By Kyle Olson
MADISON, Wis. – When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker passed his controversial collective bargaining reforms known as Act 10, little did he know he would be easing the pain of pending increases in health insurance premiums caused by Obamacare.
But that’s exactly what’s happening.
This week, EAGnews published an analysis of school district health insurance rates in Wisconsin now that Walker’s reforms are two years old.
Historically, health insurance was a part of the collective bargaining process in public schools. Given the fact that unions demand cushy benefits – in Wisconsin’s case, from the state’s largest teachers union’s affiliated company, WEA Trust – school districts were paying huge sums with limited choice or competition.
Now that competition has been introduced through Act 10, Wisconsin schools – and taxpayers – are enjoying the savings.
A fresh analysis from EAGnews, titled, “First Years of Freedom: Wisconsin Schools Saving Millions on Health Insurance in the Act 10 Era,” finds that an incredible 63 percent of surveyed districts saw a decrease in rates in 2011-12, the first full school year after the passage of Act 10.
Some districts, such as Germantown, saw an additional decrease in the 2012-13 school year.
The collective bargaining reform should help to blunt the sting that will be coming to school districts (and everyone else) in the form of insurance rate spikes due to Obamacare.
The Heritage Foundation estimates Wisconsin will experience 34 percent to 106 percent increases for individual market premiums soon.
It quotes Heritage expert Ed Haislmaier as saying, “The new law adds a number of health care services that insurers must cover and in some cases restricts the ability of insurers and employer self-insured health plans to impose limits on the amount of services patients can consume. This combination will drive up health plan costs and premiums for both individual insurance and employer-group coverage.”
Walker’s reforms, and the savings they produced, clearly helped to cushion the blow of the new federal regulations.