Little advertising of new health care law in Wisconsin - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Little advertising of new health care law in Wisconsin

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The federal government is spending less money on advertising of the new health care law in Wisconsin, per capita, than any other state.

The Associated Press reports the federal government plans to spend at least $684 million nationally on publicity and advertising. But Gov. Scott Walker has declined to cooperate with implementation of the new program, instead ceding that responsibility to the federal government.

Wisconsin is slated to receive $2.6 million in federal outreach grants, but nothing for marketing and advertising.

National surveys show that more than three-fourths of uninsured people know little about the new health care law. So states and the Obama administration are trying to educate them before enrollment for new benefits begins in October.

Nearly 560,000 Wisconsin residents, or 10 percent of the state population, are uninsured.

Claire Smith, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said the state could have applied for grant funding that would have included outreach and communication if it had implemented a state-based exchange, or online marketplace. Instead Wisconsin is leaving it up to the federal government to set up the exchanges and get out the word about them.

The only grants Wisconsin has received include $830,000 in so-called navigator grants and $1.8 million for health centers.

Navigator programs, which are run by community groups, are intended to help consumers understand new coverage options and figure out which is best for them. The $1.8 million is being divided among 16 health centers across the state that serve the poor.

The total funding means the government is spending about 46 cents per Wisconsin resident, the lowest per-capita spending rate in the U.S. The national average is $2.37.

 

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