JFC approves $72.7 million GPR for reinsurance program, but rejects more positions

The Joint Finance Committee approved putting $72.3 million in general purpose revenue into a plan former Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans devised to help lower the costs for those who purchase their health care on the Obamacare exchanges.

But the committee rejected Gov. Tony Evers’ request for an additional position to help administer the program.

The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance estimates that 2019 premiums are 10 percent lower than they would’ve been without the reinsurance program.

Still, it is costing the state more than backers originally expected. Initially, Walker had planned $50 million in GPR for the program with the feds picking up the other $150 million. That was later revised down to $34 million in GPR.

But in November, the feds noticed OCI they would only pick up $127.7 million, necessitating the bigger infusion of state tax dollars.

The committee also rejected Evers’ call for five new positions to help people enroll in the health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

As part of that request, Evers had sought $541,300 in program revenue to cover education and outreach costs. The JFC modified his request to put that money in the committee’s supplemental appropriation, allowing OCI to come back with a plan to spend the money before it’s release.

Both motions passed the committee 12-4 along party lines.