual mandate, which funded the ACA’s protection of patients with preexisting conditions, could cause health insurance markets to collapse.

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