Bills could make insurance affordable

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If you're a sole proprietor, small business owner, or a senior younger than 65, your health care costs are about to go up — way up. As a result of the recent executive order, the Affordable Care Act exchanges will become more unstable in the very near future. The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has reported that in the Eau Claire area, insurance premiums alone are projected to go up by 33 percent for 2017-2018. Deductibles would add to this expense, making coverage unaffordable. Beyond the Eau Claire area, Wisconsin premiums are slated to go up between 29 and 105 percent.

There is an alternative though. There is an established health care option that could be available for this group of hardworking folks that would reduce premiums and deductibles by 32 percent or more, next year. All it takes is a one-word tweak to a current Wisconsin law without any additional costs to the Wisconsin taxpayers. A public option for health care coverage has an income limit, protected by the word "all." If this word were changed to "any," an income-tiered health care plan would be available to Wisconsinites who don't otherwise have affordable solutions. If you make more, you pay more, but it's still a lot better than soaring costs or junk plans without coverage.

Here's how it could work. A BadgerCare for All option, currently in the legislature, in both the Assembly (AB449) and the Senate (SB363), would allow individuals of any income level to purchase health care coverage on the ACA exchanges through Wisconsin's BadgerCare program. Individuals would pay the premiums the same as they would for other insurances through the exchanges, however the cost would be a fraction of the inflated fees through conventional insurance plans, and it would be better coverage. Many of your Wisconsin Assembly and Senate representatives have endorsed this as the right time, and the right plan for affordable health care in Wisconsin. That's good for the Wisconsin economy, Wisconsin taxpayers and small businesses. Wisconsin is a leader in health care quality. Now it's time to make it affordable.

If you'd like to find out more, see

www.citizenactionwi.org/wisconsin_2018_health_rate_spike_can_be_avoided_... and sign the petition at www.citizenactionwi.org/make_badgercare_a_public_option to make this a priority.

Individual signups on the ACA marketplace run Nov. 1 to Dec 15. It's time to take action now.

Call your representatives today, and let them know that you support affordable health care for all.

If you aren't sure who your WI representatives are, find them at www.lwm-info.org/153/Contact-Wisconsin-State-Legislators.

Act Now for great health care in Wisconsin that people can actually afford, saving lives & money.

Editor's note: This letter was submitted by Jeff Smith and signed him and 51 other individuals, many medical professionals, living in western and central Wisconsin.