MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has issued a pair of executive orders designed to fulfill his campaign pledge of increasing access and affordability to health care and insurance.
But the executive orders released Tuesday stop far short of Evers' promises to expand Medicaid coverage and drop Wisconsin's involvement in a multi-state lawsuit seeking repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Doing either of those things requires approval of the Republican-controlled Legislature.
(Read complete text of the orders below.)
One of Evers' orders calls for the Department of Health Services to develop a plan to ensure that more people have access to affordable, quality health care by expanding Medicaid.
He's also directing a number of state agencies to implement plans or make recommendations to protect people with pre-existing conditions and protect against attempts to repeal the federal law.
EXECUTIVE ORDER #3
Relating to the Creation of a Healthy Communities Initiative
WHEREAS, healthy communities are essential to ensure the wellbeing of the State of Wisconsin, its people, and its economy;
WHEREAS, critical healthcare needs exist across the State of Wisconsin which require comprehensive and collaborative solutions;
WHEREAS, to ensure that current and future generations of Wisconsinites thrive, the State of Wisconsin must promote the wellbeing of individuals and their communities;
WHEREAS, access to preventative care and community health solutions across the State of Wisconsin will improve the quality of life for all Wisconsinites;
WHEREAS, it is the expressed policy of my administration that we must address acute health disparities and crises that for too long have not been prioritized;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, TONY EVERS, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the Laws of the State, hereby order the following:
1. The Department of Health Services shall be the executive agency entrusted to oversee and promote healthcare for the people of the State of Wisconsin; and
2. The Department shall use its expertise in public health to take any necessary steps to protect and enhance the health outcomes of the people of the State of Wisconsin, including prioritizing the following areas:
a. Increasing healthcare coverage;
b. Improving healthcare access;
c. Investing in prevention and wellness;
d. Developing a diverse and robust healthcare workforce;
e. Fostering innovation in healthcare; and
f. Reducing health disparities; and
3. The Department of Health Services shall develop a plan to ensure that more Wisconsinites have access to affordable, quality healthcare, while saving Wisconsin taxpayer dollars, by expanding Medicaid eligibility in the State of Wisconsin; and
4. The Department of Health Services shall, when applicable, make decisions that are evidence-based and culturally competent.
EXECUTIVE ORDER #4
Relating to the Preservation of Insurance Protections
WHEREAS, improving the health and wellbeing of Wisconsin citizens is of the utmost importance to my administration;
WHEREAS, more than 850,000 Wisconsinites live with pre-existing health conditions;
WHEREAS, those with pre-existing conditions should not be excluded from attaining affordable health insurance coverage and access to health services;
WHEREAS, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides protections for those with pre-existing conditions by prohibiting healthcare insurers from denying coverage to such individuals;
WHEREAS, the future of these insurance coverage protections is uncertain due, in part, to litigation supported by the prior administration;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, TONY EVERS, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the Laws of the State, hereby direct the Office of Commissioner on Insurance, the Department of Health Services, and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to implement action plans and, where appropriate, provide recommendations to the Governor on how to:
1. Protect consumers with preexisting conditions;
2. Enhance health plan affordability, access, and consumer protection;
3. Protect against attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act marketplace with short term plans that do not comply with Affordable Care Act requirements;
4. Create curriculum around insurance literacy for students; and
5. Require insurers to provide clarity and transparency on health plan costs, coverage, and benefits.