Gov. Walker announces proposal for health care in Wisconsin

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Governor Scott Walker is taking a new stance on health care, announcing a proposal that would strengthen the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin.

Amid an election year, some democrats say Walker's shift on the issue is not enough to undo damage from "years of sabotage."

In recent weeks, Governor Walker has announced series of big plans for the state of Wisconsin, from changes to the state's youth prison system to putting more money into schools.
The latest announcement is a proposal that could strengthen the Obama-era Affordable Care Act in the state.

Walker wants to lower rising insurance premiums in the health care market. In a statement, the Governor said, "we need to do what we can at the state level to stabilize our own health care market and make health care more attainable for people across our state."

Walker has announced what he's calling a health care stability plan. The proposal includes passing a state law to guarantee people with pre-existing conditions don't lose health insurance, joining other states like Minnesota in obtaining a federal waiver to offer re-insurance, which would lower premiums for people in the private insurance marketplace. Walker also announced he will ask the federal government for a permanent waiver to continue the state's discount drug program for seniors.

The governor's proposal represents a shift in his political view on health care and some democrats are criticizing the move.

“From a political stand point it’s not surprising that after a surprising victory from the democrats last week in a district they thought they had wrapped up, you’re going to see this sort of reaction,” said Jeff Smith of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin says there are better methods for improving the state of health care in Wisconsin. “If you open up Badgercare for everybody, the opportunity for people to buy their healthcare through that program would lower their rates by 24 percent and it doesn’t cost the state anything,” said Smith.

Smith says this is a political move in an attempt to win re-election. “Much like cutting funding to schools for six years then suddenly adding money to schools then saying he’s doing more for schools than anyone has ever done before. This is that same tactic,” said Smith.

Governor Walker plans to ask lawmakers to support the health care proposals in Wednesday’s State of the State speech.

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