MKE County, JSOnline and the Affordable Care Act

Yesterday I was writing this blog in my head but never got it down in electrons: essentially I was going to applaud County Executive Abele for putting together a good plan for getting info on the ACA out to MKE County…and I was going to lambast him for not spending enough to actually get the job done. I was going to applaud County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic for stepping up and deciding to spend considerably more money on ACA information but I was going to lambast her for not working in unison with the County Exec.

And then low and behold we have today’s news: County would spend up to $729,000 on Obamacare outreach, under compromise

A plan to spend up to $729,000 in Milwaukee County taxpayer funds to help with outreach for the rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act won the endorsement of a County Board panel Wednesday.

The measure was billed as a compromise between County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and County Executive Chris Abele. They had differed on the amount and details of the county effort, which is aimed at bolstering other outreach on the federal health law.

The plan would give $379,000 to four agencies to help reach low-income people who might not otherwise understand they could be losing coverage they now have under BadgerCare or might want to purchase health insurance through a new online insurance exchange created by the health law, commonly known as Obambacare.

The signup period for Obamacare starts Oct. 1.

The plan also authorizes spending of up to another $350,000, if needed, and gives Abele authority to make that call.

Way to go team!!!! The only quibble I have left: This should have been done in July and the outreach should already be underway! Well, better late than never!

From my contacts on Facebook, my email inbox, and reading comments on ACA related websites…there is little doubt in my mind that education on how ACA works and what it means to the consumer is vitally important and fundamentally lacking in the community!

Oh…so where does the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (JSOnline) come into all of this? Well apparently MJS is completely clueless on the confusion and consternation about the Affordable Care Act out in the general public. Their recent editorial complaining about CB Chair Dimitrijevic’s original spending proposal went so far as to ask “Why is this necessary?” And they proved their lack of touch with their community even further with these gems:

Our guess is that most people probably already know Obamacare is coming. And while helping residents deal with any changes in their health care coverage is indeed useful, the county already has that covered in a $200,000 outreach effort being made by the county’s Health and Human Services Department.

We’d suggest the county go ahead with the administration’s current plan but set aside some extra funds in case Dimitrijevic’s fears are realized. But hold off on committing actual funds until there’s a demonstrated need.

First…I can’t believe that MJS isn’t aware of the overall confusion in the community. From seniors thinking they might be losing Medicare, to those unsure of losing Badgercare, people not sure how to find the exchanges, or even knowing when the program starts.

I hope we see an editorial tomorrow supporting the county’s compromise and urges it’s passage by the full board.


In this case they seem purposefully part of the problem!


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