What’s a governor to do? Especially a GOP governor who opposed the Affordable Care Act, whose constituents face 30-plus percent premium increases as a consequence of his party’s undermining the mechanisms in the ACA that keep premiums reasonable.
Ask Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.
Suddenly, he understands that to keep the things his constituents want, like coverage for pre-existing conditions, the cost of health care goes up. Somebody has to pay the bill.
The math’s simple. Either policyholders’ premiums go up, or another mechanism to offset costs to insurers is needed. The original ACA had several ways to keep premium increases modest. Over the years, especially under President Donald Trump, the GOP has steadily gutted them — risk corridor payments in expensive areas, costsharing reductions to lower deductibles and copays, the individual mandate to collect contributions from healthy people. One by one these were terminated by Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc-Connell, Rep. Lloyd Smucker and Sen. Pat Toomey.
So how did Walker address the problem he helped create?He’s using another ACA tool to lower premiums!
Reinsurance, used to stabilize insurers as they transitioned under the ACA, will provide $200 million to subsidize Wisconsin’s health care costs to avoid shifting them to premium-paying constituents. While the ACA’s reinsurance program was funded by insurers and employers for use as needed, Wisconsin will fund it at taxpayer expense.
While the Wisconsin irony is notable, the moral is that one way or another, we all pay for health care.
DWIGHT EICHELBERGER, M.D.