Legislation introduced July 5 would create a “public option” for all Wisconsinites to purchase BadgerCare health coverage.
The legislation was offered by state Rep. Eric Genrich and state Sen. LaTonya Johnson, with support from Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an organization at the forefront of the campaign for health care reform in the state.
“Under our plan, BadgerCare would be treated like any other health insurance plan available on the federal marketplace for individuals and small businesses.” said Genrich, a Democrat from Green Bay. “It would be more affordable and more comprehensive than most other plans and it would be able to hold down the cost of prescription drugs that continue to skyrocket.”
If the measure became law, Wisconsinites and also small businesses could enroll in BadgerCare at full price. A public option offering would save consumers on average more than 15 percent compared with existing health insurance options in Dane County and more than 30 percent when compared with the lowest silver plan on average statewide.
Health leaders have called for a government run public option to compete with insurance companies and negotiate with pharmaceutical corporations.
BadgerCare currently enrolls more than 700,000 children and moderate income residents.
Citizen Action said cited a Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimate that a BadgerCare “buy-in” would cost adults $7,224 per year, while the lowest cost Silver plan in Dane County on healthcare.gov would cost a 40 year old applicant $8,350 per year in premiums and deductibles.
Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, said, “With just one word change in state law, BadgerCare could become a public option that could compete with insurers and negotiate with pharmaceutical corporations.”