Wisconsin: Gov. Evers announces state ACA enrollment education/awareness partnership

I was surprised to realize that I haven't written a word about Wisconsin since before the midterm election last fall, when Democrat Tony Evers defeated Republican incumbent Scott Walker. Since then, the state has actually gone through a lot of turmoil regarding healthcare policy (and every other policy as well, of course). The GOP still controls both the state House and Senate, so during the lame duck session they tried to pull a whole mess of crap legislation to strip Evers of his authority before he even took office...as well as that of incoming Democratic state Attorney General, Josh Kaul, to prevent him from withdrawing from the plaintiff's side in the #TexasFoldEm lawsuit, among other things.

Lawsuits were filed, and a judicial tug of war has since ensued, and the last I heard, the state Supreme Court (which leans conservative by one vote) held a hearing over the mess. I'm not sure if they've issued their final ruling yet. 

In the meantime, Gov. Evers has, to no one's surprise, had no luck getting the GOP legislature to agree to expanding Medicaid either, so he's decided to do what he can to improve healthcare coverage via the other means he has at his disposal.

via the Connecticut Post:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers is announcing a new partnership between state agencies to enroll more people in health insurance plans.

Evers announced the partnership during a state Capitol news conference Monday.

The plan calls for the state Department of Health Services and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to work together to educate consumers by informing them about the availability of insurance agents and promoting the use of HealthCare.gov, a federal website with information on the Affordable Care Act.

The agencies will engage with community organizations, health insurance providers and health care systems to strengthen markets and help state residents transition from Medicaid to private coverage. The agencies also will continue to try and convince Republicans who control the Legislature to expand Medicaid, a move they have flatly rejected so far.

This is similar to the early measures newly-elected New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy took immediately after taking office. In his case, of course, he was also able to go on to push through a ton of other more substantive ACA improvement policies, including reinsurance, reinstatement of the individual mandate, cracking down on non-compliant policies and even splitting off from HealthCare.Gov altogether to create their own full state-based ACA exchange.

Unfortunately, Evers won't have any ability to do the rest of that stuff before 2021 at the earliest, so this will likely be the best he can do in the meantime. Good for him.