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A good Exchange workaround in Wisconsin

People can't log into the crappy Exchange and get insurance? Let them buy insurance off of the Exchange and still qualify for subsidies.

Caveat, a Republican -- one of our least favorite Republicans -- is suggesting this and the article is from Fawx News*. But why not? Why the restriction allowing subsidies only for plans inside of the Exchange**?


He is floating a proposal that would still channel federal subsidies to Wisconsin’s poor and uninsured, but his plan would allow them to purchase coverage directly from the insurer and sidestep the on-line “exchange” created by the Affordable Care Act.

His idea is getting support, even in the bitterly divided Wisconsin state house. Six Democrats crossed party lines and backed his proposal in the assembly, sending it over to the Senate with a healthy majority.

Still, before it goes into effect, Walker’s idea would need the blessing of the Obama administration.

“If they don't approve this, this is ultimately exposing that this isn't really about access and this isn't about affordability,” says Walker. “It's about government playing a heavier hand in these kinds of decisions.”

*During the Bush era, Stephen Colbert made the observation the facts tend to have a decidedly liberal bias. That was true then. Now that the Democrats are in power, the right wing rags don't have to spin Obamacare because the facts are ugly enough.

**My guess on why the administration wouldn't allow this: Because part of the whole grand bargain of Obamacare was to enable insurers to bring back narrow network HMO's and actually get subsidies for doing it! Win-win? I suspect that disallowing the off-Exchange insurance purchase isn't about "letting the government play a heavier hand" in anything. It's about not taking away the carrot that the Obama administration dangled to get "President InsuranceIndustry" to agree to Obamacare. The public, on the other hand, get the stick. People need to be forced to buy the narrow network plans inside of the Exchanges and the only way to force their hand is to restrict the subsidies. Otherwise it makes a whole lot more sense to buy the wider-network plans outside of the Exchanges -- and yes, if subsidies were available for off-Exchange policies in my state, I'd still be in the insurance market in 2014.