Scott Walker Health Care Rate Information Questioned By Industry Advocates

09/03/2013 02:58 pm ET
AP

With one month to go before the federal government launches its health insurance marketplace, questions have emerged in one state over accuracy surrounding information on new rate prices.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is being pressed by advocates over numbers showing significant rate increases under Obamacare. The Wisconsin Office of Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) released an analysis Tuesday detailing initial comparisons to what types of changes residents should expect to see in their insurance come 2014.

"The truth is that comparisons are difficult because rates are going to vary based on age and where you live," Commissioner Ted Nickel said in a statement.

According to the AP, the OCI report failed to include federal subsidies, estimated to reduce costs by up to 77 percent. That sparked uproar from health care advocacy groups, with charges ranging from "cooked" figures to "sketchy" information.

"I think they've done nothing but confuse and mislead the public rather than give them serious information," Robert Kraig, director of the health care advocacy group Citizen Action Wisconsin, told the AP. "These look cooked and they're even hard to analyze because of the way they were released."

"Given how sketchy this information is, I can't help but wonder if they were even striving to make even-handed comparisons," added Joe Peacock, Research Director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. "I'm not going to accuse them of stacking the deck because I don't know enough."

Walker has been openly against Obamacare, telling CNBC in mid-August that employers cannot afford the uncertainty associated with the law.

"They say 'We're not going to take that risk, even though we've got the potential to grow our economy and we've got a customer base that wants us to produce more, we're reluctant to go over the 50 mark, to go over the full-time rate,'" he told CNBC.

But Walker is also among governors who have cautioned against a government shutdown to thwart Obamacare's implementation. He stressed last week that other options are "wide open," headed by the eventual chance to elect a new president who can remove the law, according to the Washington Examiner.

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