Bill Would Rip Away Essential Health Benefits & Legalize Insurance Discrimination Based on Pre-existing Conditions
BadgerCare Public Option is a real solution: would lower costs without taking away coverage
Statewide: In yet another attempt to take healthcare away from Wisconsinites, conservatives are trying to quickly pass a bill (AB-920/SB-806) to allow the sale of substandard health plans to small employers which do not cover essential benefits and can charge discriminatory rates based on the health conditions of their employees. Because small employers could buy these new “health benefit arrangements” known as “association plans,” many employees who have good coverage now could be forced into dangerous substandard plans. Because such plans would siphon off employers with healthier workers, rates on traditional insurance could skyrocket for people with health conditions both in the association plans and the small group insurance market generally, in effect re-legalizing a major aspect of pre-existing condition discrimination.
The BadgerCare Public Option bill (AB 449/SB 363) s a far better solution, lowering costs for high quality coverage. The BadgerCare Public Option, which small businesses could buy into, would cost lower premiums and deductible by an average of $1,708.11 for small employers, according to Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s Annual Cost Ranking Report.
“This bill does nothing to lower healthcare prices. It simply shifts the costs to the employees, their families, and the public. If Rep. Zimmerman and Sen. Stroebel really wanted to lower prices, they would pass the BadgerCare Public Option. Instead they are digging their heels in and not doing what’s best for Wisconsinites,” says Jane Maley, a retired registered nurse in Sen. Stroebel’s district who is a member of Citizen Action’s Health Care for All Organizing Co-op.
“Legalizing dangerous health plans which leave out vital medical services and discriminate based on health conditions is a step backwards,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.“Conservative politicians refuse to understand that you can’t guarantee quality affordable health coverage unless everyone is included. We can’t return to the failed and unethical policies of the past. The BadgerCare Public Option bill shows that the best way to lower costs is to use the full leverage of state government to guarantee high quality coverage options to everyone in Wisconsin.”
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