Monday, November 12, 2012

Walker's Handling Of Healthcare Reform Is Just Sickening

As the gentle reader already knows, Scott Walker is a bit of a schmuck.

Action photo of
Walker crafting his version
of health care exchanges
So it should come as no surprise at the irresponsible and ignorant way he has approached health care reform and Obamacare.

Instead of embracing the Affordable Health Care act as a sane person would, Walker decides to use the health and lives of the poor and working classes as political pawns.

First he refuses to start making the necessary preparations. Instead, he authorized Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to join in a multi-state fiasco of challenging the law all the way to the Supreme Court.

But the law is upheld.

Walker again refuses to do the right thing, saying he is going to hold off until Mitt Romney is elected and can kill Obamacare.

We all know how well that worked out for them. (By the way, you'd best take care when near any Republicans. Judging from the foam and spittle around their mouths, they are still having lots of problems coping with reality.)

And during Walker's showboating of his obstinance, he throws away $38 million meant to help the state create its health care exchanges.

In other words, he's gambled twice with our money and our health and has thrown away $38 million in his bad bets. I bet you can guess who's going to end up paying for his political myopia.

But it doesn't end there!

Walker is now again showboating, saying there's no big rush, even though a plan is due to the federal government by this coming Wednesday:
Walker told reporters Wednesday in Milwaukee that he will be meeting with state officials this week to discuss the next steps. He downplayed the urgency of the situation, saying no matter what the state does, the federal government won't review it for months. Walker has said he doesn't think it would be a problem for the state to get an extension.

"Even after notifying them, we have until next fall to make modifications as we see fit," Walker said. "We haven't made a decision yet."

Walker said the choice for his administration was whether to accept an exchange run by the federal government, set up its own or pursue a combination.

"The question, from our standpoint, is what option is best for the taxpayers of Wisconsin," Walker said.
Ah, but guess what! As is always the case with all things Walker, there's more. There's always more.

The group Citizens Action of Wisconsin has been keeping their eye on the ball and has some distressing news. It appears that Walker has been working behind closed doors to come up with a secret plan for implementing the new health care exchanges, without any input from anyone. Well, anyone but ALEC, I suppose.

Here is what Citizens Action found and their accurate summary of what it means:
However, records obtained by Citizen Action of Wisconsin under the state’s open records law shed light on the direction Walker will take. In June of 2011 Walker’s Office of Free Market Health Care produced a PowerPoint for a briefing of legislators entitled: “Preliminary Plan for Building the Wisconsin Health Insurance Portal and Interchange.” This document is the closest thing we have to a blueprint for the Walker’s Administration’s position on exchanges. From it two key conclusions can be drawn.

(1) Governor Walker is unlikely to opt for a federal exchange in Wisconsin or to develop a partnership exchange with the federal government. The Walker Administration is hostile to the creation of a federal health insurance exchange. Citing the original executive order creating the Office of Free Market Health Care, the document refers to “protecting Wisconsin from the establishment of a federal health benefit exchange” and makes it an explicit goal “to minimize federal interference.”

(2) The Walker Administration opposes the minimum consumer standards mandated in the Affordable Care Act for insurance sold on health insurance exchanges. It complains in its preliminary plan of a “one size fits all approach,” that minimum coverage standards “will force” consumers and employers “to purchase richer benefits” or to “buy up,” and proposes to “allow all current plans to be marketed” on the exchange, and to “open [the exchange] to the development of new products.” This would mean allowing plans which do not meet minimum federal standards for coverage, or cost sharing, on to the exchange. The document also makes a selective use of MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber’s actuarial analysis of the impact of the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin to argue that some individuals and small groups will pay more, strongly suggesting that they will seek to design an exchange that permits the sale of lower quality insurance that does would not meet minimum standards. Citizen Action of Wisconsin has previously critiqued the Walker Administration's use of Dr. Gruber’s analysis.

“The Walker Administration is clearly in a bind because it does not want a federal exchange nor does it want a state exchange which meets minimum consumer protection standards,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Based on the record, our concern is that the Walker Administration will try to square the circle by submitting a plan for a substandard exchange which allows health insurers to sell inferior insurance. This could set up a showdown between Walker and federal authorities that could further delay planning for the implementation of health care reform in Wisconsin.”
Isn't that enough to just make you sick?

Heh. Guess what! Yup, that's right, there's still more.

Here's a little something that the gentle reader might not have known or had forgotten: Walker actually successfully ran a government-run health care system for years and knows that it saved taxpayers money.

As Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker was responsible for administrating a system called GAMP, which is short for General Assistance Medical Program. As I pointed out over three years ago, GAMP was a big success:
Wisconsin's General Assistance Medical Program (GAMP) provides health care coverage to indigent Milwaukee County residents who are not eligible for other forms of public coverage (such as Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program) and are not enrolled in private coverage. The county redesigned the GAMP program into a community-based primary care model in the late 1990s to achieve two interrelated goals: to provide increased primary care services, and to do so via community-based clinics. The new design was intended to improve effectiveness and efficiency of care. Prior to this, indigent patients relied on the emergency room of the county hospital, which created access barriers for enrollees and cost inefficiencies for the county. Under the redesigned model, GAMP enrollees select a participating clinic as their primary care provider, which is then responsible for providing and coordinating services. The clinic coordinates specialty care for the enrollee by working with specialists and hospitals that participate in the GAMP network. The program covered a total of 24,000 individuals in calendar year 2003, with some 10,000 to 12,000 individuals enrolled at any given time. All in all, GAMP estimated that it saved $4.2 million in 2000 (in comparison to the projected costs had the previous system remained in place). Administrators believe that inpatient and outpatient costs have been controlled largely through a Utilization Management program that ensures delivery of care in the appropriate settings and using appropriate resources.

In other words, the County designed and ran a health care system that limited people's choices by having to go through a community clinic first, and only if it was covered in the network. Yet, instead of leaving people without insurance and forcing them to go to hospital ERs, it saved $4.2 million. That's a big chunk of change for a relatively small amount of people.
The program was nationally recognized and was only discontinued when Governor Jim Doyle expanded BadgerCare, which provided the same basic service.

And let us not forget SeniorCare, another successful and widely popular program.

To recap, over the past decade, Walker has successfully operated a government-ran health care program and knows full well that they not only provided medical coverage for our most vulnerable citizens, but saved lots of money as well. Yet when it comes to Obamacare, he panders to the red-meat teahadists by grandstanding his opposition to it. But behind closed doors, he's been secretly plotting his own stratagem on how to implement the health care exchanges, but in some demented way, which will only end up harming those most in need and sticking it to the taxpayers.

It's pretty obvious whose side Walker is on, and it's not the people of Wisconsin's side.

And that's just sick.


  1. Living in Tennessee, I'm well aware of the pain you feel knowing that your community is full of people who would vote for someone like Walker. Our state government has done a lot of the same things (hell we're teaching creationism and a Tennessee teacher can be fired for acknowledging the existence of homosexuality, and the teacher's union is under attack.... We have a full blown war on education down here). Unfortunately for me, there are so many rednecks down here that all of this is happening under the radar. I'm thankful to the people of Wisconsin for at least standing up and making some noise.

    1. Dane, I'm from Oak Ridge, and I'm always grateful to live in a State where we stand up for ourselves. I pray that things improve in my beloved home State, as I miss the mountains and streams and had wanted to retire there - but with MS and the 'State' of things... now I cannot do that.

      I'll give a shout out on your behalf the next time I'm down at the Capital.

  2. The extremes the Walker administration goes to just to avoid working for the citizens!

  3. Apparently he's not alone:
    I'm assuming this is the reason Obama extended the deadline. I have heard there is language added to the bill stating states are allowed to opt out. Thanks to bluedog dems. It will interesting to see how this unfolds.
    Actually I am proud of Walker, at least he hasn't fled to Illinois in the name of democracy.

    1. So you're against saving money and expanding health coverage for everyone. Nothing new there.

      But I can't wait for you to explain how Walker squandering tax dollars is the left's fault.

    2. so instead they signed secrecy agreements to purely partisanly redistrict the state in the name of democracy!

    3. Saving money for who? Have you not seen the layoff notices being sent out because of increasing costs to business?
      Tax dollars he refused for trains and an exchange is squandered? I would say they are tax dollars saved.
      Law says if the state does not set up an exchange the feds will.

    4. show me one case where layoff notices are being sent out "because of increasing costs to business"

    5. All the times I was told to "do my own research here"! lol.

    6. "Affordable Care Act" will cost ME a lot more money. Our workplace high deductible health care option costs me less than $100 a month. It is not an acceptable plan under the Affordable Care Act. In addition HSA contributions will be curtailed. President Obama promised repeatedly that I could keep my current plan. Apparently, he didn't read the bill either. We don't need exchanges that force me to pay more for health care that I can't possibly use.

    7. lol. Newsmax. Why not cite James O'Keefe's 'research'?

    8. Bombadil This statement "We don't need exchanges that force me to pay more for health care that I can't possibly use."

      could be THE single biggest massive fail statement written on our site since I have been involved here. Either you need to rethink your position and come back with better work, OR you have a psychic gift that is unparallelled in this country and should be working on making a fortune off telling people who will and will not get sick!

    9. Businesses have been eliminating healthcare benefits or shifting from F/T to P/T workers for YEARS in order to not pay healthcare benefits. Don't kid youself. Look no further than Robin Vos's own popcorn company. He even makes Wisconsin taxpayers pay his soon-to-be-ex-wife's healthcare (in Idaho, where she will be able to get Affordable Care Act coverage in 2014). And, finally, look to Vos's "JMR" arrangement with Bill McReynolds. How much money from Premier Solutions is being funneled to Vos from a company that helps Wis Counties rip healthcare benefits from public workers.

    10. You know, IMBR talks layoffs like it is epidemic.

      Over here, not far away from you, I see businesses that are growing, several very big building projects well underway in the name of expansion.

      There are several places hiring I've been tempted to switch over to just to do something different, a higher pay rate possible.

      IMBR talks doom and gloom because his sector is sucking, and he wants to take everybody else who is working together and independently to task for wanting to strengthen their communities?

      The Federal government only steps in when States fail to act, willingly or unable as far as I can tell.

      Of course, Republican Governors still outspend their Democratic counter parts, most of that money sucked out of the Federal government like miserly millionaires who steal golf balls on the golf course.

      Not because they can't afford the golf balls, but because they can steal them and get away with it.

    11. Really? Here in WI? Businesses growing? Don't say that here, you'll be vilified, just as I am.
      You leave me curious as to what industry your working in.
      You are still harboring a lot of hate toward millionaires though. I would think you would be in a better mood since your president won. I'm not a golfer, but how exactly do they steal golf balls? then maybe I will understand how they "suck" money from the fed.

    12. JS7
      I am flattered yet undeserving. "WE" is me of course and I don't want to pay more for things that I can't use. The universal requirement for insurance should be limited to catastrophic coverage and general maintenance- most high deductible plans cover physicals, colonoscopys and mammograms, etc. I am happy to save money in my HSA to cover the expenses within my $2000 deductible. If I break a leg the insurance kicks in. At $82 per month I would like to keep the insurance I have. I remind you that President Obama promised me that I could. I don't see that as selfish, just frugal. Again, I would be happy if the Affordable Care Act wouldn't call my plan "substandard", it is all I need.

    13. Or you could develop cancer anddie a horrible death because you cant afford care, those making you suffer and making the taxpayers pay tremendously more for your care than we would have in the first place.

      O wait that could never happen -

    14. I would support Obamacare IF it would allow high-deductible plans like mine (20 percent of workers choose high-deductible plans). Yes, it covers (at 80%) cancer- up to the horrible death stage-, pregnancy, diabetes, heart attacks...everything. NO taxpayer money required. Again, President Obama promised me I could keep my insurance plan. I just want him to keep his promise. It is OK for us to disagree on details because I support your position on Walker's buffoonery, but not on the elimination of HDH plans and HSA's from my/our health care options.

    15. 20% of workers choose high deductible plans because its all they can afford and/or its all that they think they will need!

      It covers things at 80%....what about my friends whose 6 year old daughter needed a new heart and they spent 3 months with her in the Hospital? The bill was well over a million dollars, do you have an extra 200,000 + in pocket change laying around? Or are you sure that it will never happen to you? or do you think that people who it does happen to, just draw the bad straw and need to be discarded from society?

    16. I sympathize and am saddened. Just want it as an option for us because it is all we can/want to afford and because Obama promised that we could keep our plan; apparently he was not being truthful? If we could have children we would choose the other plan. And I do understand the choices when they are personal; I lost an older brother and a younger sister.
      BTW, we save 20% of our extra money into an HSA to cover those deductibles. Don't know why our plan is deemed substandard. It's ok for us. But now we'll have to pay more and not be able to build our HSA (there is an HSA limitation that disallows anyone over age 30 to contribute?).

    17. @bombadil3765

      Did Obama take away your insurance or did your employer?

      @IMBAR You mean like the guy from Papa John's who owns a real castle and can give away two million pizzas but can't afford health insurance?

      Also, for anyone, how is this any worse than paying for the Badgercare insurance for thousands of Walmart employees, Aurora Healthcare employees and all the other companies that won't provide insurance and won't pay their employees enough that they can afford it on their own?

    18. Bomba, for the last time because now i am thinking your just a paid troll since you havent strayed from your original talking point. Notice you never answer any questions, nor stray an inch from your original goal.

      1. You could not possibly save enough in an HSA to possibly account for something terrible happening to you whatsoever. HSA's are simply a way for the 1% to get even another tax break!

    19. JS
      We have $4300 in our HSA and ~$10,000 in a dedicated savings account; home equity coverage if it is higher. If it is terrible? We pray. Luckily we are Nazi-like about our health. Food, workouts, etc.
      My employer has a high-deductible plan that WILL BE deemed substandard because ACA has minimum requirements. In june of 2009 President Obama promised us all that we could keep our current insurance. I hope he keeps his promise.
      I do support your position, but why can't you let me choose a HDP? The 1%? We pay $82 a month and put another $80 a month into the HSA. Tax break? We have never spent any HSA money in case we need it in the future- not sure how that is even taxed?
      Didn't see what questions I didn't answer. I apologize. Am not adversarial. Just want my current plan to stay the same.
      'Paid troll'? A low blow. I apologize if that is what you think. Thank you for your forum. I enjoy the perspective. Good night sir.

    20. @bombadil

      I am still stunned by the rates you say you pay and the deductibles. I pay nearly three times the premium and my deductible is higher.

      And here I thought us public employees were supposed to have the caddilac insurance.

    21. OK, correct me if im wrong. If you or a family member gets seriously ill, you have $4300 in your HSA and another $10,000 in your savings account and your insurance pays 80%.

      As a cancer survivor myself, let's say I was in your exact situation, I can tell you my bills are approximately about $400,000 or so. 80% covers $320,000 so where is the other $80,000 coming from? Which of course would put you $66,000 in the hole and counting.

      I am a Christian but I dont see praying away your debt as an option. i also ate well and exercised, but no one told the cancer that I guess.

      SO where does the $66,000 come from and my cancer (in the realm of cancer) was a fairly tame one in terms of no chemo or radiation. Add that onto your payments, etc...

      Do you have a plan B or is praying away your debt it??

    22. You know should start your own pizza company, with your intimate knowledge of employee relations, your eagerness to pay more taxes, and the disdain you have for the competition, makes you a perfect fit.
      Then we could answer the question: whether all company owners are just greedy or if you are indeed living in some liberal bubble, surrounded by like minded liberals.

    23. You know, I doubt that I would have had such a holy hissy fit over 14 cents a pizza where I'm still making at least $2 profit.

    24. Good employers work at enabling their employees to raise their standards on a progressive basis, just like those employers work to improve their bottom line and relationships with customers.

      Bad employers see workers as nothing more than autonomous creatures that turn on the machines and press the buttons, keeping the machines pumping out their low cost products which are continually cheapened through lesser quality materials and low worker wages. These employers could care less about the people on their team, and are more than willing to pocket all the profit; it is all theirs, afterall.

      Papa Johns is a bad pizza, the commercials need to state "better ingredients" but what are these "better" things?

      Cheap ingredients, lower cost, flashier packaging with a football player spokesman.

      Cheap rich guy still keeps flapping like he's something, too.

    25. That's the point I am trying to make Capper, you really do feel he makes $2 per pizza right?
      And thanks for your analysis of good and bad owners/pizza anom.
      My perception is that the frozen pizza business is a pretty low profit (percentage) industry and selling volume is the only way to make profit, thus the gimmicks and advertising. Thus the negative feedback when uncle Sam wants a bigger cut. But apparently I have it all wrong, so tell me who makes that union made/made in the USA pizza so I can vote with my purchase?

    26. And your perception is always spot on, right? Just like when you said the construction/building industry was taking off - a day before the actual numbers showed that WI was second to last.

      I don't believe that the profit margin is that low or that a few pennies is going to make that much of a difference. Unless the person is that damn greedy.

      Why not just buy a good fresh pizza, where the owner takes care of his employees and supports the local kids' baseball team?

    27. If your only way to make money is to sell volume, why piss off such a huge percentage of potential customers???

      Is he an idiot or just a really really bad businessman?

    28. He made it to third largest in the country. So calling him a bad business man seems silly to me.
      And Capper, I have met, one of the Palermo sons. Been in his house, believe me, he is not rich.

    29. And I've seen the conditions that Palermo wants his workers to work in. Let me know when you're ready to work with electrical equipment while standing in water.

      BTW, just because he didn't invest as much into his house as you think he should have, doesn't mean he's not rich.

    30. Maybe true, isn't that what OSHA, or WI DWD is there for? To regulate safety in the workplace?
      Your right, it is possible to hide wealth. But I have found that due to a tax code written by wealthy people, your residence can be the biggest tax break you can get. Whether its from income or capital gains, most wealthy people use it as a shelter. It explains why someone would spend 54 million on an apartment in new york city.

  4. Walker has fled to other states repeatedly to parade his rock star status, so you're wrong on that too, Imustberacist.
    What's this "we" Walker always uses? Him and the turd in his pocket?

  5. Silly Bea!

    It is the royal "we", he is practicing for when he runs for President in 2016

  6. Such a tragic "State" of things for people like myself who are being placed in mortal jeopardy by evil men like the one in the picture here. To allow people to suffer and die for simple greed and power-hungry interests still blows my mind.
    That we actually have been forced to allow it to continue... how can I explain what it is to live in the daily fear of ruination - hunger, illness, poverty, homelessness despite whatever education, career, and other social contributions I may have made in my life before. It fills my heart daily with the fear of what is to come for us. How can anyone understand the stress this man has placed on us when we live under such a cloud on a daily basis?

  7. From the very first moment that Walker arrived in the governors seat I have felt that "in time" he will tip the scales against himself.

    To me he will eventually succeed in goring enough ox in the state that each group will turn against him.

    Taking away or denying Wisconsinites health care will move thousands of supporters away from Walker and his cronies.

    You know those supporter who already have health care. Many including Walker with government provided health care.

    I'm waiting to see the Sportsmen Against Walker bumper sticker. It will come.

    Are we really going to get a 5% tax (fee LOL) on gas in Wisconsin?

    That will put some thumbs on the scale moving closer and closer to the tipping point. The list is growing everyday.

    1. Hmmmm... A "Sportsmen Against Walker" bumpersticker. That would be awesome.