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Walker Signs Waiver To Lower ACA Costs

Walker: Federal Health Care Bill Hurts People In Individual Market

Scott Walker bill signing
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs a bill in June 2015. Jeffrey Phelps/AP Photo

Gov. Scott Walker signed what he calls the Wisconsin Health Care Stability Plan on Sunday, saying the plan requires the state to keep coverage “comprehensive and affordable.”

Thanks to a federal waiver from the Affordable Care Act, the state will use $200 million in state and federal funds to cover some insurer costs.

The federal waiver was approved by the Legislature in February and then approved by the federal government. It will create a reinsurance program for people on the individual market and will cover some insurer costs.

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“We just wanted to fix as much as we could. The problems that people face today and so presumably five years from now, there will probably be some changes we can adapt to, but in the meantime we want to give people meaningful relief so that premiums will go down,” Walker said.

Walker told a small gathering at a Green Bay hospital Sunday that premiums for individuals have risen by 44 percent due to the ACA. He acknowledged group rates have not risen by nearly as much.

But he said the newly approved plan waiver will help those individuals, without saying how many people would benefit from the plan.

Options for people in the individual market will go up and rates will go down on the individual market, Walker said.

The waiver will go into effect in January and last five years.

“We believe that, conservatively, this will provide an 11 percent reduction from where premiums would have gone up had we done nothing in 2018,” Walker said. “And an outright reduction of at least 3.5 percent on average from where they’re at effective January 2019.”

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin issued a statement, calling the move “sabotage of the health care law.” DPW claimed Walker has refused to expand BadgerCare and supports a lawsuit that would end protections for people with pre-existing conditions.