Reforms similar to Walker’s led to lower health care premiums, not Medicaid expansion
August 29, 2018
[Madison, WI] — Tony Evers attacked Governor Scott Walker in his first ad of the general election cycle – the only problem was that Evers actually makes the case for Scott Walker’s health care reforms instead. After taking the federal Medicaid expansion, Minnesota’s insurance premiums steadily went up – and were even higher than Wisconsin’s. Minnesota’s premiums dropped only after embracing reforms similar to Governor Walker’s Wisconsin Health Care Stability Plan.
Read more about how Walker’s reforms are similar to those that lowered Minnesota’s health insurance premiums from the Associated Press here, or find excerpts below:
Governor Walker points out that Evers’ new ad supports the case for Walker’s reforms:
Walker said the spot was misleading because Minnesota put in place a reinsurance program to lower rates for 2018. Walker proposed a similar program, which the Legislature approved this year, but it won’t go into effect until 2019.
In 2017, before Minnesota’s self-insurance program took effect, the average cost for plans was $412 in Minnesota and $368 in Wisconsin.
“Not surprising — Tony Evers has his facts wrong in his very first general election TV ad,” Walker tweeted. “He’s actually making the case for OUR health care reforms instead.”
After expanding Medicare, Minnesota’s liberal governor called Obamacare “no longer affordable.” Then, reforms similar to Walker’s stabilized the health insurance market:
Minnesota touted some of the nation’s lowest health care premiums when the Affordable Care Act launched in 2014 but suffered through years of double-digit premium increases. Minnesota lawmakers responded in 2017 by passing a $542 million reinsurance program to help insurers cover costly patients and control health insurance rates for two years. That came after the state’s two largest insurance companies left the individual market, sparking fears of a mass exodus and leading Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to call the Affordable Care Act “no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people.”
Walker referenced that quote in one of a series of tweets where he accused Evers of “struggling to run against our record of real results for Wisconsin’s hard-working families” and “resorting to attacks that only mislead voters.”
Walker also proposed the reinsurance program after enrollment in Wisconsin dropped, fewer providers offered coverage and rates went up 44 percent this year. The $200 million program is expected to lower rates on average in 2019 by 3.5 percent.
In Minnesota, health insurance premiums have stabilized in the months since the reinsurance program was passed. Health insurers are proposing average decreases ranging from 3 percent to more than 12 percent for 2019, following similar decreases in 2018.
Read the full story here.