Statewide: In an end of the year interview with WisconsinEye Governor Scott Walker said he had no plans to safeguard access to health care in the event U.S. Supreme Court pulls subsidies from Wisconsin health consumers enrolled in the new insurance marketplace created by the health reform law.
This lack of preparation by the Governor puts at risk the current health coverage of over 150,000 Wisconsinites who do not have access to quality affordable health care through an employer. Many of these consumers have pre-existing conditions and faced shocking discrimination from insurance companies before the passage of health reform.
If Wisconsin sets up its own health insurance marketplace, as health advocates propose and as Walker himself planned to do during the first year of his administration, Wisconsin health consumers would not be at risk. When Wisconsin and many other states decided not to create their own health marketplaces, no one believed they were putting access to health coverage at risk for their own residents. That all changed with the Supreme Court’s surprising action late last year to take the case of King vs. Burwell.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule by July, and has scheduled a hearing for early March. In the interview Walker repeatedly passed the buck to the federal government, predicting that Congress would take action if the Supreme Court scraps the health insurance tax subsidies.
“It is political malpractice for Governor Walker not to prepare for a predictable disaster which could strip affordable health coverage from over 150,000 Wisconsinites,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “By failing to prepare a Wisconsin health insurance marketplace in the event the Supreme Court makes a damaging decision, Walker is putting at risk the lives and fundamental freedoms of people in every corner of Wisconsin.”