REFORMING HEALTH INSURANCE
Kathleen sponsored and passed health insurance reforms the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called “the most extensive changes in a decade in the way the state regulates the individual insurance market.” Her five-point plan makes it more difficult for insurance companies to rescind or cancel policies, limits how insurance companies use pre-existing conditions to deny coverage, sets up a binding independent review of rescissions and denied claims, and allows parents of adult children to keep their children on their health care policy until age 27.
Kathleen was one of the Senate sponsors for the Wired For Health Act which will strengthen the ability of Wisconsin health care providers to securely share electronic patient data in order to avoid duplicative tests, improve health outcomes, and decrease costs. The legislation paves the way for hospitals to receive between $500 million to $800 million in incentive payments to help them establish and use electronic medical record systems. The Act creates a framework for a state-level, private-public structure to govern and coordinate the implementation of the statewide network. The exchange will also help support the creation of new high-tech jobs in the state.
Kathleen sponsored and passed improvements to the Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan; the only health insurance resource for many with chronic disease.
Kathleen was one of the principal architects of Healthy Wisconsin that passed the Senate but not the Assembly and which would have extended health care coverage to all Wisconsin residents.
She recently introduced a Small Business Health Options Program which creates an insurance exchange for small businesses giving them better access to health insurance plans at lower cost.
Kathleen co-authored Wisconsin’s first health care transparency law to allow consumers to receive price estimates before a procedure, to compare prices and quality across hospitals and to know their out-of-pocket costs prior to receiving care.
Kathleen was the chief author of language directing the State to include in its Medicaid contracts with managed care organizations such basic requirements as prenatal care coordination, disease management and case coordination for patients with chronic diseases, a 24-hour hotline, and substance abuse screening and intervention. Although the Governor vetoed the statutory language, many of the provisions were included in the next round of contract proposals.
Kathleen was a strong supporter to the Rural Health Care Access Act which reversed some of the Governor’s cuts and provided $1.7 million in net new dollars to hospitals in Arcadia, Black River Falls, Sparta, Tomah and Whitehall.