There is nothing more telling than Walker’s stated priorities:
CapTimes: Today's announcement , freezing enrollment in the state's BadgerCare Basic plan, is the first specific and significant action taken by the health department to rein in costs of the state's public health programs, which Walker has called unsustainable and a drain on other "priorities," including education, public safety, and what he calls "property tax relief."
Lower property taxes in exchange for not treating the sick and preventing family bankruptcies?
If health care is a drain, which is purchased from private providers, then what makes the private sector the Republican answer to lower rates? The horrific secret; the conservative plan to lowering rates is accomplished by individuals buying ala carte plans that don’t cover anything at all. They’re called junk policies in the business. But they will cost you a nice monthly premium.
Republicans still don’t get it; the more people paying in, the easier it is to cover premiums. Freezing enrollment will only hurt replenishing the program with new premiums.
"The Department of Health Services will be notifying Basic plan members that Basic monthly premiums will be increasing to $200 starting with the payment due May 5 for the June 2011 coverage."
At $200 a month=$2400 a year, the state could enroll just 687 more people to make up the difference, based on the projected deficit:
Through February 2011, according to the release, the Basic program took in $4.18 million in revenues from premiums but paid out $5.83 million in claims.
Enroll 1000 more people, which should be easy to do, and you’ll have a nice surplus even under a worse case scenario. The now frozen Core plan for childless adults has an 80,000 person waiting list.
But those of us (me) who need Badgercare are part of the Wisconsin “unfortunate.” The left behinds.
According to health secretary Dennis Smith, "It is unfortunate that we need to take this step. We will maintain coverage for those currently on the program and help new applicants find alternative coverage," Smith said in the press release. "Unfortunately, the design of the program and the decisions made by the previous administration were unsustainable."
A few smart tweaks and no problem, except for that ideological one that says no government help.