Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle yesterday signed a bill designed to allow farmers and others who lack health insurance to join a cooperative that will negotiate health insurance plans on their behalf.
A.B. 5 expands access to health care cooperatives in the state, and makes it easier for farmers and small business owners and senior citizens to get affordable health insurance.
Farmers pay about three times more in health insurance premiums than those who can take part in company sponsored health plans. As a result, many farmers choose to do without.
In 2003, Governor Doyle signed legislation creating five regional health care purchasing alliances to bring farmers and other small employers together to negotiate directly with health plans and use their buying power to negotiate better coverage, and lower premiums.
The bill is supported by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, the American Association of Retired Persons, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, Wausau Benefits, and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.