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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Will Van Hollen personally pick seniors' pockets for the money, or does he have people for that?

by folkbum

JB Van Hollen, Wisconsin's Attorney General, declared today that following the logic-bending ruling in yesterday's health-care ruling (one of two against the law, not one of the dozen-plus in favor of the law), health-care reform in Wisconsin is "dead."

Here's some of what the now-"dead" law has done for people in Wisconsin:
• 35,998 Medicare Part D “Donut Hole” Rebate Checks: In Wisconsin, 35,998 Medicare beneficiaries have received a one-time, tax free $250 rebate to help pay for prescriptions in the “donut hole” coverage gap.
• Nearly $1 million to Plan for a Health Insurance Exchange: These grants will give States the resources they need to conduct the research and planning needed to build a better health insurance marketplace and determine how their Exchanges will be operated and governed.
• $7.3 million for demonstration projects to address health professions workforce needs
• $200,000 for State Health Care Workforce Development Grants
• $3.8 million for the Primary Care Residency Expansion Program
Plus, you know, sticking it to businesses:
167 Employers Enrolled in Early Retiree Reinsurance Program: The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) provides much-needed financial relief to businesses, schools and other educational institutions, unions, State and local governments, and non-profits, in order to help retirees and their families continue to have quality, affordable health coverage.
This includes Wisconsin institutions like Briggs & Stratton, Kimberly-Clark, Northwestern Mutual, Wausau Paper, and West Bend Mutual Insurance; not to mention government institutions like Scott Walker's Milwaukee County!

One of the most exciting things about the Affordable Care Act is its funding for innovative, potentially game-changing experiments in better health-care delivery. Wisconsin's health care institutions have received, so far, more than $7 million to run demonstration projects to find the best ways to deliver more care to more people more cheaply. (Everyone seems to be linking to this story of in The New Yorker about such projects, so I may as well, too.) Those could be "dead" in Wisconsin, too.

Look, I don't really know what Van Hollen intends to do now--it kind of sounds like he doesn't, either--and he probably won't actually demand the money back from grandma and grandpa. Not in this snow, anyway.

But clearly he is not interested in protecting Wisconsin's seniors, businesses, and innovators. There was no need for him to say a thing about it today, much less try to set anything in motion that will hurt the state. Yet he did! Thanks again, GOP.

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