Follow-up To Ron Johnson Nov. 1 Interview

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Follow-up To Ron Johnson Nov. 1 Interview

Premiere Date: 
November 8, 2013

Frederica Freyberg updates on an interview last week with Sen. Ron Johnson.


Episode Transcript: 

Frederica Freyberg:

Keeping with the ACA, we follow up now on a statement from Senator Ron Johnson about why he has introduced legislation titled If You Like Your Health Care Plan, You Can Keep It Act. Here's what he said on our air a week ago.

Ron Johnson:

One of the reasons I really pushed this bill when I did is, we're certainly getting a number of Wisconsinites calling into our office, some of them in kind of a panic. In particular there was a couple. They both have cancer. The wife has stage 4 lung cancer. The husband is recovering from prostate cancer. They were in the high-risk pool, the state high-risk pool, which really works. That's basically going extinct. So they got their cancellation notice, tried to log on to close to 40 times. Here's the real sad fact. Under the state high-risk pool, their maximum annual exposure would be about $20,000. It’s looking like they’re-- now their maximum exposure will be about $40,000. So their cost of healthcare may have doubled.

Frederica Freyberg:

Senator Johnson also repeated this anecdote on Wisconsin Public Radio. Additionally, he spoke about the high risk couple's cost doubling from $20,000 to $40,000 in a national review article. After some viewer questions about that price hike, we spoke again with the senator, we did some calculations, as did officials with the state’s high risk insurance plan. What we found, the devil is in the details. That's because there is a maximum cap on out-of-pocket costs under the Affordable Care Act that's set at $12,700 for a family. Adding that out to the couple's premiums after subsidies in the marketplace, premiums and subsidies provided by Senator Johnson, the pair's exposure in the new marketplace plan would be between $18,500 and $20,700, just about equal to or less than their current $20,000 high-risk plan. Now, Senator Johnson says he's not at liberty to divulge the couple's identity. The CEO of the state’s high risk insurance plan, or HIRSP, tells us, “While there are some HIRSP members who will pay more for their health insurance in 2014, it is expected that the majority of our members will pay comparable or lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs due to the availability of the tax credits.” Based on the information available, the couple identified by Senator Johnson's office would fall into that category. Senator Johnson says as for the $10,000 in subsidies or tax credits the couple may receive, he opposes taxpayer dollars being used that way in the Affordable Care Act.

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