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One week after the Congressional shutdown ended and the GOP was unable to defund or delay the start of the Affordable Care Act, their efforts have now turned to trying to make sure Obamacare fails. And in states where the GOP is control, it's certainly working worse than in states when Democrats are in control, and that's not by coincidence. Several stories this week illustrate how Republicans continue to try to sabotage the implementation of this program, and injure their constituents in the process.

For example, Bill Lueders and Alison Dirr had an article showing that many Wisconsin agencies that were supposed to have "navigators" in place to help citizens sign up for the federal insurance exchanges were not licensed by the state until after open enrollment in the exchanges began on October 1, and a couple of agencies still haven't been licensed. The navigators were delayed in starting because Gov Scott Walker refused $37 million dollars from the federal government to start work on a state-based exchangethat would have connected to the national mainframe, and instead chose to dump Wisconsinites onto the federal exchange with little time for the feds to prepare. In addition, the state then put in an extra step that required navigators to be licensed by the state of Wisconsin, which caused further delays in getting the state up to speed.  

"There's a fair amount of blame to go around," said Bobby Peterson, executive director of ABC for Health, a Madison public interest law firm. He cited federal delays in getting the program started, followed by additional "hoops and hurdles" for would-be navigators imposed by the state.

The Wisconsin insurance office requires all navigators to go through 16 hours of training, pass a written test and background check, submit to fingerprinting and pay fees. And the groups they work for must register with the state and secure liability coverage for navigator misconduct.

[State Insurance Commissioner Spokesman J.P.] Wieske said the state needs to protect vulnerable consumers from people who might take advantage of them. But Peterson said the federal government already established strict standards for the agencies receiving navigator funding.

And across the water in Minnesota, there are fewer of these stories about problems in signing up Obamacare exchanges. Over 3,700 Minnesotans reportedly signed up for coverage through Obamacare in the first 2 1/2 weeks of enrollment, 1,800 more are finalizing their choice of plan, and nearly 12,000 total people were covered by mid-October.

Minnesotans are also paying much less than for their Obamacare insurance Wisconsinites are, as Citizen Action of Wisconsin said Cheeseheads are paying between 79% and 99% than 'Sotans are for similar health care plans (before tax credits). And Citizen Action directly faults Walker Administration officials for refusing to take the expanded Medicaid funds, and using cost-containment measures that are part of the ACA

Wisconsin has the opportunity to bring down rates by accepting enhanced federal Medicaid funds and using state powers such as reviewing and rejecting excessive rates to make health insurance more affordable.

Wisconsin’s rejection of a state-based exchange strip policymakers of additional tools for moderating health insurance rates.

And oh yeah, refusing the federally-funded Medicaid costs Wisconsin taxpayers an extra $119 million over the next 2 years, and possibly another $52 million a year on top of thatdue to lower-than-expected reimbursements from the feds for the Medicaid we do have left.

It isn't just Minnesota that Wisconsin is falling behind. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has been all over the national media telling people how Obamacare is working in his state. Not coincidentally, Dem Gov. Beshear worked with the Kentucky Legislature to set uip the Kentucky-based KY-nect for their insurance exchange, with over 26,000 Kentuckians signing up for coverage as of Thursday,and he says Obamacare opponents "Just aren't paying attention to the facts."

Now that's a politician who's telling it like it is. Wish we had a lot more Dems like him in DC and Madison telling the truth and standing up for Obamacare, instead of timidly making excuses or worrying about the sky falling 2 months before anyone has to be signed up.

This classic video from nearly 20 years ago illustrates what WisGOP and other Republicans are trying to do with Obamacare, now that they can't defund it. It's also a fitting video because it's WJJO's "All '90s Weekend" here in Madison, and it's timeless inspiration for Halloween.

Originally posted to Jake formerly of the LP on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 07:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Embed information? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tortmaster

      PS- Having a devil of a time getting the embed on the videos to work (seems like Kos changed their rules on it), so I'll gladly take any tips.

  •  yes, Exchange premiums are HIGHER in GOP states (8+ / 0-)

    that refused to expand Medicaid.
    The working poor will still access ERs for healthcare and hospitals will continue passing on the costs to the insured.

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 07:58:18 AM PDT

    •  The premiums would naturally be higher (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MartyM, GeoffT

      because there will be more cost shifting as people don't have coverage.

      Not only did Walker refuse to expand Medicaid, he tightened the restrictions even further in Wisconsin throwing 92,000 off on January 1 of next year which will further impact premiums.

      Also, the Walker administration approved each and every federal plan that would be offered regardless of cost.  Ky and Minnesota, among others, refused plans that were excessively costly.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 12:28:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In South Dakota, the same thing (5+ / 0-)

    as our ALEC minded governor and legislature don't want to expand Medicaid on top of not having a state run exchange, make things difficult here.   Many problems with access and therefore, low numbers signing up.  Most of our "highly compensated workers" would be on the Medicaid, so on we go.  Refreshing to hear that Minnesota's roll out has been successful and affordable.  Great post, thanks

  •  Can states? (4+ / 0-)

    Choose to opt in after they change governors in 2014?

    You're either for spying on American citizens or you are not.

    by CVDem on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 08:19:04 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary and I wish that every WI (4+ / 0-)

    resident eligible for the exchanges knew what Walker's actions (and in some cases, inactions) have cost this state as well as the people who will be able to get into one of the exchanges. The contrast in costs between WI and MN was really disappointing to see---but not surprising, I guess, given that we now know pretty well what to expect from the Walker administration.

    I tweeted your diary and I would like to see the DPW get out some ads on this. WI residents deserve to know the facts about what Walker is costing all of us by his ideology and stupidity.

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 10:53:37 AM PDT

    •  PS Jake I also just sent an e-mail to the DPW (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Kahlow, Puddytat

      with a link to your diary and suggested that they inform the residents of this state what Walker and  his administration are doing to deny access to healthcare to people who desperately need it, to force them to pay more than MN residents do, and to cost this state millions because of Walker's refusal to accept the money the Feds would have provided to set up our own state exchanges.  I suspect my e-mail will be ignored----but I really feel that Mike Tate and the DPW should be filling the airwaves with information making it clear what is happening in this state and how wrong it truly is. Waiting for elections to happen is not good enough IMO when it comes to spreading the word on something this important.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 11:05:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the relay, 3g (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, Mike Kahlow, Puddytat

          It's beyond me why the DPW isn't taking a page out of Beshear's book and showing that Obamacare works for people and that the WisGOPs don't give a damn about their fellow Wisconsinites. An absolute winner for the next 12+ months is saying over and over "The GOP doesn't care about you, and doesn't care what happens to you." And it has the added benefit of being true.

        •  Better yet (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens

          add in that Walker doesn't care about us in Wisconsin.  He cares about running for President and the only way he can win the GOP primaries is crowing about how he's personally sabotaged the ACA.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 12:30:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have to admit... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Kahlow

    ...I've never actually heard anyone say " 'Sotans "  before.

  •  really? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, 3goldens, GeoffT

    like all the jobs they've created...

    The Wisconsin insurance office requires all navigators to go through 16 hours of training, pass a written test and background check, submit to fingerprinting and pay fees. And the groups they work for must register with the state and secure liability coverage for navigator misconduct.
    i cannot even begin... exception for legislator misconduct..
  •  I don't trust Minnesota's numbers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    I put in a help ticket on 10/4 and on 10/26 they closed it without ever contacting me claiming the problem was fixed.  It is of course not fixed.  

    Meanwhile, I've talked to the Help Desk like 10 times and they can't see my data because they aren't allowed to really help and the people who could help will not.

    I totally cannot tell if I am enrolled or not enrolled.  I can't complete the premium payment step and the enrollment only shows up in some places and not others.  

    So I can't tell my status.  I can't tell where I am.  I don't know if I am enrolled or not.  In any case, I can't pay the premium or get any written confirmation that I am truly enrolled.  

    I have been stuck in the same place since 10/4 and no matter what I do or how many times I call or write I cannot get any person to answer my question about it.

    I do not expect to them to fix all problems but there is no excuse for them DUMPING help tickets without helping.  I mean if it is going as well as they keep saying it is in Minnesota --- why can't you talk to any person on the phone or in writing who can tell you if you are enrolled or not????

    So maybe I am one of those 3700 they claim are enrolled, or maybe not.

  •  Guest Starring Sir Stewart Wallace As Himself (0+ / 0-)

    That's gonna be my next screen name

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 06:48:04 PM PDT

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