There are historic rates of inflation for health care insurance according to an annual report by Citizen Action of Wisconsin. The group and lawmakers unveiled the findings on a conference call Tuesday. The report finds that Wisconsin health insurance premiums have increased 182 percent over the last decade compared to 164 percent nationally.
Executive Director Robert Kraig said Madison ranked best in terms of cost and quality. The report says Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin, with a large number of for-profit insurance companies, had high costs with low quality. Areas with non-profit providers had higher quality but in the case of La Crosse coverage was very pricy. Kraig cited a lack of competition for the high costs in that city.
Democratic Congressman Ron Kind said health care exchanges – part of the Affordable Care Act – will bring more competition into his district and smaller markets, thus driving down costs.
Federal health reform requires Wisconsin to begin setting up these health insurance networks in 2012. But State Senate Democrat Jon Erpenbach said “it’s troubling,” the Walker administration is “not working” with the federal government dealing with this issue.
Governor Walker has said he wants a “free market” approach to care and earlier this year accepted a federal grant to begin implementing health exchanges.
Meanwhile Wisconsin is participating in a multi-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act due to its provision which mandates people to buy insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to take up that action this spring.