Just over a year ago we urged Governor Scott Walker to finally break down and accept the Medicaid expansion part of the Affordable Care Act. Of course he hasn’t done anything of the sort…well…because there’s no guarantee that the federal contributions will be there in the future (well if they aren’t it will be his Republican kith and kin who pull that plug)…and so far he’s cost Wisconsin taxpayers about $ 1 BILLION for his intransigence.
But in the meantime, in a surge of election year gifts, Governor Walker got permission to spend money to support a decrease in premiums for Wisconsinites on the ACA markets. Now, don’t get me wrong, Blogging Blue supports anything that will provide health insurance for the largest number of citizens at the lowest possible costs…but as many have pointed out this one is an election year stunt.
The total premium support is $200 million…$34 million in state funds and the rest from the federal government (I hope they have the money). The premiums for 2019 will go down 3.5% under the program after having risen 44% in this previous year. And of course the premium raises have had to do with the various GOP bills that removed the requirement for everyone to have insurance and the subsidies direct to insurance companies that held down premiums on the national level in the first place. Robbing Peter to pay Paul? And that 3.5% savings will probably be wiped out by inflation resulting from tariffs on any variety of goods…but that’s another story.
So for one year, Governor Walker is ready to spend another $34 million in state taxes, to buy down premiums by a slight amount, while ignoring billion dollar long term savings.
Do you think he’ll do this in 2020 if he gets re-elected? Pretty good odds he’ll be banging his anti-Obamacare drum again as soon as the election is over. Think not?
Walker has pursued the program to bring down premiums as he has separately sought to end Obamacare. This year, he gave Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel permission to join with attorneys general from other states to file a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.