Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 770 into law during a visit to Tomah Health Feb. 27. The bill starts the process of utilizing a State Innovation Waiver (1332 Waiver) to stabilize rising health care premium costs on the individual market. The reinsurance program is estimated to lower health care premiums for those in the individual market by 13 percent in 2019 and by 12 percent in 2020.
“Our Health Care Stability Plan is our solution to Washington’s failure; we want to provide health care stability and lower premiums for Wisconsin,” said Gov. Walker. “Today’s bill starts the process of stabilizing premiums for Wisconsin families on the individual market. But, we aren’t stopping there. Our plan will also bring peace of mind and stability to our Seniors and those living with preexisting conditions. We look forward to pushing each aspect of our plan forward in order to help our state—these are Wisconsin issues and they are being addressed with bipartisan, Wisconsin-based solutions.”
Tomah Health CEO Phil Stuart said the hospital appreciates the legislation which “makes it easier to care for patients struggling with health insurance products offered through the federal marketplace.”
The measure would affect the premiums of about 200,000 of the state’s 5.8 million residents — mostly middle income people, including many farmers and small-business owners, who buy health insurance through the individual marketplace and don’t receive subsidies, Walker said. That group saw premiums rise by an average of 36 percent this year before federal subsidies, he said, calling that unacceptable.
During his visit, Gov. Walker also took a tour of the Tomah Health Rehabilitative Services Dept., where hospital physical therapy director Tim Kortbein provided Walker a firsthand test of the hospital’s high-tech Biodex Balance System, which is used to help to reduce a patient’s risk of falling. “I just want to go on the record, I passed, I’m balanced,” Walker said of the rehab visit.