With a ridiculous name like "Day One Patient FreedomPlan," Scott Walker is loudly declaring that as a career politician receiving taxpayer benefits, he doesn’t know a thing about the U.S. health care mess he wants to go back to...on steroids.
Walker’s big Republican government solution is similar to the obstacle course of voting hoops he’s making people jump through in Wisconsin. This is Walker's idea of simplification.
Even more bizarre is Walker's maze of confusing choices, that will only get worse:
Opening the health insurance market across state lines ... the federal government would provide funds to states to help provide coverage to those with pre-existing medical conditions ... reform Medicaid in innovative ways/give states the ability to run Medicaid and reorganize it into smaller, focused parts ... EXPAND COVERAGE OPTIONS BY ALLOWING CONSUMERS TO POOL TOGETHER AND PURCHASE INSURANCE AS A GROUP ... allow for new purchasing arrangements so farmers, small businesses, religious groups, individual membership associations, and others could join together, pool members, and offer health insurance policies for the group ... allow the private sector, including health insurers, to offer products that reflect consumer demands for assistance at home.
Walker also lied when he said the ACA caused any kind of damage, suggesting falsely that ObamaCare is adding to the deficit. Just the opposite in fact, and it's paid for:
My plan would roll back the damage done by ObamaCare and when compared to the realities that existed before ObamaCare, would not add to the deficit.So you have to ask, how does Walker intends to pay this Rube Golberg health care plan; with wishful free market thinking and upside down magical math:
Walker said it would not be funded through new taxes and mandates despite his plan to repeal all of the ACA's $1 trillion in new taxes. "To offset these improvements, we would simplify and reform how the federal government helps people access health insurance."
Another words, keep your fingers crossed Americans, get out your checkbooks, you're on your own.
HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS: Worst idea ever. You've heard the complaints about ObamaCare, where the deductibles are too high, right? You can thank Republicans for that, because they created the HSA monster. I had them for years, and they're an unaffordable self rationing ripoff:
MORE CHOICES AND MORE ACCESS BY IMPROVING HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS (HSAs) My plan would allow anyone who signs up for an HSA to receive a $1,000 refundable tax credit. Existing limits on annual tax-free HSA contributions would be increased to $6,250 for individuals and $12,500 for families.
Ouch! Who can afford to just stow away $12,500 bucks and let it sit there? Didn't thinks so:
These reforms would give individuals the opportunity to save, tax free, for health expenses – giving them more control of their health care spending.
I know health care and have blogged about the ins and outs of every plan for years. I was about to offer my criticism on Walker’s plan when I found the following great analysis from Voxdotcom. Ezra Klein and Sarah Cliff have been writing about health care for years at Wonkblog, and are now offering the following eye opening analysis that exposes Walker’s purely ideological “solution:”
While Obamacare's tax credits are tethered to income (lower earners get more help), Walker's plan would base tax credits on age. For high earners, this might be great. Under Walker's plan, Taylor Swift would get $1,200 to help buy coverage because she's 25, while Obamacare would give her nothing on the grounds that she's super rich. For lower-income people, this is a lousy deal under Walker (because under ObamaCare) a 25-year-old earning $17,000 at a low-wage job would get a $1,962 credit.
Walker's plan says it would "protect all Americans with pre-existing conditions," but when you read the fine print, you realize that's not accurate. It would only bar preexisting conditions for Americans who have continuous coverage (this is current law) — who never have a lapse between their plans. But there aren't any protections mentioned for people who do drop coverage at some point. This group is big: One study found that between 2004 and 2007, 89 million Americans had at least a one-month gap in coverage. Walker would cover these people with preexisting condition pools.
These are taxpayer supported high risk pools that every Republicans should be against; it gives their hard earned money to someone else; is nothing more than a handout to the insurance industry raking in cash from only healthy Americans; and socializes the risk.
JUNK INSURANCE POLICIES: Coverage will be minimal, hanging you out to dry if you get the wrong sickness:
Walker's plan would no longer require insurance plans to cover a core set of benefits (Obamacare has a set of "essential benefits," including preventive care and pregnancy costs, that insurers must cover). This would likely mean the benefits available to people buying their own coverage would become cheaper — since they cover fewer services — but also less robust.
BLOCK GRANT MEDICAID: Note: Republicans want this for one reason; to cut the program through drug testing, income and time limits, work requirements etc., essentially make it impossible to get.
Turning Medicaid into a "block grant" simply means handing control of the program — and the funding for it — over to the states. The Kaiser Family Foundation assessed the block grant proposal in Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan's 2012 budget and estimated that it would mean between 14 and 20 million fewer people receiving Medicaid by 2022.