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View Diary: Wisconsin farmer on fire! Awesome video. UPDATEx2 (180 comments)

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  •  Re health insurance and rw talking points... (18+ / 0-)

    Can anyone supply some clarity here?

    One of the TPs of Walker and Co is that the teachers were obstinate greedy budget busters re health benefits because they insisted on a way higher priced benefit rather than taking a far lower cost one that offered EXACTLY the same coverage. (If I'm not mistaken, he claims a huge difference, by thousands per person)

    This is what he says on the TV.

    What is the deconstruction of this TP besides our automatic assumption - based on experience - that his pants are on fire again? Anyone?

    PS - That farmer absolutely rocks!

    Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

    by NYCee on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 10:50:28 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Problem#1: blaming the Non-Profit WEA Trust (4+ / 0-)

      insurance as too pricey is insane, fact-free, and bizarre--and Walker, et al, despising WEA Trust reflects an inbred, reflexive disregard and even a hatred of all things non-profit, public interest, and progressively designed, and a lack of fundamental understanding of health plan economics.  

      WEA Trust just isn't going to end up being some politician's pork barrel or campaign chest filler.  They don't have to waste money paying dividends to shareholders, inadequately paying claims to squeeze big bonuses out for managers, or deal unfairly with medical providers to squeeze out more profits. Many private insurers have not increased benefit payments to 'in-network' doctors for years, yet they'll moan and claim costs are rising so fast that they have to have 20%, 30%, 40% or more rate increases just to cover the horrendous spiraling costs of health care.  

      In fact, school districts can set up their WEA Trust plan contracts to cap annual increases at a top fixed rate, and if their claims stay below a certain percentage of premiums, they can even get back an annual cash dividend for the district.  Private insurers route that kind of money to shareholder dividends and as big bonus bucks for the executive classes, instead of returning the excess premiums to the insured group.

      WEA Trust is a surprisingly effect model of how most of us we really would want our insurance to work--and non-profit is what makes it most efficient (versus our so-called 'free-market' for-profit options).  Our Wisconsin school districts typically issue RFPs (Request for Proposals) to a variety of insurance companies, trying to control rate increases, get good coverage, decent provider networks and wellness programs.  None of the for-profit insurers can compete with the non-profit WEA Trust on price, benefits, or network providers.  They have to pay 10% or more to shareholders on top of covering operations, so, surprise, their bids tend to be 15% higher than WEA Trust.  Often, many private for-profit insurers won't even bother submitting an RFP bid if they know WEA Trust is in the mix--they know they cannot compete.  People using WEA mostly get their choice of primary doctors and also access to top of the line facilities when they are needed for heart care, prenatal and birth care, transplants, cancer treatments, etc.  If the WI state health plans were run more like WEA Trust, no teacher would object, and WI state employees might be happier.  WEA Trust might make a great WI 'public option'.

      Walker is trying to oust 50,000 people from the state Badgercare health plan, claiming they'd all be able to find free market insurance plans.  Evicting the farmers from Badger care actually puts them in a horrendous spot.  There is NO private insurer willing to sell them coverage in Wisconsin, contrary to what Walker promised. Farming is deemed too dangerous & hazardous an occupation and so even the richest for-profit insurers refuse to take them on, and they won't. Nearly 15,000 farmers being sent on a wild goose chase for non-existent private health plans won't be taking this as a cute joke or 'honest oversight'.  It either reflects a terrible misunderstanding of the real private plan health insurance insurer eligibility rules, or a callous disregard, perhaps even wishful thinking, presuming some private insurer might step up and enter the market. The Walker plan didn't even consider that private insurers also tend to leave unstable markets, sort of like what we've headed toward now.

      I'm not an employee of WEA Trust nor am I a school district employee.  I have worked with health plan design and administration for more than a decade in my work history, and understand how these variables work.  There are a few plans out there comparable to WEA Trust.  Some offered by churches for church employees, others by similar teacher organizations in other states.  

      What I have to say is attacking WEA Trust for it's benefits and costs is among the most baseless things WI Republicans have done, and these attacks reflects major if not also willful ignorance.  Giving up WEA Trust for a lesser plan will actually end up hurting the private practice doctors in most of our local communities across the state, since other plans would lock the participants into a smaller set of doctors, and pay those even less.  If these good doctors happen to be Republicans, I'm sorry, but they actually now have a really good reason to call Scott Walker, et al, and complain royally at failing miserably to understand the impact on local economies.  It isn't unusual for a School District to be the single largest employer in a county, so if they're forced to change health benefits and network providers, the local medical community feels that impact deeply.

      Cutting the teacher's jobs, wages and benefits will impact local economies for the same reason as above.  Not just doctors, but lawyers, grocery stores, gas stations, car dealers, real estate, unemployment insurance costs, welfare, Medicaid, and local government will be hit with all sorts of negative impacts.  Many local Republican-leaning businesses have no clue how much having college educated teachers spending their fair wages locally positively affects the whole community.  They'll feel the financial draught after $900 Million is yanked from the state funding supporting education.  Their kids will end up in classrooms with 35-40 other kids, instead of 28-30 now.  The kids won't have art, music, theater, or advanced classes for honors credit or AP college credit classes.  Sports and after school will be cut. Pools will be drained and maintenance slowed on buildings and classrooms, if not closed as an unaffordable building.  Wisconsin will go from having 5th ranked public school systems nationally, down to Mississippi levels.

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 04:49:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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