Walker administration officials have released a report on federal health care reform impacts in Wisconsin. Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith said Tuesday that the study shows some 100,000 employees will be involuntarily dropped from employer sponsored health insurance due to implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). “The more employers drop, the greater the costs of this entire package will be,” said Smith. “Because you’re now substituting public dollars for private dollars.” Smith said that’s at odds with promises made by President Obama that people would be able to keep their insurance if they’re happy with it. “That promise was made here in Green Bay, of what the promise of what health care reform would be. And I think we’re now finding that the situation is going to look significantly different.”
“It’s quite possible that at the end of the day these folks (employers) are going to look toward making the bets deal they can make,” said state Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel. “That may include dropping their employees, and the employees might ultimately get a better deal.” The report was prepared by an actuarial firm and an MIT economist hired by the Department of Health Services under the Doyle administration. Smith, Nickel and members of their staffs held a media briefing Wednesday on the key findings of the report, released by Office of Free Market Health Care which Governor Scott Walker created by Executive Order shortly after taking office.
The OFMHC said key findings of the analysis include:
Approximately 40% of consumers in the non-group market will be forced to purchase richer health insurance benefit packages than they need due to new requirements placed on health plans including rating and product limitations.
The PPACA calls for a “hidden tax” on Wisconsin families. Beginning in 2014, working class families will subsidize the purchase of health insurance for families making as much as 400% of the federal poverty level or $89,400 per year for a family of four.
Wisconsin’s traditional non-group health insurance market outside of the exchange is expected to shrink from 180,000 individuals to 30,000 individuals because federal and state dollars will be used to cover individuals who are already covered by private health insurance today.
Individuals will be dropped from their employer’s health plans. It is estimated that 100,000 individuals will be involuntarily dropped from employer sponsored health insurance.
The majority of individuals in the non-group (individual) and small group (employers up to 50 employees) markets will pay more in premiums for health insurance by 2016 than they pay today.