Rep. Jon Richards says Wisconsin consumers will lose $14M under Walker administration plan

October 26, 2011

Source: Office of Rep. Jon Richards

Governor Scott Walker’s top insurance regulator is seeking permission from the federal government to allow Wisconsin health insurance companies to escape a law requiring health insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar collected in their customer’s premiums on medical care.

In a letter sent Tuesday, Insurance Commissioner Theodore Nickel asked the federal government for a waiver from a rule in the federal health reform law that limits health insurer profits, salaries, marketing and other overhead costs to 20% of the amount spent by consumers in the individual market. Insurers who spend more than this amount on non-medical expenses must provide refunds to consumers under the law.

f the federal government approves Nickel’s waiver request, health insurers who spend more than 20% of their customer’s premiums on overhead will no longer have to provide refunds, costing Wisconsinites who buy their own insurance plans $14 million, according to estimates included in the request.

“Yet again the Walker administration is putting special interests before the needs of Wisconsin families,” said Rep. Richards. “Governor Walker’s top insurance regulator wants permission to ignore federal health reform rules so insurance companies can pocket even more profit at the expense of consumers who are already struggling to afford health insurance, housing, food and other essentials.”

  

 

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5 Comments on "Rep. Jon Richards says Wisconsin consumers will lose $14M under Walker administration plan"

  1. State wants to exempt health insurers from 80% rule – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Insurance by State on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 1:47 am 

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  2. State commissioner asks for federal exemption for some Wisconsin health … – WSAU | Insurance by State on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 9:42 am 

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  3. Eddie York on Thu, 27th Oct 2011 6:00 pm 

    In September 2011, as he prepared his budget proposal, Barrett was free to impose more health-care cost sharing because the GOP had removed it as a mandatory subject of bargaining by the budget-repair bill.

    He did so, at basically the same level as the bill required for state employees (12 percent). It was a big key to balancing his budget while avoiding major cuts.

    He also followed through on his promise to get the police and fire unions — with whom he still has to bargain — to agree or to consider paying more towards health insurance. He also offered them a wage increase for 2012. Police supervisors and firefighters ratified the deal; rank and file police rejected it.

    Barrett shied away from crediting Walker, citing the city’s past success getting employee unions to agree to pay more.

    This sequence of events rubbed the city’s biggest labor union the wrong way.

    Barrett gave “lip service” to opposing Walker’s bill but then exploited it,” says Rich Abelson, executive director of AFSCME District Council 48. And Marty Beil, head of the biggest state employee union, said labor would not back Barrett in a possible recall election because there’s no difference between Barrett and the governor.

    Said Abelson: “If you don’t want to screw your employees, don’t screw your employees.”

    Barrett told us he was just dealing with reality.

    He felt it was either eliminate 300-400 city jobs and trim key services due to the state budget’s cuts — or use the help Walker provided.

    “It’s a real world issue,” he said.

    So where does it land on the Flip-O-Meter?

    Abelson calls Barrett’s actions opportunistic. We see some irony here, and a heavy does of Realpolitik.

    But Barrett made very clear early on that he wanted the same concessions Walker was seeking — and applied to a broader group. So it’s not really a surprise that ultimately he grabbed the chance once he and other Dems lost the battle over the union-power items.

    And while his messages on the union power issues crossed wires at times, his statements from the start signalled he was willing to be seen as ready to impose benefits changes.

    The union’s disgust over Barrett’s position underscores that.

  4. Michigan seeks delay for new health insurance rules – Port Huron Times Herald |Health Insurance on Fri, 28th Oct 2011 1:00 am 

    […] ruleChicago TribuneWisconsin 17th state to request waiver from health reform lawThe Hill (blog)Bay View Compassall 26 news […]

  5. Chris (not Larson : - ) on Thu, 1st Dec 2011 9:28 am 

    So why doesn’t Mr Richards comment on the millions of dollars wasted by WEA “TRUST” in overcharging school districts (taxpayors) statewide for decades on health insurance?

    Talk about ‘putting special interests before the needs of Wisconsin families.’ Mr. Richards should be more concerned about this but… oh no, can’t do that because the unions used to funnel those monies to his party to continue the gravy train. SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

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