Reinsurance explained: Walker's plan to lower health care costs in WisconsinSubmitted: 02/20/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Reinsurance explained: Walker's plan to lower health care costs in Wisconsin
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.

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ARBOR VITAE - You won't want to wear your best clothes to one race in May.

Minocqua's Color Run Fundraiser is a 3K and 5K race for Arbor Vitae-Woodruff and MJ1 schools.

The race is one of the schools' biggest fundraisers for field trips, additional school supplies and equipment.

The Color Run raised almost $20,000 last year.

"It comes from all of the kids and their fundraising in the community, with the help of grandparents and parents and friends," says AVW Principal Rich Fortier.

The race will be at the Minocqua Park Complex on May 5.

To find out how to register, click below.

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MINOCQUA - You can travel all of Latin America and Spain and never leave the dinner table in Minocqua.

Minocqua Brewing Company is hosting a " Tango, Tapas, and Tempranillo" wine dinner Tuesday night.

Getting culturally creative with food can be tough during a slow tourism season.

That's why learning about new cuisine and sharing it with the locals is the chef's favorite part.

"I have used Chimichurri for fifteen years, but to actually research and find out where it came from and the story behind it is kind of cool," says Chef Scott Conley.

Minocqua Brewing hosts a wine dinner and cooking class each month.

For more info, click the link below.

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In his 20 years with the Vilas County Jail, administrator Bill Weiss can count on two hands how many times an inmate got out earlier than they should.

"It's pretty rare," Weiss said.

Weiss needed to add to that tally last week.  The jail let Edward Chosa Junior go as a "free" man on March 13, however that wasn't his correct release date.

"It was a clerical mistake," Weiss said.

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ANTIGO - A crowd gathered in Antigo to talk about drug abuse Monday night, about how it affects all aspects of the community and ways it could possibly be fixed.

One thing that everyone could agree on, is that it's an issue that needs to be resolved.

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CRANDON - A Crandon man pleaded guilty to four charges of sexual and physical abuse of children in Forest County Court Monday.

Matthew Christenson pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child and one count of child abuse recklessly causing harm. All charges are felonies. 

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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. 

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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.

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