Thursday Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic introduced a resolution calling on the board to use just over $1 million of the surplus revenue at their disposal to help consumers access the new marketplace from the Affordable Care Act. Citizen Action stands with this effort.
The Chairwoman's resolution, debated today at the Finance Committee with Citizen Action members in the audience and speaking in favor, would help consumers access the federal Marketplace through county enrollers, assisting nonprofits who already plan on enrolling to help them reach everyone, and improving the 211 phone system to ensure people can find assistance. This is a great step in the effort to ensure that everyone has the freedom and opportunity to get affordable care.
The Associated Press reports that Wisconsin is dead last of all 50 states in spending on enrollment and health education at just 46 cents per person, contrasted with West Virginia who is spending $9.23 per person. Chairwoman Dimitrijevic's proposal would put an extra $1 per person to that effort for those in Milwaukee county.
And this really matters. It wasn't more than a few hours before opponents jumped on this, so furious at that idea of health reform helping people that they attack anything related within reach. But contrary to their blithering, the Chairwoman's proposal has some serious positive impact. Here's why
- Milwaukee already pays for the cost of people without insurance: the uninsured use the county mental health and substance abuse programs (WIser choice), and they visit emergency rooms of hospitals who in turn charge everyone else more to make up the difference. Counties pay for this. More uninsured hurt Milwaukee county
- Some people are arguing that Wisconsin has it covered, that we'll cover everyone. But they're wrong: In July the State listed their goals of enrollment for the first year at 250,000 by the end of open enrollment (March 31st). But there are roughly 500,000 individuals who will enroll in healthcare: either thru the new marketplace or BadgerCare. So there is plenty of need, we should be thanking Chairwoman Dimitrijevic for her foresight.
Walker is leaving Wisconsin without the help our citizens need to get affordable coverage. Chairwoman Dimitrijevic's proposal is not only the morally right thing to do, it is the fiscal and prudent thing to do.