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Wisconsin governor proposes insurance plan to address Obamacare rollout failure

By   /   November 14, 2013  /   No Comments

Part 74 of 96 in the series Obamacare

By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter

BACKUP PLAN: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is proposing several initiatives to ensure residents stay insured while the federal online exchanges are being fixed.

BACKUP PLAN: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is proposing several initiatives to ensure residents stay insured while the federal online exchanges are being fixed.

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has vowed to clean up the Obama administration’s mess, and he intends to do so without using any additional money from the state’s general purpose revenue fund.

The Republican governor has called for legislation to extend BadgerCare coverage by three months for close to 80,000 Wisconsin residents while the federal government irons out the kinks that have massively disrupted the Affordable Care Act’s online exchange systems.

Approximately 77,000 Wisconsinites were expected to switch from BadgerCare Plus — the state’s version of Medicaid — to the new federal insurance plans on Jan. 1, but Walker said the problems that have plagued the exchanges likely will prevent that from happening.

“We don’t want anyone in this state to fall through the cracks,” Walker said Thursday.

Only 877 Wisconsin residents had selected a marketplace insurance plan through the federal online exchange system between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Walker said that failure is precisely why he rejected more than $4 billion in federal funding through 2019 to expand Medicaid coverage in Wisconsin as part of the ACA.

“I’ve said time and time again, I’m not going to jeopardize and put at risk the taxpayers in my state for a federal government that cannot balance its budget, a federal government that continues to grow the national debt, as well as the deficit, and today … a federal government that can’t even get a basic website up and going they’ve known about for several years,” Walker said.

Under Walker’s proposal, 77,000 citizens would be able to keep their BadgerCare coverage until March 31. After that date, they would be responsible for getting insurance through the federal exchange.

The BadgerCare extension will not require any additional general purpose revenue funds, according to Walker.

The governor’s 2013-2015 budget already had added approximately $650 million in general purpose revenue for Medicaid. Overall, the total Medicaid budget for the 2013-2015 biennium is about $16.3 billion.

Walker is also asking the Wisconsin Legislature to pass a bill that would extend the state’s Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan by three months to provide an added safety net during the transition.

The Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan, which covers about 20,000 people, has a considerable surplus to allow the state to continue the program, Walker said.

Attempts to reach the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to determine the amount of the surplus were unsuccessful.

Both of Walker’s initiatives, which are expected to be considered by the Legislature in a special session sometime after Thanksgiving, would not require approval from the federal government, according to Tom Evenson, the governor’s spokesman.

Walker predicts the legislation will pass with broad bipartisan support.

But some Democratic lawmakers are not as optimistic.

“What Governor Walker failed to mention during his press conference (Thursday) is that we wouldn’t need to call for a special session if he had not repeatedly refused funding to strengthen BadgerCare and develop a Wisconsin-specific health care exchange,” state Rep. Sandy Pasch, D-Shorewood, said in a press release.

Walker is also requesting that the federal government grant the state a waiver that would allow Wisconsinites who qualify for subsidies to be able to use that financial assistance for any qualified health plan, even those outside the exchanges.

Walker’s proposal comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement that Americans will now be able to keep their cancelled health insurance policies for a year.

More than 4.8 million Americans had received notices that their preexisting plans were soon to be illegal, according to Forbes.

Insurance companies must also inform consumers of what benefits those plans lack, and of options for better coverage under the new law.

Obama’s initiative is extremely similar to the “If You Like Your Health Care, You Can Keep It Act,” that was already introduced by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

Contact Adam Tobias at atobias@watchdog.org or follow him on Twitter @Scoop_Tobias

Part of 96 in the series Obamacare
  1. Obamacare compliance means less money for TN service agencies
  2. The mystery of Obamacare spending in Arkansas
  3. Obamacare raises questions for MD small business owners
  4. Kansas official on Obamacare: ‘Let someone else be the guinea pig’
  5. Obamacare insurance marketplace has plenty of kinks on first day
  6. OR’s Obamacare insurance marketplace hits technological snag
  7. Fail: Day 1 of the New Mexico Obamacare rollout
  8. Senator asks: Do you want this dysfunctional government taking over health care?
  9. Jobs, coverage at risk with Obamacare, MN union health official says
  10. Oregon’s Obamacare ads resemble middle school art
  11. VIDEO: Obamacare vs Affordable Care Act: Comedy triumphs in court of confusion
  12. Patience is key to navigating Illinois’ Obamacare marketplace
  13. Hawaii residents, lawmakers frustrated with health connector glitches
  14. Healthy young, key to Obamacare, aren’t buying it
  15. NM’s health exchange tries to lure ‘young invincibles’
  16. Obama drama: Senator blames governor for big rate hikes
  17. Progressive group navigates Oregon students through Obamacare
  18. Maddening: Trying to log onto federal health care site
  19. You know that one guy who successfully signed up for Obamacare? He didn’t
  20. What’s wrong? It’s been a week, and Obamacare website still not working
  21. HHS Secretary Sebelius back in FL after embarrassing Obamacare rollout
  22. Health centers enroll Floridians in Obamacare as application problems persist
  23. VIDEO: Stewart skewers Sebelius on Obamacare
  24. Obamacare effect? 9 companies exit Nebraska’s health insurance market
  25. Obamacare: Children of undocumented parents face an uncertain future
  26. Which way do we go? Obamacare navigator registration in TN in question
  27. NM health exchange tries to ease problems with Obamacare website
  28. CPA says hype over Obamacare small business tax credit is misleading
  29. Obamacare navigator under fire for arrest warrant
  30. Reports of Obamacare fraud emerge in Tennessee
  31. After two weeks, FL online Obamacare enrollees are hard to find
  32. Illinois state governor touts 100K Obamacare enrollees, all in Medicaid
  33. Kansas lawmaker calls for crackdown on Obamacare navigators
  34. WI health care exchange seeing few getting through
  35. Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange relaunches with more glitches
  36. We’ll know next month how many people in NM signed up for Obamacare — maybe
  37. Zero: Number of Nebraskans Obamacare navigators have signed up
  38. It took this Delaware woman 11 days to sign up for Obamacare – and she was the first
  39. How many people have signed up for health insurance in VA? Who knows?
  40. What else? NM federal health exchange ads stalled due to website problems
  41. Blue Cross hires temp workers to deal with Obamacare glitches
  42. If Obamacare is the next Medicare, will physicians leave en masse?
  43. Three problems that won’t be solved by fixing the Obamacare exchange glitches
  44. Plenty of Oregonians interested in Obamacare, but none can enroll online
  45. Criticize this: Obamacare premiums a near match to WI disclosures
  46. Report: Missourians will see sharp rise in premiums under Obamacare
  47. Kansas navigators say they’ve enrolled no one in Obamacare
  48. Obamacare too costly for rich Coloradans, Democrat congressman says
  49. Study: Kansas premiums to spike following Obamacare rollout
  50. Hang on to your candy: Creepy Uncle Sam is back
  51. Obamacare or bust: NM Watchdog turned back again
  52. Medical journals, experts refute claim that Medicaid cuts ER use
  53. Arkansas spends $4M on Obamacare ads, wants more
  54. LOL: In July video, HHS bragged about being ‘on schedule’ with Obamacare
  55. Illinois uses Day of the Dead to market Obamacare
  56. Sebelius denies GOP’s Terry ‘unreliable’ Obamacare info
  57. About 290,000 Washington residents lose health insurance plans
  58. Broken promise: Obamacare cancels almost 20,000 Kansas health care plans
  59. Top hospitals opt out of Obamacare
  60. Obamacare moves to intensive care
  61. Obamacare provision could lead to more Medicaid fraud
  62. Obamacare: Religious groups want to ‘move mountains’
  63. Obamacare hitting Wisconsin residents with double whammy
  64. Kansas AG: Obamacare threatens consumer privacy
  65. 1,500 in New Mexico have to move out of the high-risk insurance pool
  66. Cover Oregon website fiasco creates jobs, but costs millions
  67. For Florida’s Obamacare small business exchange, it’s crunch time
  68. Only 877 Wisconsinites have signed up for Obamacare, federal report says
  69. Just 172 in NM have completed Obamacare applications: ‘Woefully inadequate,’ says NMIX board member
  70. With only 346 Oklahomans signed up, leaders decry ‘Obamacare debacle’
  71. Defying Obamacare: ‘Send them the bill,’ NM insurance official says
  72. Kansas Obamacare enrollment dwarfed by nearly 20,000 cancellations
  73. Numbers don’t lie: In Illinois, Obamacare means Medicaid
  74. Wisconsin governor proposes insurance plan to address Obamacare rollout failure
  75. Tennesseans might know Tuesday if they can keep canceled health insurance
  76. People demand answers over Oregon’s Obamacare fail
  77. Calif. says ‘no’ to Obamacare freebies, makes own law
  78. HI health exchange violates federal law, League of Women Voters say
  79. Obamacare video winner: ‘Forget about the price tag’
  80. Harvard study finds ‘striking’ rejection of Obamacare by young Americans
  81. HI health exchange has signed up 574 people, for about $348,000 apiece
  82. Are the uninsured getting Obamacare coverage in Illinois?
  83. Secret Obamacare handbook the feds don’t want you to see is online
  84. Lost in translation: Once-supportive Hispanics turning backs on Obama, ACA
  85. HI Obamacare exchange not fiscally sustainable, lawmakers told
  86. Illinois’ latest Obamacare targets: gold diggers and momma’s boys
  87. Now Democrats are bashing California’s Obamacare exchange, too
  88. Obamacare: For $1.37M we get Richard Simmons in lurid web stream
  89. Obamacare: A welcome mat for IRS horrors
  90. California senator seeks audit of state Obamacare exchange
  91. Report: Hawaii ranks worst for Obamacare signups
  92. CA senator sues Obamacare exchange for causing policy cancellations of 1M
  93. Failure of Maryland Obamacare exchange could mean higher premiums in North Dakota
  94. Video: Watch Creepy Uncle Sam make it rain
  95. Five bright spots surrounding the Obamacare exchange failures
  96. Obamacare architect admitted in 2012 states without exchanges lose subsidies

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Adam Tobias, a 2004 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, joined Wisconsin Reporter in 2013 after working for two daily newspapers for nearly 10 years. In addition to winning first-place awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and West Virginia Press Association, Adam’s stories have appeared on Fox News, the Washington Times, National Review Online, Human Events, Breitbart and Right Wing News. Contact Adam at atobias@watchdog.org or follow him on Twitter @Scoop_Tobias.