WAUSAU - Gov. Scott Walker sees health insurance premiums going up and insurers leaving Wisconsin's Obamacare marketplaces.
He has a plan he says will help fix both problems.
After touring the new cardiac intensive care unit at Aspirus Wausau Hospital on Tuesday, Walker promoted his plan.
"In my mind, Washington has failed [on health care]. Wisconsin is going to lead," he said.
Part of Walker's plan calls for using $50 million in state money and $150 million in federal money to make Obamacare plans more affordable through a concept called reinsurance.
Reinsurance money would help protect insurance companies from huge costs in certain expensive cases.
"That reinsurance aspect helps protect us from extreme variances in the care that we have to cover," said Aspirus President and CEO Matt Heywood. "That helps us be able to lower our rates."
Aspirus is a part-owner of insurance carrier Aspirus Arise. Aspirus anticipates being able to lower its premiums if Walker's plan becomes law. Walker believes that will be true in the in the individual marketplaces across the state.
"Premiums will go down dramatically for people on the individual market," he said.
Walker also hopes the change would attract more insurance companies to Wisconsin.
"I know that right now, we don't have enough choices, particularly in rural parts of the state," he said.
In 2017, most northcentral Wisconsin counties had three or four insurance carrier options on the individual marketplace. In 2018, most counties only had two options, as insurers pulled out.
"This would, one, help drive down premiums," Walker said "It wouldn't just go to insurers, it would help drive those premiums down, and two, that it would help encourage more of those plans."
Heywood said Aspirus doesn't take political stances, but he's a supporter of the plan.
"We take a stance on something we think that's good for our patients and it's good for health care," Heywood said. "Regardless of a Republican or Democrat proposing this, we would think this is the right thing to do for our patients and our communities."
Minnesota, Alaska, and Oregon all have similar plans to Walker's reinsurance proposal. The plan is up for votes this week in both the Assembly and Senate.
RIB MOUNTAIN - A Wisconsin State Patrol Captain wants to know, who's ready to report for duty? The department is looking for new cadets. But recruitment and training is no easy task. "[It's] very hard to find qualified candidates. It's a struggle," said Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Adrian Logan. Captain Logan wants five people to answer the call.
The department's looking for new cadets who'll train to become state troopers. However, the process of finding the right candidate is no easy task and takes dedication from both sides. "It's a very extensive process," said Logan. After passing a background check and interview, candidates will go through 12 weeks of field training, 26 weeks of training with an officer, then a yearlong probation period. "You've got to be committed to it," said Logan. The dedication for the role doesn't stop there.
TOMAHAWK - If you feel stir-crazy this time of year, taking a quick drive Tuesday afternoon might help.
Hometown Chiropractic in Rhinelander and Tomahawk hopes to spread smiles during, "Sunshine on the Streets."
The doctors will wave signs with their favorite positive quotes starting at 12:30 in the afternoon.
Chiropractors normally work to get your physical health in check, but they want to help your mental health, too.
"I want to say we are one of the smaller countries in the world, but we take almost 80 percent of the world's anti-depressants. So we want to make sure we have positivity energy and positive thoughts because it will help us heal better and feel better," says Dr. Grace Zuiker Nash.
"Sunshine on the Streets" also marks the First Official Day of Spring.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.