Breaking Down What Gov. Walker’s Health Care Stability Plan Does On January 1st, 2019

Local News

Governor Scott Walker’s Health Care Stability Plan goes into effect on January 1st, 2019, so what will it do for Wisconsin residents shopping the market for health insurance?

Health care is the issue that has taken center stage during this election season.

During Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Green Bay on Wednesday, Governor Scott Walker said his new Health Care Stability Plan will protect those with pre-existing conditions and lower premiums on the marketplace.

“And that’s why it’s important to have a good relationship with this administration, the administration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence because they signed off on our plan that will save people money when it comes to premiums, increase choices, particularly in rural areas, and improve overall healthcare,” Walker said during the campaign stop. 

It’s true that Walker’s plan will lower premium costs by an average of 3.5% for some Wisconsinites with health insurance from the marketplace, but not all.

The reason why the premium costs will go down is because Walker  secured $200 million for his plan using state and federal money. 

Walker took heat for turning down hundreds of millions of dollars  that would have expanded Wisconsin’s Medicaid program known as BadgerCare Plus, which covers low-income Wisconsin residents.

Wisconsin Democrats had a press conference on Wednesday reacting to Pence’s visit, where Democratic politicians ripped on Pence and Walker’s approach to health care.

“They both have pursued and supported policies that limit Wisconsinites access to health care, kick people off their insurance, jack up out-of-pocket costs on prescription medication, and weaken, and weaken or even get rid of protections for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions,” State Senator Dave Hansen, a Democrat representing Green Bay, said. 

Besides expensive premiums, coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions has been a focal point of the health care tug-of-war.

Walker said that under his administration, those with pre-existing conditions will not lose coverage. He said his own wife, mother, and brother all have pre-existing conditions.

Right now, patients with pre-existing conditions in Wisconsin will remain covered because the Affordable Care Act is still federal law. 

If the ACA, also known as “Obamacare,” is repealed, federal or Wisconsin state legislators would need to immediately put into place new laws that protect patients with pre-existing conditions. 

Walker said he would call a special legislative session to handle it if needed, after a previous attempt by the Wisconsin state legislature to pass Assembly Bill 365 failed to get voted on by the State Senate.

In order to keep Walker’s promise of protecting patients with pre-existing conditions, state legislators would have to create regulations to prevent insurance companies from excluding them from coverage and from raising prescription prices to treat those conditions. 

The last part of Walker’s plan is to secure a permanent waiver for SeniorCare, which helps subsidize prescription drug costs for patients ages 65 and older. Right now, Wisconsin’s SeniorCare waiver is set to expire this December, but the state has applied for a 10-year waiver renewal. 

The Democratic candidate challenging Walker in the governor’s race, state superintendent Tony Evers, has his own health care plan, which he said promises to expand the SeniorCare program, and lower prescription drug costs. 

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