Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Press Release

Scott Walker’s “Bait and Switch” Health Care Plan Would Force Millions Off Health Coverage

Supposed plan is a thinly veiled excuse to go backwards and to legalize discrimination

By - Aug 18th, 2015 10:25 am

Milwaukee: In an issue paper posted late last night and to be formally announced today in a speech in Minnesota, Scott Walker offers up a “bait and switch” health care plan that will immediately force millions Americans off of their health care coverage without providing any viable alternative. Walker’s ceaseless efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) fly in the face of the public’s desire to move the discussion beyond repeal to actually improving health care, lowering costs, and saving lives.

Walker’s choice of Minnesota of all places to release his plan to go backwards on health reform is a major miscalculation. Citizen Action of Wisconsin research has shown that health insurance costs for individuals and small businesses are much lower in Minnesota than Wisconsin in part because state leaders there have been working to implement and improve the health care law. Wisconsin’s health premiums are higher in part because of Walker’s efforts to sabotage health reform.

Walker’s supposed plan is so rife with internal contradictions and fuzzy math that it will never become law. It is a campaign document not serious public policy. It repeals all funding for health care reform while promising large new subsidies with no identified source of revenue. If enacted, Walker’s plan would dramatically constrict the freedom of the American people to access affordable coverage and control their own medical decisions.

The low lights of Walker’s Health Plan include:

  • Repeal of the federal guarantee that no American can be denied coverage or charged higher premiums by insurance companies because they have pre-existing medical conditions.

  • Repeal of the federal requirement that insurance companies allow young adults to stay on their parents health policies.

  • Gutting Medicaid health programs for moderate income Americans (like BadgerCare) by block granting federal funds without any indexing for inflation, and limiting required state matching contributions. This will likely result in millions of moderate income Americans losing their affordable health coverage.

  • Repeal income-based tax subsidies which make health coverage affordable for low and middle income Americans. The plan promises new subsidies, but simultaneously repeals the funding. The plan shifts from a progressive and targeted approach to health care subsidies based on the ability to pay to an approach that would if enacted funnel millions of dollars to the wealthy who do not need help to afford coverage.

  • Shifting to a flat age-based subsidy system which will dramatically raise premiums for many Americans who rely on the federal marketplace for their health coverage. For example, 60 year old in Milwaukee, making $20,000 per year, would lose $4,474 per year in tax credits designed to mitigate the cost of their healthcare. Other medical costs would also increase because Walker also repeals caps on out-of-pocket medical costs. See more examples of cost increases for individual health consumers HERE.

  • Legalizing sale of substandard skimpy health plans which leave people vulnerable to bankruptcy and without needed care when they have a major illness.

  • Dramatically increasing health insurance premiums by creating incentives for healthier and younger Americans not to buy insurance until they are already sick, making the insurance risk pool less healthy and more expensive.

“Walker’s supposed plan is not serious health policy. It is a campaign document which provides nothing more than window dressing for a massive roll-back of the freedom to access quality affordable health care,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The American people are tired of the constant efforts to undermine health care reform. It’s time to recognize that the health care law is here to stay. Rather than going backwards, we need to work together to make the law better and lower costs.”

As Citizen Action of Wisconsin has extensively documented, Walker’s efforts to sabotage health care reform in Wisconsin has increased costs both to consumers and government, left tens of thousands of families needlessly without life saving coverage, and saddled consumers with dangerous substandard health insurance plans.

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