Look out Scott Walker, who's recent 50% approval rating is about to take a plunge when Wisconsinites realize they could be paying 79 to 99 percent less for their ObamaCare coverage had it not been for his opposition and inaction. He actually didn't negotiate lower prices with insurers. Really!!
Cap Times reporter Steve Elbow's story about how Scott Walker made ObamaCare insurance rates a lot higher than Minnesota's, should get everybody up in arms. Talk about trashing whatever discretionary money people might have had saving money in the Marketplace.
A consumer advocacy group said Wednesday that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s rejection of federal Medicaid money and the state’s hands-off approach to rate regulation has pushed health care exchange rates up to 99 percent higher than in neighboring Minnesota.
Robert Kraig, the executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin said Wisconsin insurance exchange premiums for a single person are an average of 79 percent to 99 percent higher than premiums in Minnesota, before tax credits are applied. He said the average Wisconsinite will pay $1,800 more annually for health care. In Madison, where the premiums are lowest in the state, rates are 67 percent higher than Minnesota's average.
Kraig said there are two main reasons for the disparity: Walker’s rejection of $119 million in federal dollars to expand BadgerCare; and the state’s lack of oversight of insurance company rates.
Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has not challenged insurance rates, while Minnesota has exercised a rigorous rate review. The Affordable Care Act provides for money to conduct such reviews. “Minnesota used rate review to challenge all insurance premiums that were excessive based on underlying medical costs, and the Walker administration has refused to do so,” Kraig said.
Kraig said the rate review in Minnesota resulted in up to 37 percent reductions in rates. “We have taken in Wisconsin a clearinghouse approach,” he said. “The insurance company just says, ‘Here’s our rate in the exchange,’ and the state of Wisconsin says, ‘OK.’”
He said while Wisconsin's leaders have, by their inaction and a general opposition to the Affordable Care Act, encouraged high premiums, Minnesota's decision to use the tools offered in the health care reform law have driven premiums in the other direction. "That’s going to make Wisconsin consumers across the state next year pay a very heavy price in higher premiums,” he said.
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