Wisconsin, brace yourself for a “Republicanized” Medicaid plan

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Image credit: DieselDemon***

And by “Republicanized” I mean further privatized and simultaneously screwing over both the taxpayer and the poor.

I ran into the article Wis. governor offers a way around ObamaCare problems over at FoxNews.com.

It says,
“He is floating a proposal that would still channel federal subsidies to Wisconsin’s poor and uninsured, but his plan would allow them to purchase coverage directly from the insurer and sidestep the on-line “exchange” created by the Affordable Care Act.”

So I’m guessing that his proposal is either
(1) A PR stunt.
Meaning he will propose terms so radically useless that the federal government can’t possibly accommodate them and their refusal will be Walker’s opportunity to say Obamacare and the Obama administration is a failure.

or

(2) The Obama administration is over a barrel and it’s ready to wheel and deal to get this Obamacare program going and it will give Walker his waiver.
EVEN if the concessions allow state bureaucracy to skim money.
Even if it makes the Medicaid program more expensive.
Even if it allows Obamacare’s own consumer protection mandates to be left behind.

I would be ready to put money on #2 except I’m not sure how the Wingnut Nine feels about it – – the nine WI legislators who said they would “back a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the health care law” [i.e. Obamacare].**

We can look to what’s happening in Iowa, Arkansas, and Indiana for a few clues.

HHS just granted a THREE YEAR waiver to Iowa which conforms to Branstad’s demand to charge Medicaid recipients a small premium to be waived if they undergo a health screening.

Kathleen Sebelius will meet with Indiana’s Guv in February to negotiate a deal to expand Medicaid under terms more to his liking.

Since we have a lot of info on Iowa’s recent deal and it’s where Walker is currying favor for a presidential run, it’s worth focusing on.

Initially Iowa’s Guv Branstad wanted to charge all recipients of the expanded Medicaid money earning 0 to 133% of federal poverty level a premium. The fed gov’t negotiated to make premiums a reality only for those at 100% – 133% of F.P.L.

To be clear, 100-133% of F.P.L. is $11,490 to $15,282 per year. Keep in mind it’s Iowa – a state which requires a substantial shelter and wardrobe to sustain life during routinely severe and long winters.

Maybe these poor Iowans CAN handle another monthly bill if it’s only $19/month (for a single adult in this example)*.
But can they afford co-payments when they come up?
Or will a lot of public money wind up getting prepaid to private insurance companies for healthcare that never gets delivered to the people it was intended for?

Crummy as I might believe this waiver is, it COULD be that Iowans have grown accustomed to living in a much crummier situation and Branstad’s miserly and manipulative crumbs are seen as lavish gifts.

See this excerpt from a June Bleeding Heartland post written by desmoinesdem:
“The Iowa Health and Wellness Plan could cover as many as 150,000 people, or roughly half of Iowa’s estimated population lacking health insurance. It should be a big improvement on the expiring Iowa Cares program, which currently offers inferior coverage to about 70,000 Iowans. Iowa Cares lacks mental health benefits and forces beneficiaries to receive care at one of two hospitals in the state.”

Just some additional readings:

Joan Alker at Georgetown questions the Iowa expansion but thinks on balance, it’s a good thing for the state.

Deep details on the Iowa plan:
Federal waiver for Iowa Marketplace Choice Plan Approval period Jan 1, 14 – Dec 31, 16

Iowa Medicaid Enterprise site has August 23rd draft Iowa Wellness Plan waiver applications, toolkits, maps, presentations etc.

August 23rd letter from Branstad to Obama/Sebelius re. his waiver request.

*
The premium level set by the Iowa waiver can be no greater than 2% of the beneficiaries’ household income.

**
The Wingnut Nine
Rep. Chris Kapenga of Delafield
Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin
Reps. Don Pridemore of Hartford
Rep. Erik Severson of Star Prairie
Rep. Tom Larson of Colfax
Rep. Scott Krug of Wisconsin Rapids

Not sworn in yet when they vowed to block Obamacare:
Rob Hutton of Brookfield
Mark Born of Beaver Dam
Dave Murphy of Greenville

***
This image from DieselDemon has been edited – changed focus, contrast, blurred out details, added a filter. It appears here under a creative commons license.

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One thought on “Wisconsin, brace yourself for a “Republicanized” Medicaid plan

  1. I am in the middle of stage 3 ovarian cancer. On pathetic short term dis. from work 60% of $12. Have my 80/20 insurance. All savings gone, and sold most possessions sold to pay medical bills and rent. I have applied for Social Security and been denied even though My cancer is on a list they are supposed to grant. This decision was made in Wis.walker has already changed the poverty level in WI from 138% of Fed poverty level to !00% if you earn $11,490 or more you are disqualified for any assistance. walker and his crew are murders period.

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