I want to talk to you about the challenges people face due to the failed rollout of Obamacare, and what we are doing to protect them here in Wisconsin.
As you know, we decided not to expand Medicaid, for several reasons. Mainly, because our goal is to help more people move from government dependence to true independence, not the other way around.
Our plan covers everyone living in poverty through Medicaid and transitions everyone above that level into health insurance plans through the exchanges in the private market. The problem is – the transition was supposed to happen January 1st, and as we all know, signing up for the exchanges has been, at best, a huge challenge.
While I am fundamentally opposed to Obamacare, this is no time to celebrate. This affects the lives – and potentially, the health – of thousands of people. We simply will not let them fall through the cracks.
A couple weeks ago, I called a special session of the Legislature to delay the deadline for those transferring to the federal exchanges by three months to allow people in our state time to make a logical transition. In addition, we put forward legislation to continue coverage for an additional three months for those in our state's high-risk insurance plan to keep in place this safety net for some of our most vulnerable during the transition. This week, the Assembly voted in favor of the delay and the Senate will take up the legislation in the coming weeks.
At the same time, I am calling on the president to allow Wisconsinites, who qualify for subsidies, to use their subsidies to buy any qualified health plan. Opening this up to the private market is important, because in many counties, people will actually have more options outside of the exchange than they do in it. I also believe people should have the freedom to make their own choices.
At the state level, we will continue to do everything we can to ease the transition, and protect our most vulnerable citizens.
The state partnered with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association to produce and distribute a brief radio address once a week. Audio files and a written transcript of this radio address can be accessed on http://www.wi-broadcasters.org and http://walker.wi.gov/media/weekly-radio-addresses.