Fresh off his confirmation by the state Senate, Governor Scott Walker’s Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Dennis Smith, will offer testimony Wednesday on the fiscal consequences of health care reform – “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” before the House Budget Committee. The House panel is chaired by Representative Paul Ryan, the Janesville Republican who delivered the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
“The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute estimates that nearly 95 percent of Wisconsin citizens already have access to health insurance,” said Smith. “Wisconsin has achieved this high level of coverage without an individual mandate and without guaranteed issue, while maintaining a robust and competitive insurance market. Wisconsin already has achieved the coverage rates aspired to under PPACA. We have a strong, competitive health insurance market which we want to preserve and protect. All of the gains Wisconsin has made should not be put at risk.”
This background statement is included in the hearing notice from Ryan’s office.
Two years ago, President Obama announced that nothing was more important to the goal of closing our longterm fiscal gap than health care reform. But he and his party proceeded to create two new open-ended health care entitlement programs that will add trillions of dollars to our existing liabilities. Claims that the law will reduce the deficit rely on the use of budgetary gimmicks that hide spending, double-count savings, and ignore costly provisions that were selectively stripped from the bill and passed separately.
Furthermore, the open-ended nature of the new health care entitlement builds upon the inflationary architecture of our existing entitlement programs, which have contributed to the skyrocketing cost of health care. Exploding health care costs are bankrupting families, companies, states, and the federal government. Part of this hearing will be dedicated to examining whether the Democrats’ new health care law – with its maze of mandates, dictates, controls, tax hikes and subsidies – will drive costs up even faster.
In addition to Smith, a former Bush administration official, the budget committee will hear testimony from Richard Foster, chief actuary with the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, and James Capretta, a fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center.