Analyst says Walker's health care plan won't work
MADISON Gov. Scott Walker's plan to move more people off state Medicaid plans and onto private insurance through a federal marketplace won't result in cutting the number of uninsured Wisconsin residents in half as promised, an independent analyst said Thursday.
Walker's numbers are inflated because poor people near the poverty line won't be able to afford private health insurance that requires individuals to pay for annual deductibles and other cost-sharing expenses, Bob Laszewski, a Washington-based insurance industry consultant, told The Associated Press after reviewing the Republican governor's plan.
"To me this is crazy policy," said Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates and a frequent critic of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
"These exchange plans were never designed for Medicaid-eligible people. They're designed for middle-class people who can afford deductibles and co-pays," he said.
Walker announced on Wednesday he would not be proposing Wisconsin expand Medicaid as allowed under President Barack Obama's health care law, which would have led to an estimated 175,000 childless adults being covered. The federal government would have picked up the tab for three years, with the state eventually paying just 10 percent of the costs.
Instead, Walker proposed lowering the state's Medicaid income-eligibility rate from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 100 percent. That would make the Medicaid income cutoff for a single person $11,490 a year instead of $22,980. He would also remove a cap on a program for childless adults.
The net effect — between new people coming into the previously capped program and those leaving Medicaid because they earn too much — would be a 5,000-person decrease. But Walker also said because of people purchasing insurance through the exchange, the number of uninsured in the state would drop by 224,580.