Wis. Gov. Walker Pushing Plan to Sidestep Obamacare

Friday, 13 Dec 2013 11:20 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a plan to sidestep Obamacare – and his novel idea is gaining traction, according to reports.

Walker reportedly wants to let the uninsured use tax credits to buy plans offered on the federal online exchanges directly from the insurance companies.

Editor's Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself.

"Basically, our number one concern right now should be getting folks health insurance. Given the website problems, that suggests the value of a pilot of the type proposed here," Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told The Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee.

Gruber was involved in both the Massachusetts universal coverage plan, and the Affordable Care Act.

The plan will need the approval of Health and Human Services.

“If they don't approve this, this is ultimately exposing that this isn't really about access and this isn't about affordability,” Walker told Fox News Thursday. “It's about government playing a heavier hand in these kinds of decisions.”

Wisconsin's insurance commissioner, Ted Nickel, is asking HHS to include the state in a pilot program to let consumers go right to insurance carriers for coverage available through online exchanges; the newspaper reported the direct enrollment option is already included in Obamacare as it was originally written.

"Given that it's not working and [consumers] were promised subsidies, there's got to be a better way," Nickel’s spokesman, J.P. Wieske, told the newspaper.

Gruber supports a short-term plan to let buyers get insurance on the exchanges directly from the carriers, but warns against allowing consumers use their tax credit in search of a plan outside the exchange market.

"If the young and healthy can use the tax credit to stay out of the reformed insurance market, then it will worsen the price increase in that market,” he told the newspaper.

Fox News noted the Walker plan – and other GOP alternatives – fly in the face of Obama’s Dec. 3 assertion Republicans want only to “go back to the way things used to be.”
GOP plans are generally consumer driven, Ed Haislmaier of The Heritage Group told Fox News. “The patient makes choices,” he said.

Still, Gruber told Fox News other plans can’t go as far as the Affordable Care Act.

“I’ve yet to hear a Republican alternative which covers nearly as many uninsured or even half as many uninsured or offers evidence-based solutions to the health care cost crisis,” he told Fox News.

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts

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