Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Fatally Out-of-Touch on Health Care

Scott Walker has had the luxury of receiving taxpayer funded health care for a very long time. Like so many other "anti-government" Republicans, other than a very short period, Walker has lived off taxpayers for his entire adult life. Because of the generous benefits provided by Wisconsin taxpayers, Walker and his family never had to seriously worry about health insurance and medical care costs. His personal hypocrisy makes his extremist policy positions on the issue all the more repugnant.

There are many people in Wisconsin that don't find themselves in such an envious position. In fact all too many hard working Wisconsinites find themselves caught in the middle and falling between the cracks of our dysfunctional health care system. They are working hard but don't earn enough to cover rapidly increasing health insurance costs. Costs that have greatly increased but at the same time have covered much less. The expansion of the BadgerCare program during Governor Doyle's administration provided a solution to more of these people. Because it met such a real need it was certainly not a surprise that it became extremely popular. Naturally Scott Walker plans to mindlessly and carelessly cut from this program, leaving real working Wisconsinites to totally fend for themselves in a hostile environment once again.

The Walker administration apparently isn't content in simply throwing thousands of those Wisconsinites to the wolves. Apparently they want to further protect the predators in this situation, the big health insurance industry. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of premiums paid to them on actual medical care. If insurers don't meet this requirement then they have to give rebates to their policy holders. Recently the Walker administration filed for a three year waiver regarding this new rule. If that waiver is granted it will cost Wisconsinites operating alone in the predatory insurance market some $14 million. All to protect a handful of the largest insurance companies. Apparently some insurance companies are ready to actually follow the law and others are not.

As a self-employed person I have personal experience with trying to fend for myself in the predatory health insurance market. In fact I have had a very direct experience with one of the big insurance companies that the Walker administration is now trying to protect. To make a long story short, they may as well have just held me up at gun point and taken my money the old fashioned way. The best that I can do is to chalk it up to a very expensive learning experience.

Although the Affordable Care Act doesn't go as far as I would have preferred, my own personal experience with its provisions have certainly been more positive than the totally unchecked dysfunction that proceeded it. There are many provisions of the law that are helpful to different people for different reasons. For example, here are the items that I have either come to appreciate personally or that I eagerly anticipate once they are fully implemented:

  • 80% of the money that I am paying my insurance company each month will either go to actual medical care or a portion of it will be refunded.
  • Small business and other health care TAX CREDITS
  • Preventative services that were not covered in the past that are now covered specifically because of the new health care law.
  • Health care exchanges (which as far as I can remember used to be a Republican idea) that will give individuals and small business owners more leverage and will help foster a more competitive environment.

Most people are not asking for a free pass when it comes to health insurance and medical care. I certainly know that there has been nothing "free" about my own personal experience. Most hard working people are just asking for fair treatment in an environment that has been dysfunctional and predatory for far too long. Now that the individuals who are on their own are starting to actually get some help, Scott Walker has decided to defend the predators. He has made the choice to defend them rather than the people that have quite literally been paying his (health care) bills for his entire adult life. For once, he should be forced to actually live in the dark dysfunctional world that he is constantly trying to perpetuate. Maybe he will actually get that opportunity very very soon.

1 comment:

Dorinne said...

Thank you for this well worded article. I have been posting information on my blog about Walkers attack on medicaid since February after I read the budget repair bill. It was heartbreaking to see that collective bargaining rights was the issue getting all of the attention when this part of the bill desperately needed press coverage because lives were being put in harms way and people did not know about it. There were some articles but not enough to get attention. Advocacy groups were actually screaming for attention as far back as December of 2010, they knew what he was up to but have been powerless to stop this republican machine now operating in WI. This situation is very distressing because lives are at risk and it appears that little can be done to stop Walkers agenda.