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Out of the Reform Gates First….Wisconsin?!

I’ve been quite impressed with the developments coming out of the Badger State lately, and the ambitious turn-around since the law’s passage is a testament to their sincerity for effective reform implementation. For example, last week the Governor signed Executive Order #312 creating the Office of Health Reform to oversee implementation of national health care reform in Wisconsin. The office will be co-chaired by Wisconsin Secretary of Health Services Karen Timberlake and Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg.

The state high-risk pool, the well-funded Wisconsin Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan (HIRSP), has publicly stated that it is poised and ready to expand the program through the $5 billion in new federal funding for state pools. It is worth noting the state covers nearly 17,000 people (our dear MRMIP high-risk program barely clears 7,100), and includes a sliding scale premium subsidy for low-income individuals (something we recently suggested for California).

Finally, the state is about to take advantage of more reform funding by expanding a program for medically indigent adults.

Hopefully our state leadership is inspired to make similar strides, as health reform is something that the Governor has made his own priority in the past. With only a few months left in office, the possibilities are ample for the health-champion’s legacy…

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