Sunday, August 23, 2015

WalkerCare Or WalkerDon'tCare?

On Tuesday, Scott Walker introduced his "plan" to reform Obamacare. By Sunday, during his appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, he was furiously trying to defend it:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about health care. You put out a plan this week calling for the replacement of Obamacare with a series of tax credits for everyone that would be escalating over age. This is what one of your rivals, Governor Bobby Jindal, had to say about that.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R-LA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Scott Walker’s plan actually does create a new entitlement program. It actually does guarantee universal coverage through government subsidies for every American. One estimate this week says it would cost over $1 trillion, and he doesn’t tell us how he would pay for this plan.


STEPHANOPOULOS: So how much will your plan cost? How are you going to pay for it?

WALKER: Well, he’s just wrong on that, and in fact conservative commentator after commentator from “The Wall Street Journal” to “The National Review” and plenty of others out there have said this is the best plan out there. In fact, it’s one of the only plans out there. They said it’s the best plan, it’s about freedom, it’s about giving patients and their families the freedom to control their own health care decision and to control their own money.

We repeal Obamacare immediately. On Day 1 we send a bill up to Congress, and on Day 1 we get rid of the special provisions for Congress, their families, their staff, and everyone else, to make sure they repeal it entirely, immediately. And then we give people a tax credit for those who don’t have health insurance from their employer. If you get it from your employer, it’s not going to be touched. If anything, your premiums are likely to go down because repealing Obamacare and putting in place our reforms will actually help lower health care costs, not raise them, as we saw under Obamacare.

But we give people a tax credit, it goes up by age. Because before Obamacare that’s what happened. Your health care costs go up over age, the credit goes up over age. We allow people to apply that to the health care plan they want, or not buy health care insurance if they don’t want. But we put the freedom back in the hands of the American people. And for us it’s a simple way to do it that’s cost neutral. It repeals all of the trillion dollars’ worth of tax increases that you see under Obamacare, gives us one of the biggest tax cuts we’ve had in the past 40-some years, one of the best pro-growth plans out there, and we do it by making sure we have a tax system that appropriately acknowledges some of the top tier health insurance plans and by giving Medicaid back to the states where there’s real reform. That makes it cost neutral.
Let's talk about WalkerCare, shall we?

First of all, Walker's "plan" consists is pretty damn flimsy and sketchy, as Jessie Opoien of Cap Times reports (emphasis mine):
Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday unveiled his health care blueprint, the first policy paper of his presidential campaign.

"The Day One Patient Freedom Plan," announced by Walker at a machine parts manufacturer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, would provide tax credits based on age rather than income, allow people to shop for plans across state lines and restructure Medicaid and long-term care services.

"It’s all about freedom," Walker said Tuesday, speaking at Cass Screw Machine Products. "It’s putting freedom back in the hands of patients and families to make decisions about your health care and about your money."

Walker's 15-page plan — five of which are dedicated to campaign logos and three of which make the argument for repealing Obamacare — includes no cost estimates or projections of how many people would be covered, but Walker said Tuesday it would be "cost-neutral" and would amount to "a tax cut of about a trillion dollars."
Hmm, that's more than a little reminiscent of the "job plan" that Walker came out with in 2010. It was a 68 page document written in size 58 font. Maybe when it comes to these sorts of things, he has flashbacks to his grade school days when he tried to cut corners even then.

One of the biggest changes in WalkerCare would be to give tax breaks based on age instead of income and family size - y'know, the things that put the affordable in Affordable Health Care. He also wants to give young people the right to opt out of it - which also makes no sense:
One of the biggest ways it would differ from the current law is by providing tax credits to uninsured people based on their age instead of income, an idea that "doesn’t make any sense," according to University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point political science professor Ed Miller, because it gives tax credits to the wealthy.

Those credits could be used to buy insurance on the free market. Under Walker's plan, people 17 and younger would receive a credit worth $900, while those 50-64 would get a substantially larger credit worth $3,000. Further, anyone who signs up for a health savings account would receive up to a $1,000 refundable tax credit and annual limits on tax-free HSAs would also increase. Everyone in a given age group would be eligible for the same amount of credits regardless of how much money they make.

If the goal is to get lower-income people insured, Miller said that's the wrong way to go.

"The individuals who are low-income simply can’t afford it," he said.
Another big thing is that Walker is saying he would allow states to "innovate" ways to administer his plan. This is the same thing he said when he dropped the bomb known as Act 10 on Wisconsin. What he means is that he would drastically cut the funding the states receive from the federal government and leave it to them to figure out how to make up for the shortfall.

Perhaps it was the fact that Walker's WalkerCare is so sketchy that he was screening reporters' questions about it. He knows the plan is a failure from Day One and didn't want to take the chance of getting caught flat-footed yet again.

The only thing that is even remotely appropriate about WalkerCare is the location that Walker chose to introduce it - a company in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota called Cass Screw Machine Products.


  1. WALKER: Well, he’s just wrong on that, and in fact conservative commentator after commentator from “The Wall Street Journal” to “The National Review” and plenty of others out there have said this is the best plan out there.

    Oh goody that settles it then, with experts like them it's sure to be reasonable and thought out plan.

    1. Hey, when have the Wall Street Journal and other right-wing bubble-world's ever been wrong about Obamacare or the economy? Those guys always nail it! (Snark off)

      Notice how Walker talks a lot with donors and other oligarchs, but never seems to hang out with people with real Jobs and concerns. Funny that

  2. WE repeal Obamacare... WE send up a bill... WE get rid of special provisions for Congress... WE give people a tax credit... WE put the freedom back in the hands of the American people... WE have a tax system...
    Is he talking about him and ALEC or does he have a goddamned mouse in his pocket?

    1. "WE control the vertical... WE control the horizontal..."

      Sounds familiar somehow.