Assembly passes guv’s reinsurance program


Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to create a reinsurance program in the federal marketplace under the Affordable Care Act gained bipartisan approval today as the Assembly signed off on the bill 79-16.

The Senate version of the bill, which the Assembly took up in their vote, passed 23-9 earlier on Tuesday, meaning the bill now goes to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk.

No Republicans voted against the bill, however, several Dems, including Reps. Gordon Hintz, Peter Barca, Daniel Riemer, Dave Considine and Evan Goyke voted for it.

The bill would direct the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to file a waiver request with the federal government to create the reinsurance program beginning Jan. 1. The program would then cover 50 percent to 80 percent of claims between $50,000 and $250,000 for those on the individual market. The Walker administration says by covering those claims, it would provide stability in the market and drive down costs for the more than 200,000 Wisconsinites who are covered through the market.

The bill that cleared the Assembly today contained changes the Joint Finance Committee made last week, including provisions to cap the program costs at $200 million a year unless JFC approves increasing the limit; and requiring OCI to recommend to the guv future waiver requests that look at creating a high-risk pool, funding health of health consumer savings accounts and more.

Walker’s original plan called for the Department of Health Services to find the state share of the plan through savings of at least $50 million from the Medicaid program. But that lapse could be as high as $80 million depending on how much of the program the federal government covered.

The bill was amended to strip out the state funding portion of the plan in 2018-19. That’s because the payment would not be required until 2019-20, which is in the next budget.