In a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, factory Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker unveiled a health care reform proposal aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act, a move he hopes will make good on his promises to dismantle President Obama's signature piece of legislation. The proposal, "Day One Patient Freedom Plan," includes everything from repealing Obamacare to giving states total control of Medicaid. But Walker's health care plan makes no sense, especially since he's outlined little when it comes to how to fund it.
Under Walker's plan, his first day in office would include sending legislature to Congress to fully repeal Obamacare, which would require at least 60 Senate votes to come to fruition. That measure would include eliminating all $1 trillion of the ACA's taxes. Without additional taxes, it's unclear how Walker expects to fund the Day One plan. This is all Walker had to say about funding his ambitious plan:
We pay for the credits and other components by reforming the process by which the tax code treats some of the gold-plated health care plans out there. And by reforming and fixing Medicaid, by sending it back to the states where it's more effective and more efficient and more accountable to the American people and to the people who are served by these programs at the state and local level.
Walker's plan includes allowing people to buy insurance across state lines while also providing tax credits tied to age rather than income. The age-based system would function like this: anyone between ages 0-17 who doesn't have insurance from their employer will receive a $900 credit, those 18-34 will receive $1,200, 35-49 will receive $2,100, and 50-64 will receive $3,000 in tax credits. Obamacare already has tax credits in place to allow for more affordable insurance, and Obamacare also has additional taxes in place for the country to fund such credits.
Another ploy at affordability in Walker's plan is the ability for consumer groups to gain discounts when purchasing insurance together, but it provides little information about which groups would benefit or what the discounts would entail.
Perhaps the most drastic change in the Day One plan is its call to segment Medicaid and allow for the states, rather than the federal government, to run the program. Yet again, Walker offers little information as to how states managing Medicaid would either make it more affordable or accessible. He also mentions protecting those with pre-existing conditions exactly the same way that Obamacare does: by not penalizing individuals if they consistently have insurance.
Even if Walker gets elected, he may hit his first road block in simply trying to repeal Obamacare. Drumming up the support of 60 senators is a difficult task. There are currently only 59 Republican senators and that could very easily change by the time the next president is sworn in. Walker has proven his anti-Obamacare rhetoric time and again in his home state of Wisconsin. He was part of a Florida lawsuit against the ACA and has refused to take federal aid or set up a state exchange, despite the fact that accepting aid could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars. His latest healthcare reform plan is just as senseless as his refusal to help Wisconsin citizens while also costing the state substantially.