Thursday, July 17, 2014

DHS finally releases Obamacare numbers, and it magnifies the #Walkerfail

1. After weeks of delay, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services finally released numbers showing what happened to the near-poverty group that was thrown off Badgercare as part of Gov Walker's 2013 decision to try to avoid complying with the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). And contrary to what the Walker Administration claimed last year, most of these people didn't end up getting medical coverage from the exchanges.
The data match that the Department completed with data received from CMS determined how many BadgerCare Plus members who needed to transition into the federal Health Insurance Marketplace because they no longer met program rules as of April 1, 2014 chose to select a qualified health plan through the Marketplace for their private health insurance coverage and were eligible to receive an Advanced Premium Tax Credit.

When CMS and the Department of Health Services finalized Wisconsin’s approach to operationalizing the Affordable Care Act in December 2013, both agencies agreed to establish a way to track the number of people who made the transition to securing coverage through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. This data match fulfills this requirement.

Below is a summary of the 62,776 transitioning BadgerCare Plus members included in the data match:

24,660 selected a qualified health plan through the Marketplace as of June 13, 2014 or are now eligible for BadgerCare Plus or Medicaid.

18,801 selected a qualified health plan through the Marketplace.

4,867 are on BadgerCare Plus or Medicaid.

992 were flagged as being on BadgerCare Plus/Medicaid and selecting a qualified health plan.
In other words, more than 60% of those parents and caretakers that were kicked off of Badgercare did not get covered by Medicaid or the Obamacare exchanges. That's not a good ratio, if you ask me.

In the AP story on the Medicaid numbers, DHS Secretary Kitty Rhoades and Deputy Secretary Kevin Moore mention that many of the 38,000 others may not be uninsured, but instead could have ended up on other health insurance coverage through work and/or a spouse, and there's some truth to that statement. It's why I'm going to be very interested in the Census Bureau's annual release of uninsured figures, which usually happens around September. Those figures only run through the end of December 2013, so it won't account for the full effect of receiving coverage in 2014 under Obamacare, but we can at least see how we were shaping up before then.

That being said, even if those parents and caretakers were able to get coverage through their work or spouse, it doesn't mention the added out-of-pocket costs that will result from kicking them off of BadgerCare, and the extra strain and reduced spending that causes to other parts of the state's economy.

And the Rhoades and Moore claim that they parents and caretakers with incomes between 133-200% of poverty HAD to be thrown off of BadgerCare isn't quite true. If you look at the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's paper from February 2013 that described options available to the state for health insurance under the ACA, you'll notice that BadgerCare Plus (which most parents and caretakers were covered under) was not affected by the ACA, only the BadgerCare Plus CORE plan, which is for childless adults with incomes between 100-200% of the poverty line- it's a separate program.

The BadgerCare Plus plan was just fine under the ACA, as long as the state chose to pay their share of it. In fact, the LFB paper shows the state would have spent less money if they would have taken the expanded Medicaid funding in the ACA, and continued to cover the 133-200% group of caretakers under BadgerCare Plus, compared to the costs of Walker's plan. Let's use the LFB projections that were made in February 2013, and use Option 4B as the base, because that assumed the highest number of people being covered under the ACA, and therefore the highest state costs for maintaining BadgerCare Plus.

Comparative state costs of Medicaid plans

Option 1- Take expanded Medicaid, cover parents/ caretakers with incomes 133-200% of poverty

FY 2014 $15.5 million
FY 2015 $32.3 million
FY 2016 $33.6 million
FY 2017 $35.1 million

Option 2- Walker plan, don't take expanded Medicaid, don't cover parents/caretakers with incomes 133-200% of poverty

FY 2014 $2.0 million (a low estimate, as we found out)
FY 2015 $56.2 million
FY 2016 $70.6 million
FY 2017 $73.3 million

Difference in costs of taking Option 2 vs Option 1
FY 2014 -$13.5 million
FY 2015 +$23.9 million
FY 2016 +$37.0 million
FY 2017 +$38.2 million
TOTAL +$85.6 million more expensive under Walker plan

So we would have been covering many more people for a lower cost to Wisconsin taxpayers, and without those individuals having to go through the disruption of being kicked off of BadgerCare and having to search for insurance through other means. It is yet more proof that Walker's decision to TeaBag Obamacare is a massive failure on both a fiscal and humanitarian basis, and reason enough to remove this guy from power this November (leaving out all the corruption and the "worst job growth in the Midwest" thing).

No comments:

Post a Comment