We believe it is time to get past the politics of the ACA and start working on short-term and long-term fixes to the market before it is too late. We support Governor Walker’s reinsurance program because in the short term, it will have a positive impact on 2019 premium increases. This will in turn save federal dollars that would otherwise be paid out in higher tax credits for people purchasing insurance that qualify for those credits. It is critically important that we preserve the integrity of the insurance pools in Wisconsin, and making health insurance more affordable for people that do not get federal assistance is a good first step toward doing that.
We also share the concerns of those that want to see a longer-term solution in place. If a Wisconsin program is approved it will impact 2019 plan year premiums only. The legislature will have to approve funding for subsequent years to keep the program going beyond 2019, else together we will suffer the need to raise rates to offset the loss of funds. We hope to avoid any more instability that keeps healthier people from buying insurance, which will improve prices for insurance consumers. We have concerns about competing ideas that are moving us in the other direction, toward an unhealthier risk profile, such as the expansion of short-term policies and association health plans that remove healthy individuals from the insurance pool.
Finally, we still have a huge elephant in the room that no one is talking about, and that’s the price of health care. The reinsurance idea, while important for the short term, only moves some costs off the insurance side of the ledger and makes them the responsibility of government. This is just moving money around, not lowering costs. An article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently highlighted the problem of health care prices. To tackle that, politicians must put people above politics and stand up to special interests. Let’s get past the fighting over Obamacare and talk about real solutions to protect Wisconsin families and our economy.