March 9, 2010, WAUWATOSA - Governor Jim Doyle today signed into law Assembly Bill 614, the Health Care Transparency Bill. The Governor signed the bill at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and was joined by supporters of the bill and the bill's Senate author Senator Jim Sullivan.
"Nowhere else are people asked to buy a product before they know what the price is," Governor Doyle said. "This bill is a practical step forward that will help people better understand what their health care costs are before making important health care decisions."
The new law requires health care providers to disclose the cost of the most common procedures they perform. It will help consumers get price estimates prior to a procedure, help them make apples-to-apples comparisons on prices, and help them determine out-of-pocket costs prior to services occurring.
Since taking office in 2003, Governor Doyle has worked hard to make Wisconsin America's health care leader. Under Governor Doyle's leadership, Wisconsin now ranks second in the country in the percentage of people with access to health care and first in health care quality. Every Wisconsin child now has access to health care through Governor Doyle's BadgerCare Plus plan. In addition, the Governor's BadgerCare Plus Core Plan has provided standard health benefits for low income adults without dependent children - a program that now has a waiting list of more than 30,000 people due to budget limits. In January, Governor Doyle proposed a new, entirely self-funded health care plan called BadgerCare Plus Basic for those adults on that waiting list.
Governor Doyle today called on the Legislature to quickly pass BadgerCare Plus Basic to help thousands of people on the Core waiting list purchase coverage that will provide basic care at no cost to taxpayers. The Basic plan, Senate Bill 484, will be paid for through a $130 monthly premium that enrollees pay, helping them see a doctor and get the medications they need.
Governor Doyle thanked Representatives Richards and Staskunas and Senators Sullivan and Cowles for their work on the bill.
Governor Doyle also signed Assembly Bill 165, which allows cities to broaden the property tax base subject to neighborhood improvement district special assessments for the purpose of economic development.
Governor Doyle thanked Representatives Richards and Zepnick and Senators Plale and Carpenter for their work on the bill.