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Opinion: Record-breaking open enrollment is a health care win for Wisconsinites

Opinion: Record-breaking open enrollment is a health care win for Wisconsinites

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By Sara Rodriguez

February 29, 2024

Lt. Gov. Sara Rodriguez says the Affordable Care Act is doing what it promised and to be wary of politicians who promise to get rid of it.

Numbers do not lie. Numbers do not have a point of view or a partisan lean. It’s why, as a nurse and as lieutenant governor, I know firsthand how data plays a vital role in what happens in clinics and hospitals, just like in public policy and identifying the impacts policy choices have on people across our state.

Here’s what the numbers say about healthcare coverage in Wisconsin.

During the most recent open enrollment period for health insurance plans in the Obamacare marketplace, more than 266,000 Wisconsinites enrolled in a healthcare plan for themselves and their families—a 20% increase in sign-ups over the same period last year. That means about 45,000 more of our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family found quality, affordable coverage that made sense for them and their families. And that’s great news for our state.

That trend line in Wisconsin matches a national surge in sign-ups. Over 21 million Americans signed up for plans through HealthCare.gov during the open enrollment period. Nine  million more signed up before 2021. 

About four of every five sign-ups were for $10 or less a month. These are the facts. These are the numbers.

And here’s what we know from the data. When healthcare is affordable and accessible, people want to be covered. They want that peace of mind that if an accident happens or a diagnosis comes out of the blue, it won’t mean bankruptcy for their family, giving up their dreams, or draining their retirement and savings accounts.

Today, our work to keep costs down for consumers is due in large part thanks to President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which advanced premium tax credits for healthcare plans purchased through the marketplace. Initially put in place through the American Rescue Plan during some of the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic, those credits cap monthly premiums at a percentage of your income on a sliding scale.

More people with access to health care at more affordable rates is great news for our state. After almost 14 years, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay and doing exactly what it was intended to do—with a boost from the Inflation Reduction Act.  

That is the impact that public policy can have. It is also why protecting the Affordable Care Act—and continuing to build upon it—is so important. When you hear Republicans like former President Donald Trump talk about repeal, take those threats seriously. And understand what that would mean for you, your family and neighbors, and our communities: less access to health care and higher costs for you and your family.

Author

  • Sara Rodriguez

    Sara Rodriguez is Wisconsin’s 46th Lieutenant Governor. She previously served in the Wisconsin State Assembly and is a nurse with a background in public health.

CATEGORIES: HEALTHCARE | OPINION
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