If you read the state's press release about the new report or went to an invitation-only press briefing Wednesday you would have been told that the study shows that reforms will mess up what is already working fine in Wisconsin. "We have one of the lowest uninsured rates and one of the most robust insurance marketplaces in the nation, all achieved without federal mandates," Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis G. Smith said in the press release, which lists what it calls "major concerns" that are "demonstrated by the results of this study."You gotta love how the Walker boys and Dennis Smith tried to lock out the media and the public from asking real questions. Check this pasage.
But that's not the conclusion Gruber came to at all. "They picked out the most negative aspects of the report to highlight," Gruber told me in an interview. "Overall I think health care reform is a great thing for Wisconsin."
A key finding of the analysis -- that 340,000 uninsured people in Wisconsin will gain coverage by 2016 -- was not even mentioned in the press release issued by the state's Office of Free Market Health Care, which is the new department created by Walker to replace Doyle's Office of Health Care Reform, created barely a year earlier to carry out the federal Affordable Care Act.
Among the strict ground rules: reporters could not use any quotes provided by Smith and other state officials during the course of an hourlong briefing and PowerPoint presentation (which didn't get to the good news about the increase in coverage for 340,000 people until the last of 16 slides.) Reporters could use only comments provided in the press release or afterwards in one-in-one interviews with Smith...So these guys couldn't even stand to go on the record with their bullshit, and didn't want the guy who who actually did the work to explain the results? Then Dennis Smith and company have no right to take my tax dollars for their "work" (read:propagndizing on behalf of insurance companies)
State officials did not invite Gruber to Wisconsin for the release of his study nor did they set up a conference call with him for reporters or even provide them with his contact information. That is unusual for an important report like this, which cost $400,000. "I usually do a presentation at least to the stakeholders and policy makers," Gruber says. But he's not that surprised. "I think it's basically because they interpret their results differently than I do," he says.
Damn that reality and its liberal bias! This story needs to go wide. We'll see if it does when I come back from the great Northwoods on Monday.