Health insurance premiums for a single, moderate-income, 64-year-old La Crosse resident could balloon nearly $13,000 under the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

The net premiums for such a person, making $26,500 and too young for Medicare, would leap from $1,519 now to $14,515 a year under the GOP’s American Health Care Act, according to the Milwaukee-based, left-leaning organization.

Today, the U.S. House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s bill, which President Donald Trump backs so forcefully that he has threatened the jobs of legislators who don’t vote for it.

Seven-year anniversary of Obamacare

The full House is set to vote on the measure Thursday, which is the seven-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s signing the Affordable Care Act.

Under Obamacare, the premium for that 64-year-old La Crosse resident is $12,343, although the actual consumer cost plunges to $1,519 with the ACA’s tax credit of $10,824, according to Citizen Action figures.

Under the AHCA, also known variously as TrumpCare, RyanCare and TrumpRyanCare, the premium for the same La Crosse resident would be $18,515, with the new legislation’s $4,000 credit putting the final consumer cost at $14,515 — an increase of 855 percent, Citizen Action representatives said during a statewide media call Tuesday.

Citizen Action unveiled figures for several metro areas across the Badger State under the Ryan/Trump plan, which would provide a flat tax credit of $4,000 instead of one that also factors in the premium cost. For example, the out-of-pocket expense for a 64-year-old under similar conditions in Madison would be $7,764 — a 313 percent increase — under the repeal/replace plan.

Citizen Action Executive Director Robert Kraig decried the AHCA, saying, “It is clear from the shocking numbers in this report that this is a bait-and-switch and that the authors of the House Republican replacement plan have no intention of offering affordable health coverage to older adults who need it most.”

Trump trashed Obamacare during the presidential campaign and guaranteed that he would devise a plan that would provide better, cheaper health care for everyone. The Congressional Budget Office issued a report last week disputing those assertions, including a projection that 24 million people nationwide would lose insurance coverage by 2025.

Dueling figures abound over the numbers who will lose coverage under Ryancare, with the head of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services saying Tuesday that an actual headcount is elusive.

“I don’t think anybody knows at this point how many would gain or lose coverage” in Wisconsin, Linda Seemeyer said in response to a question Tuesday during a forum that Wisconsin Health News sponsored in Madison.

Coincidentally, while vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin infamously coined the erroneous “death panels” phrase in the 2009 presidential campaign, the liberal side of the aisle has resurrected it to insist that the GOP plan will result in death panels by default among people who cannot afford insurance.

People will suffer, die, UW Health official says

The Republican plan would “result in people suffering and dying prematurely,” said Dr. Cynthia Haq, a family medicine and population health sciences professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“People will have to forgo health insurance coverage,” Haq said during the Citizen Action teleconference. “They will not seek care. They will not get preventive services.”

Kraig underscored that assessment, saying, “Asking low income older adults to pay over $10,000 more each year for health coverage is a prescription for disaster which will leave people across Wisconsin with no choice but to go without insurance.”

As a result, such patients “will not be able to manage their chronic diseases (and) … they’ll show up in the emergency departments of hospitals in extreme crisis,” Haq said.

The Citizen Action figures, which echoed stats from the Center for American Progress last week, were completed before Ryan announced several tweaks to his proposal late Monday night. Ryan had gone back to the actuarial tables and coverage considerations after withering criticism from conservatives and moderates in his own party imperiled passage.

The bill needs 216 votes for House passage. With Democrats expected to vote en masse against it, the plan would die with just 22 GOP no votes. If it advances, it is expected to encounter staunch opposition in the Senate, even among the chamber-controlling Republicans.

Tax credits under Obamacare are based on income and insurance costs, which vary across the nation. The credits provide the most benefits to older, low-income people who live in high-premiums areas.

The AHCA calls for tax credits to be based primarily on age, with a 64-year-old receiving twice as much assistance as a 21-year-old. However, the bill would let insurers charge older adults up to five times more than younger adults, compared with Obamacare’s tripled charge.

Amendments to the Republican plan, introduced late Monday, tweak financial assistance, among other elements. The adjustments are in accord with Ryan’s acknowledgement of colleagues’ complaints that it is as flawed, or more so, than the Obamacare he characterizes as being in a “death spiral.”

“We think that we should be offering even more assistance than what the bill currently does,” Ryan said.

Work requirement to get Medicaid

Under the adjustments, elderly people might receive more money to cope with inflation.

Other changes include allowing states to opt for Medicaid block grants instead of open-ended funding, as well as requirements that people work in return for receiving Medicaid.

They also would block any other states from opting into the Medicaid expansion, which is one of Obamacare’s cornerstones and one that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker rejected.

Wisconsin DHS head Seemeyer voiced opposition to block grants for Medicaid funding, insisting that that tack is vulnerable to economic changes.

Seemeyer also suggested that the state might push back over its treatment under the proposal, adding, “Wisconsin ought to be rewarded for some of the work we’ve done.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Mike Tighe is the Tribune newsroom's senior citizen. That said, he don't get no respect from the cub reporters as he goes about his duly-appointed rounds on the health, religion and whatever-else-lands-in-his-inbox beats. Call him at 608-791-8446.

(36) comments


Medicine for Profit is doing itself in. Insurance companies do nothing but ration our healthcare, they are obsolete and too expensive. Define what is essential, universally cover it and pay for the rest yourself. Bye bye insurance companies.

Old Bowhunter

“According to the Milwaukee-based, left-leaning organization”
Why even print this? How would they know? It’s just like everything else we get from the left, all lies!

Deadwood subscriber

Why print it? Because it is relevant information. How would they know what? That the organization is left-leaning? By examining their past statements. I'll agree that the left (and the right) tells plenty of lies, but "all lies"? Check this out: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-kept/


lights on , nobody is home. the RIP plan


Dumpster journalism. The modus oporandi seems to be to explode an issue in left leaning headlines and make it a shouting match, while failing to clarify anything about the issue itself, voila! the Fibune.


Aren't all you dumbazzzz Wisconsinites who helped vote these prricks into office happy now?


Ryan needs to call his plan, The Death Panel Plan.


I honestly would like someone to explain to me how the GOP plan will work. Ryan says the GOP plan will create high risk pools with subsidized premiums so that the premiums for others will go down. First....does anyone actually believe premiums will go down by enough so that young healthy people will actually buy it? Second...how can you call a "high risk pool" insurance? What insurance company will insure you against something that will almost certainly happen? So the subsidies will either pay directly for care or these people will simply go without insurance (sounds like bankruptcy followed by "Death Panels" to me). The GOP plan will also reinstate lifetime coverage caps...chemo to expensive? (more "Death Panel" solution). Of course at the end people will go back to emergency rooms that the rest of us have to pay for with higher premiums or higher healthcare costs or higher taxes. Face it folks...we all pay one way or another in high healthcare costs, higher insurance premiums, taxes or we simply let the sick and old people suffer and die. The rest of the 1st world has figured out that the free market simply does not work when it comes to healthcare.


I believe they can get premiums down by de-regulating insurance plans. By getting rid of mandates on what gets covered insurers will be able to offer crash 'n' burn plans at lower prices. As long as the media uses "coverage" as the favored metric the GOP plan will be able to "cover" as many people as it needs to. I have not heard if they will be able to let insurers put on lifetime caps through reconciliation. CXan they? If so, they can offer high deductible plans with caps for prices comparable to the tax credits being offered. So in a sense, insurance will be close to free and everyone will be covered. Of course, that coverage will be worth very little.


Thank you, Bliss, for a very clear, concise analysis. I have never heard such real-world, real-time Orwellian double-speak as we have been hearing in the GOP urgency to get this bill through, especially from Trump and Paul Ryan. I suppose also from Sean Spicer and Kellyanne, but I try to avoid watching them, as my bile rises so fast when I see them perform. Ditto on Trump's mechanical fascist (You MUST obey the president) mannequin, Steve Miller.

kyle patzner

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/informational_papers/january_2013/0053_health_insurance_risk_sharing_plan_informational_paper_53.pdf We had subsidized high risk pools before obamacare ended everyone! Look up HIRSP there was a wisconsin HIRSP and a federal HIRSP. The rates were way lower than rates are now! Literally every person on HIRSP's plan lost their coverage when the 2014 aca rules were passed! where was all the media attention then?

let it go

Fact 1. As you get older your insurance goes up. Fact 2. Without subsidies it is an increase of 1.5%. Fact 3. Those of us who have insurance through our employers and are not subsidized pay that already. Many employers offered insurance but employees turned it down because the Affordable Health Care is cheaper. Of course if is you get subsidized by taxpayers. Hey let
s do what Nancy said, In order to see what is in the bill we must pass it. Pass it.


Please site a source that tells you that employees have turned down coverage provided by employers in order to receive subsidies. Seems unlikely to me that, given the ACA income requirements, that would be a very unlikely scenario.


Calm down, let it go. First sort your thoughts out, then present them more carefully than you have done here. What you have said is gibberish, unintelligible and useless. You might actually have something to add to the conversation, but when it comes to your feelings, don't let it go until you know you are clearly saying what you want to say. I know. I bollix up my own posts more often than I should for the same reason.

That said, I certainly think Trump and Ryan have hung this Trumpcare albatross irrevocably around their necks and will be drowned politically by it, though Trump, the master back stabber, will make sure Ryan drowns first.


"In order to see what's in it we must pass it." That is the definition of buying-a-pig-in-a-poke. No thank you.


mocha, this turkey gets put on the table you are going to beg for Obamacare.


Many conservatives believe the great sky daddy created the universe 6,000 years ago. Numbers they believe in. These nutters are running the country.

Union Man

all those years if repeal attempts and obstruction..look at em now, brilliant


Having fond memories of these left leaning groups telling us of the coming healthcare utopia called Obamacare. Everyone would have insurance, our premiums would all be reduced by at least $2500. We'll as someone forced onto Obamacare none of their claims were true. Premiums skyrocketed and deductibles were so high the insurance was worthless. Now we are supposed to give credibility to these same groups when they tell us something about the repubs plan. I was born at night but it was not last night.


Why, after 8 years of complaints, have Comrade Trump & friends not come with something better? Release the tax files!


There has never been a bill passed by any legislative body that did not need to be worked on and improved, but in spite of the attacks and obstruction of the right, ACA managed to bring healthcare to 22 million ( yes 22 million instead of the 11 million Ryan claimed until he was reminded that the number included medicaid recipients) another 8 to 10 million would have had healthcare if the 24 republican states that rejected it would have taken the medicaid subsidies. Take 8 to 10 million out of the very expensive emergency room equation and what effect would that have had on healthcare costs? One way or another, we will pay or our sick and elderly family members will suffer and die(there is your "death panels". Medicaid with its 3% overhead (as opposed to 30 to 40% overhead by insurance companies before ACA) is one of the most cost effective healthcare insurance programs we could have.


Thank you, Bliss. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

kyle patzner

I think you should do some more research on the "medicaid subsidies"/"medicaid expansion" There was a lot of red tape attached to it. Just because the name sounds good doesn't mean it is...... We did expand to the federal rules instead. There are way more people on medicaid in wi now than there was before the above mentioned 2014 "medicaid subsidies". BTW medicaid only pays 33% of what ever bill is billed to them....... Its really easy to lower your overhead when you only have to pay 33% of what the actual cost is..... How much more does a hospital have to charge a person with insurance because they only get 33% from all their medicaid patients. Also medicare pays at most .38 cents on the dollar again I ask you the same question. How much more do you have to charge when a HUGE portion of your clients are only paying cents on the dollar... Also the ACA laws state that if an insurance company has anything above 20% they have to refund premiums. SO your comment of 30-40% just isn't true.... attached is a great article from a well respected source on insurance and healthcare. http://kff.org/health-reform/fact-sheet/the-wisconsin-health-care-landscape/


Kyle please notice that I said the 30-40% was BEFORE ACA.


Premiums went up but they did not skyrocket. Premiums were going up and the term skyrocketing was used for years before the ACA went into effect. Nothing new there. Most analysts concluded that premiums would have likely gone up even more had the ACA not become law. Can we do better, yes. ACA brought 28 million into the healthcare system. By and large the got cheaper healthcare because they got access to primary care instead of waiting until they were so sick they needed expensive Emergency Room treatment. We still have not negotiated with drug companies and healthcare providers to contain costs. Democrats should have done that once the ACA went into effect. Republicans are still not talking about that. Wonder why not ... maybe because they are both getting too many large campaign contributions? Put the breaks on greed like the Epi-Pen criminals and premiums can go down for everyone instead of the Ryan solution of throwing the elderly and working class families under the bus.

kyle patzner

Prices Definitely did skyrocket! I am an insurance broker. I work with all of the companies on the exchange and off. I help people enroll i medicaid, medicare, individual and group insurance. I started helping people find the right plans before 2014 when there was still underwriting. It was messy then too, but not as expensive. EXAMPLE A plan for a 18-29 (that is my age so I am going to use it) year old through WPS with a 5000 deductible and 6500 max out of pocket with prescription coverage was $78/month. If you were denied by two companies or given a 50% rate up. HIRSP had to accept you, regardless of health a plan for a 18-19 year old was 107/month for a 7500 max. The Least expensive plan now is through Health Tradition Health Plan and is 252.16. With WPS and HIRSP you could go to Mayo or Gundersen. Now you have to pick Health Tradition or Gundersen. Gundersen is 331.81 for their "catastrophic plan". I would say that is the definition of "skyrocketing" Before 2014. Last year alone plans went up a minimum of 17% again! Many people qualify for a subsidy, which means that our tax dollars cover a large portion of the cost, so that they can afford the new prices. However someone is still paying for that "tax credit". These are facts not my opinion. To get on HIRSP you had to be denied 2 times by any insurers. This meant that it wasn't hard at all to get! Now you know the facts. Another example 64 year old female- WPS 5000/6500- $295.22. HIRSP 7500-387. ACA-789- least expensive mayo, 969.88 for Gundersen. Every age bracket has seen a substantial increase. If you want to look it up just search HIRSP prices 2013. No body should have been paying more than the HIRSP rates unless they didn't want to shop around or had a bad agent who didn't tell them it was an option. BTW every single person on HIRSP lost their insurance on 12/31/2013 because it became against the rules to deny someone insurance, and that was a prerequisite to be on the plan. That means our people who needed their insurance the most lost it first........... So much for "if you like your plan you can keep it"............

Deadwood subscriber

No one forced you into Obamacare. You could have taken the penalty. When you tell blatant lies, it undercuts the rest of your argument.


now you will pay up to $15,000 more. love it while you can.

Tim Russell

Well at least it's not 1000%.


This should scare the heck out of you,we will all be bankrupt and living in boxes.


Hide your $$$$s and do it the trump way and file bankruptcy




Hide your $$$$s and do it the trump way and file bankruptcy!


Just like Comrade Trump has done? Release the tax files!

kyle patzner

Weren't his 2005's just released? The year everyone said he didn't pay anything? It turned out that he paid over 38 million in income tax, + 10 million in sales and property tax so 48 million in one year??????? GOOD POINT....... I understand people don't like him, you have that right! However that point just doesn't work anymore.....

Tim Russell

I'm pretty sure his 2005 Tax Returns was more than the 2 pages he leaked to the press.

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