Members of the Wisconsin Senate have voted 18-15 to approve a $15 billion effort to create a subsidized, guaranteed-issue health plan that would be open to most state residents under age 65.
The “Healthy Wisconsin Plan” would offer participants the same benefits that members of the state legislature get through their plan, according to Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, Wis., who introduced the plan provision as an amendment to a major budget bill, S.B. 40.
Erpenbach estimates the plan would cost about $140 per month for employees and $370 per employee per month for employers.
Residents age 65 or older, participants in federal programs and participants in union plans would not be eligible for program coverage
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Program administrators would supply coverage by buying it from private health care networks that would have to promise to spend at least 92% of their program revenue on payments to providers.
The state would pay for the program by imposing a 9% to 10% assessment on self-employed residents, an assessment of 9% to 12% of employees’ wages on employers, and an assessment of 0% to 4% on individuals who earn more than 150% of the federal poverty level.
The proposed $15 billion increase in spending on the health care plan would increase state spending by 23%, according to the state Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Members of the Senate have been discussing similar proposals for months, but they voted on the version added to S.B. 40 less than 24 hours after it was released, opponents say.
Democrats control the Wisconsin Senate. Republicans, who have come out against the bill, control the state Assembly.