|Action photo of|
Walker crafting his version
of health care exchanges
Instead of embracing the Affordable Health Care act as a sane person would, Walker decides to use the health and lives of the poor and working classes as political pawns.
First he refuses to start making the necessary preparations. Instead, he authorized Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to join in a multi-state fiasco of challenging the law all the way to the Supreme Court.
But the law is upheld.
Walker again refuses to do the right thing, saying he is going to hold off until Mitt Romney is elected and can kill Obamacare.
We all know how well that worked out for them. (By the way, you'd best take care when near any Republicans. Judging from the foam and spittle around their mouths, they are still having lots of problems coping with reality.)
And during Walker's showboating of his obstinance, he throws away $38 million meant to help the state create its health care exchanges.
In other words, he's gambled twice with our money and our health and has thrown away $38 million in his bad bets. I bet you can guess who's going to end up paying for his political myopia.
But it doesn't end there!
Walker is now again showboating, saying there's no big rush, even though a plan is due to the federal government by this coming Wednesday:
Walker told reporters Wednesday in Milwaukee that he will be meeting with state officials this week to discuss the next steps. He downplayed the urgency of the situation, saying no matter what the state does, the federal government won't review it for months. Walker has said he doesn't think it would be a problem for the state to get an extension.Ah, but guess what! As is always the case with all things Walker, there's more. There's always more.
"Even after notifying them, we have until next fall to make modifications as we see fit," Walker said. "We haven't made a decision yet."
Walker said the choice for his administration was whether to accept an exchange run by the federal government, set up its own or pursue a combination.
"The question, from our standpoint, is what option is best for the taxpayers of Wisconsin," Walker said.
The group Citizens Action of Wisconsin has been keeping their eye on the ball and has some distressing news. It appears that Walker has been working behind closed doors to come up with a secret plan for implementing the new health care exchanges, without any input from anyone. Well, anyone but ALEC, I suppose.
Here is what Citizens Action found and their accurate summary of what it means:
However, records obtained by Citizen Action of Wisconsin under the state’s open records law shed light on the direction Walker will take. In June of 2011 Walker’s Office of Free Market Health Care produced a PowerPoint for a briefing of legislators entitled: “Preliminary Plan for Building the Wisconsin Health Insurance Portal and Interchange.” This document is the closest thing we have to a blueprint for the Walker’s Administration’s position on exchanges. From it two key conclusions can be drawn.Isn't that enough to just make you sick?
(1) Governor Walker is unlikely to opt for a federal exchange in Wisconsin or to develop a partnership exchange with the federal government. The Walker Administration is hostile to the creation of a federal health insurance exchange. Citing the original executive order creating the Office of Free Market Health Care, the document refers to “protecting Wisconsin from the establishment of a federal health benefit exchange” and makes it an explicit goal “to minimize federal interference.”
(2) The Walker Administration opposes the minimum consumer standards mandated in the Affordable Care Act for insurance sold on health insurance exchanges. It complains in its preliminary plan of a “one size fits all approach,” that minimum coverage standards “will force” consumers and employers “to purchase richer benefits” or to “buy up,” and proposes to “allow all current plans to be marketed” on the exchange, and to “open [the exchange] to the development of new products.” This would mean allowing plans which do not meet minimum federal standards for coverage, or cost sharing, on to the exchange. The document also makes a selective use of MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber’s actuarial analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin to argue that some individuals and small groups will pay more, strongly suggesting that they will seek to design an exchange that permits the sale of lower quality insurance that does would not meet minimum standards. Citizen Action of Wisconsin has previously critiqued the Walker Administration's use of Dr. Gruber’s analysis.
“The Walker Administration is clearly in a bind because it does not want a federal exchange nor does it want a state exchange which meets minimum consumer protection standards,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Based on the record, our concern is that the Walker Administration will try to square the circle by submitting a plan for a substandard exchange which allows health insurers to sell inferior insurance. This could set up a showdown between Walker and federal authorities that could further delay planning for the implementation of health care reform in Wisconsin.”
Heh. Guess what! Yup, that's right, there's still more.
Here's a little something that the gentle reader might not have known or had forgotten: Walker actually successfully ran a government-run health care system for years and knows that it saved taxpayers money.
As Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker was responsible for administrating a system called GAMP, which is short for General Assistance Medical Program. As I pointed out over three years ago, GAMP was a big success:
The program was nationally recognized and was only discontinued when Governor Jim Doyle expanded BadgerCare, which provided the same basic service.Wisconsin's General Assistance Medical Program (GAMP) provides health care coverage to indigent Milwaukee County residents who are not eligible for other forms of public coverage (such as Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program) and are not enrolled in private coverage. The county redesigned the GAMP program into a community-based primary care model in the late 1990s to achieve two interrelated goals: to provide increased primary care services, and to do so via community-based clinics. The new design was intended to improve effectiveness and efficiency of care. Prior to this, indigent patients relied on the emergency room of the county hospital, which created access barriers for enrollees and cost inefficiencies for the county. Under the redesigned model, GAMP enrollees select a participating clinic as their primary care provider, which is then responsible for providing and coordinating services. The clinic coordinates specialty care for the enrollee by working with specialists and hospitals that participate in the GAMP network. The program covered a total of 24,000 individuals in calendar year 2003, with some 10,000 to 12,000 individuals enrolled at any given time. All in all, GAMP estimated that it saved $4.2 million in 2000 (in comparison to the projected costs had the previous system remained in place). Administrators believe that inpatient and outpatient costs have been controlled largely through a Utilization Management program that ensures delivery of care in the appropriate settings and using appropriate resources.
In other words, the County designed and ran a health care system that limited people's choices by having to go through a community clinic first, and only if it was covered in the network. Yet, instead of leaving people without insurance and forcing them to go to hospital ERs, it saved $4.2 million. That's a big chunk of change for a relatively small amount of people.
And let us not forget SeniorCare, another successful and widely popular program.
To recap, over the past decade, Walker has successfully operated a government-ran health care program and knows full well that they not only provided medical coverage for our most vulnerable citizens, but saved lots of money as well. Yet when it comes to Obamacare, he panders to the red-meat teahadists by grandstanding his opposition to it. But behind closed doors, he's been secretly plotting his own stratagem on how to implement the health care exchanges, but in some demented way, which will only end up harming those most in need and sticking it to the taxpayers.
It's pretty obvious whose side Walker is on, and it's not the people of Wisconsin's side.
And that's just sick.