Health Insurers, HMOs Gave About $360K to Walker’s State Campaigns

August 20, 2015

Since GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker says he would repeal the federal Affordable Care Act, if elected president next year, it is interesting to note the financial support he received from the health insurance industry and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). They contributed about $360,000 between January 2010 and December 2014 to Walker’s three successful state campaigns for governor. Walker’s top contributors in the health insurance and HMO industries include:

  • David, Shery, Jon, Lindsay and Michael Cotton, of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., $50,000. The Cotton family founded and operate Meridian Health Plans;
  • Gerald Frye, of Elm Grove, Wis., president of Benefit Services Group, and his wife, Natalie, $33,015;
  • Managed Health Services /Centene Political Action Committee (PAC), $31,500;
  • Humana Inc. PAC, $18,000;
  • Pete Farrow, of Chippewa Falls, chief executive officer of Group Health Cooperative Eau Claire, and his wife Michelle, membership coordinator of the Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce, $12,000.

Walker’s plan would give states more control over insurance, reduce federal government regulation and seek to increase private sector competition in order to reduce the cost and increase the choices for health insurance coverage. The plan would allow people to buy insurance across state lines, promote health savings accounts and retain insurance coverage offered by employers. People who do not get health insurance through their employer would get tax credits based on their age to help buy coverage.

Walker’s plan would also give states a lump sum of federal cash to spend as they wish on Medicaid to cover poor families with children, and provide incentives to states to pass laws that reduce the ability of injured patients and their families to file medical liability lawsuits and collect damages.

Larry Levitt, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and other critics said Walker’s plan, which lacked cost and coverage estimates, would make it more difficult for the middle class and the poor, in particular, to afford good health insurance, and might change the federal Medicaid program to make it more difficult for poor people to qualify for Medicaid if they cannot afford insurance on the private market.