Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Press Release

Scott Walker Misleading Voters With Health Care Cost Reduction Claims

Walker’s election year plan impacts a tiny fraction of health consumers, is dwarfed by premium reductions in neighboring Minnesota, and does not make up for cost of his sabotage

By - Oct 11th, 2018 02:39 pm
Gov. Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Statewide: After 7 years of working to sabotage the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin, Scott Walker is making misleading claims about reducing health care costs just weeks ahead of a close election. The public has a right to know his real record on health care access and affordability.

First, Walker’s over-hyped claims of success on health care costs are classic election year fluff. Walker wants voters to believe that he has made progress on skyrocketing health care costs, when the vast majority of Wisconites will not see any reduction.

The initiative Walker is touting, so-called reinsurance, benefits less than 1% of Wisconsin’s health care consumers. This is because it does not provide any price relief for people who get their health care through their jobs, through Medicare, or BadgerCare. It only benefits the small number of people who buy health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace who make too much money to receive federal affordability tax credits. Only 5% of Wisconsin health care consumers buy insurance on the individual market, and 83% receive federal tax credits which offset any premium increases.

Second, Walker’s election year hyperbole misrepresents his actual health care record. Even if we consider the one year premium decrease for a small number of Wisconsinites Walker is touting, his record of sabotage compares very unfavorably with neighboring Minnesota, which has embraced and built on the Affordable Care Act. According to a analysis of 2019 individual marketplace premiums conducted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin today, Minnesota’s premiums are decreasing for 2019 by double the amount that Wisconsin’s for a benchmark plan (13% vs 6%). As a result, the well know cost advantage Minnesota has over Wisconsin actually is increasing, from 45% more expensive in Wisconsin in 2018 to 59% more expensive in 2019.” This means the average 40 year old Minnesotan who buys a benchmark plan on their own and does not qualify for a federal tax credit will pay premiums of almost $200 less per month than a 40 year old . ($533 per month for premiums in Wisconsin vs. $335 in Minnesota for a 40 year old purchasing the benchmark plan on their own without a federal tax credit).

Third, Walker’s election year representations on health care do not take into account the cost of his saborgage of the Affordable Care Act. According to numbers compiled from independent research by Citizen Action, Walker’s actions have increased premiums on individual market by at least 17%, and Donald Trump’s sabotage of the ACA has increased premiums by at least 18%.

“The fact of the matter is that Scott Walker has never made meaningful health care reform a focus of his administration, and Wisconsin families are paying the price with high premiums, skyrocketing deductibles, and unaffordable prescription medications,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “No amount of election year spin can cover up Scott Walker’s abysmal health care record. Walker may find it politically necessary in an election year to pretend to care about affordability, but 7 years of sabotage reveals that he has played politics with the lives of Wisconsinites who are struggling to afford health care.”

 

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