Now that the dust has settled and we’ve all caught up a bit on sleep after watching election results roll in, it’s time to get to the policy work. The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH) issued a call to our state leaders today to focus on ensuring meaningful implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
By refusing to move forward with implementation of the law until after the elections, Wisconsin officials have placed our state far behind in development of health insurance Exchanges. Health insurance Exchanges, or online marketplaces, are similar to Travelocity or Expedia, where people can purchase high quality, affordable health insurance. By pooling people together, reducing transaction costs, and increasing transparency, Exchanges will create more efficient and competitive marketplaces to purchase health care coverage. This online marketplace will also screen applicants and their families for tax credit and premium subsidy eligibility.
By November 16th, state must provide plans to the federal government, certifying whether they will be moving forward with a state, federal, or partnership Exchange. This deadline is in place, because by statute, by January 1, 2013, the federal government must determine whether or not states will be ready to operate their own Exchange for 2014.
Though open records requests have been filed to determine if state officials have been moving forward on Exchange development behind closed doors pre-election, we have not gained conclusive information. Yesterday, the Governor stated that he will be meeting with his administration to decide how to proceed. All to say, by November 16th, we will not have the opportunity to participate in an accountable planning process for a state-based Exchange in Wisconsin.
WAWH has been supportive of the idea of a Wisconsin-based Exchange – we know that our state has great experience and expertise to draw upon to make these marketplaces work best for Wisconsinistes. However, we are extremely disappointed that in-state expertise has not been tapped to participate in a bi-partisan, transparent, and accountable process to develop Exchanges. Our ultimate goal is to have a marketplace that serves the needs of women in our state. See our principles here. As more information becomes available, we will work with the state and federal government to layout a quality process for consumer and stakeholder input towards the development of a state or federal exchange that is in the best interest of Wisconsin women.
Continue to follow the Raising Wisconsin Women’s Voices blog for updates as more information becomes available about the path forward.