Thursday, October 12, 2017

Walker/Trump sabotage raising health premiums, and offering no solutions

Well, it’s October again, and that means sign-up time for health care. With that in mind, this wasn’t welcome news for people who don’t get health insurance through their job.
The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has completed its review of rates and forms filed by insurers requesting to participate in the federally facilitated exchange. It is important to note these rates and forms are impacting the individual market only and not the group market where most Wisconsinites get their coverage.

"This year, we were successful in ensuring coverage in all Wisconsin counties," stated Commissioner Ted Nickel. "Unfortunately, Wisconsin consumers will be facing an average premium rate increase of 36 percent for individual ACA-compliant health insurance plans in Wisconsin. These rate changes and the recent exiting of numerous national carriers make it even more important for individuals to actively explore their health insurance options. As always, it's helpful to seek out insurance professionals to help guide you through that process."
The methodology is a bit sketchy, as it assumes a mid-level “silver” plan for a 21-year-old. That person is likely to be covered by his/her parent’s insurance or by their college health plan, and the people in bigger need of the exchanges are older working-class people, many of whom work as independent contractors and/or menial jobs that don’t offer insurance.

But it at least gives a comparison across years and counties, so let’s go with it. In the Wisconsin State Journal article on this subject, Deputy Insurance Commissioner J.P. Wieske was at least more honest about what the average exchange user would really pay.
Premiums next year will increase an average of 40 percent for so-called silver plans on the exchange in the state. About 90 percent of people with the coverage get subsidies that will also go up accordingly, so they won't be directly impacted, Wieske said.

Rates for bronze plans, which offer less coverage, will go up 21 percent. The cost for gold plans, which offer more coverage, will go up 19 percent. People buying those plans will have to pay more.
Oh, so most Wisconsinites won’t actually pay more, there will just be more tax dollars spent in subsidy to make up the difference. That’s not good if you’re concerned about the federal deficit and being able to pay for other needs (it also might make tax cuts a really bad idea), but let’s not pretend that a lot of Wisconsinites are going to be driven into poverty as a result of what was revealed today.

And Wieske acknowedges that the anti-Obamacare talk from our President* is leading insurance companies to assume a worst-case scenario, which explains why there is such a jump in unsubsidized premiums.
A major reason for the stiff hikes is that President Donald Trump's administration hasn't said if it will continue certain payments to insurers, said J.P. Wieske, deputy commissioner of insurance…

Trump has threatened to end payments to insurance companies to help cover low-income people, though the payments have continued.

Wisconsin, like some other states, told insurance companies to assume the payments, associated with silver plans, won't be provided next year. That contributed significantly to their large rate increases for silver plans, Wieske said.
Wieske goes on to say that if the payments to insurers continue, then that would likely lower premiums next year. In addition, he says Trump’s executive order allowing for crap insurance to be sold to small groups may also allow for lower premiums than what was being reported today.

But those realities didn’t stop our Koched-up governor from opening his trap, and continuing to spread the Big Lie.
Gov. Scott Walker added: "Obamacare is collapsing, and these huge premium increases show the law failed on its promise to deliver affordable healthcare."
The duplicitousness of Sleazy Scotty is a real piece of work here.

1. If Trump would simply CARRY OUT THE LAW and allow the cost-sharing payments to insurance companies, Obamacare wouldn’t be looking at “huge premium increases” in Wisconsin.

2. Walker’s whole cynical plan in rejecting Medicaid expansion was to push Wisconsinites above the poverty line onto the exchanges, in the hopes of overloading the exchanges and making them less cost-efficient. Now Scotty is openly cheering the fact that people are facing premium hikes as an outcome of this decision instead of DEALING WITH PROBLEM AND HELPING THE PEOPLE OF WISCONSIN.

Trump and Walker are in the same boat here, willfully injuring their constituents to…accomplish what? Mess up the legacy of the Black Man that used to be in the White House? They've got no solution when it comes to giving adequate medical coverage to more people, and our media never asks these slimeballs what outcome they want to see, or how they plan to do it.

And why do people stand around and not demand that these bastards be run out of town on a rail for this ridiculous and sickening act?


  1. And now the Trump Administration won't pay the insurance companies their assistance, perhaps immediately. There is no reason for this other than partisan spite.

    Republicans could stop this from happening bypassing a bipartisan law requiring those payments and setting aside money to do so. Let's see if they do their job, of if they choose to be soulless ghouls as well.

  2. Conservatives' core point of view on medical care is flawed. With a 21st century workforce and interwoven economy, it's much more akin to infrastructure than it is to a commodity in my opinion.

    There is no market-based reason for insurers to provide coverage or doctors to provide service to poor, old and sick people who cannot possibly pay the likely market cost of their care. It simply doesn't exist.

    We either decide that the richest nation on the planet is going to provide a reasonable level of coverage to its citizens and allow the market to cover desires in excess of that level - which leaves us with some combination of private offerings with a subsidized insurance mandate like the ACA combined with programs like Medicare - or we leave people to suffer and muddle through on their own and pay the consequences of a diminished workforce.

    I have my doubts about the US going to a full on single payer model any time soon, but it would be interesting to see what the cost and benefits would be to buy into Medicare were that made possible.

    Could Wisconsin, for instance, take its government workforce away from private insurers and run them all through the state's existing systems?

    1. I know Dems in Wisconsin have proposed a bill making it legal to have people "buy in" to Badgercare. Seems like a good fallback if Trump-GOP continue messing with the ACA.

      As you bring up, there is no money to be made on insuring older, sicker people, so unless you are a ghoul, you need government to be part of the equation. Covering everybody with a base menu of services is good economics as well as the mark of being a decent society