Bill Kaplan: Democrats lead on bread-and-butter issues

Trump launched (tweeted) another broadside Saturday …, calling a prominent black congressman’s Baltimore district a ‘disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess … no human being would want to live there’” (Washington Post). Why? “Republican officials say Trump is harnessing the anger of those who continue to feel left behind despite the strong economy, and steering their fury toward (minority) members of Congress he has accused of bad-mouthing the country and embracing socialist policies” (Post).

Trump and the GOP should be worried. Despite their “rhetorical appeals to white working-class (and rural) voters (this has) not been matched by legislative accomplishments aimed at their economic interests” (New York Times). Just tax cuts for corporations and the rich. And, notwithstanding low unemployment there is trouble: “Wisconsin, where 10 counties that (Trump) won in 2016 lost manufacturing jobs” (Times); Wisconsin’s “economy depends on manufacturers. They’re worried that a downturn is approaching” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); and “Trump in Milwaukee says farmers are ‘over the hump’ as dairy farms continue to close (over 1600) in Wisconsin” (MJS).

Wisconsin congressional Democrats have a different approach than Trump and Republicans: pass bread-and-butter legislation, while standing up for farmers and middle and working class folks. Over the last few weeks the Democratic-led House has strengthened the Affordable Care Act (ACA), increased the minimum wage and passed pension reform. And, Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin has led the way to improve and strengthen federal support for state dairy farms, while decrying the Trump trade wars and resultant pain and misery for Wisconsin farmers. Baldwin has been impressive in representing the entire state, regardless of political allegiance. Let’s look at the Democratic record.

ACA: The Democratic-led House voted to block the sale of “junk insurance” with scanty benefits and no coverage of preexisting conditions, restored funding for ACA advertising and outreach, lowered drug prices and intervened in the federal lawsuit where Trump and the GOP are trying to have the ACA declared unconstitutional. All Wisconsin Democrats stood up for the ACA, while Wisconsin Republicans voted no. Baldwin supports upholding the ACA in the federal lawsuit, but Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson does not.

Minimum wage increase: House Democrats passed an historic $15 minimum wage — “would lift the earnings of 27.3 million workers” (Post). This would cover 829,000 workers in Wisconsin, mostly adults and full-time workers (Economic Policy Institute). The Wisconsin House delegation voted along party lines. Baldwin supports, while Johnson does not.

Pension reform: The House passed a bipartisan bill to save failing troubled pension funds. 25,000 Wisconsin workers and retirees will benefit. All Wisconsin Democratic representatives and GOP Representative Sean Duffy voted yes (other state GOP representatives voted no). La Crosse Democratic Representative Ron Kind said: “Hardworking Wisconsinites deserve peace of mind and certainty that they’ll receive the benefits they’ve earned when they retire.” Baldwin has led on pension reform and is a chief sponsor of a Senate bill with 25 other senators. Will Johnson vote to help regular folks? It’s past time!

Bread-and-butter issues, morally right and politically smart.

Citizen Action Weekly: July 19, 2019

Citizen Action Weekly: July 19, 2019

Friday, July 19th

Citizen Action member teams up with Tom Perez of the DNC to talk about the ACA and Medicaid Expansion

Healthcare Co-op member, Mike Bernstein, joined a press conference with the DNC’s Chair Tom Perez at the Clock Shadow Creamery in the fifth ward of Milwaukee.

As a former CEO and CFO of several big health systems on the West coast, he was able to testify to the financial issue that Wisconsin is suffering higher healthcare costs as a result of the continuing battle against the ACA and the rejection of the Medicaid money.

We are always proud of our activism of our members.

North Central Organizing Co-op Updates

Founding member of the North Central Organizing Co-op, Rob Norton won his recall election in Merrill, WI, along with all but 1 incumbent. Some of our Co-op members in Merrill helped him with his efforts.

Co-op members, and people from various other organizations joined

Lights for Liberty events all across the state, including in Wisconsin Rapids, Wausau and Minocqua. You can see news coverage of the Wausau event here.

NC Organizing Co-op member Scott Kirby and other co-op members have been working hard in Oneida and Vilas County on Fair Maps, and Move to Amend resolutions. The Oneida County Board refused to take up either issue, so co-op member Jackie Cody and others decided to make progress in the County by organizing township by township!

They completed knocking doors on July 10th, with a total collection of 542 signatures. This is 100 signatures above the required 15% of voters in the last election of 2018 which was the governor’s race.

The next step is to present the signatures to the City of Rhinelander Clerk, Val Foley, on Tuesday, July 23rd at 3 PM. Fourteen circulators and a core group of six knocked on every door in a neighborhood. Three of the core six were Citizen Action members Steven Schreier, Tom Jerow and Jackie Cody. Citizen Action member Scott Kirby, was one of the several individual circulators contacting friends. Scott’s infant son, Elton, made his political debut at the first organizing meeting. Elton is lucky to have a dad politically involved.

“There were very few residents who were not interested in signing the petitions. People were receptive and knowledgeable about the two issues. They want the opportunity for their voice to be heard as it should be in a democracy. So it is now up to the Rhinelander City Council to place it on the April 7, 2020 ballot.  It would be respecting the will of the people,” stated Jackie Cody.

At the City of Rhinelander Council meeting of Monday, August 12th, Tom Jerow, Citizen Action member, will be speaking to the Council to place the referendums on the April 7, 2020 ballot.  “The Council could decide to pass the resolutions without allowing the residents to vote.  The residents that signed the petitions are expecting the referendum to be on the ballot,” stated Cody.

Signature collection also took place at the Northwoods Pride Festival, Northwestern Lounge’s Wednesday Trivia Night and at the Farmer Market on one Saturday.

Citizen Action member, David Barnhill, aided volunteers in Eagle River to complete their collection of signatures as of July 16th. The group collected 175 signatures. The number of signatures needed were 112. Co-op member Kay Hoff, Mike Gerlach and four more volunteers knocked on every door in Eagle River!  Petitions will be given to the Eagle River City Clerk on Wednesday, July 24th.  The Council meeting has yet to be scheduled.

There are individuals in the towns of Hazelhurst, Pelican, Crescent and Pine Lake in Oneida County who will be approaching their town boards requesting the two issues be on the April 2020 ballot. Kay Hoff is seeking to find volunteers to approach at least four towns in Vilas County.

Working with George Penn of WI United To Amend was very helpful. George is also coordinating with Fair Elections Project about the progress of petitioning.

Jeff Smith & Jodi Emerson Ride the Bus!

Two of our elected co-op members held office hours on the Eau Claire city bus last Friday. State Senator Jeff Smith and Representative Jodi Emerson met dozens of constituents. From the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram: “This is amazing,” said Brooke Whiterabbit, 29, who recently moved to Eau Claire from Barron County. “I never would have gone to anything like this if it were anywhere else. I never would have reached out to a legislator on my own.”

Read Eau Claire Leader Telegram article

(Pictured: Jeff Smith in the foreground, Jodi Emerson in Bue)

Having Scary Conversations- Issue Canvassing Training (August 10 & August 17)

Canvassing is an extremely important part of taking action, but it can also be kinda scary! If you wish that you felt more confident when canvassing, this training is for you. Our organizer, Noah, will be facilitating a conversation on how to navigate the scary parts of talking politics on doors, or even with that one difficult family member. The August 10th training will take place in Black River Falls, and the August 17th training will take place in Menomonie. More details will be on the way soon so stay tuned! If you have any questions or would like to have a training in your community, contact Noah at noah.reif@citizenactionwi.org.

Lights for Liberty- Eau Claire

We are proud to join in solidarity with the nationwide protests that took place on July 12th. Our members are deeply disturbed by the humanitarian crisis on our southern border that has been fabricated by the current administration. It is critical that we stand with those in our community who are targeted and we pledge to be allies in the continuing fight.

Ballots & Brunch/Ballots & Brews Event with NextGen

Over the last week, Citizen Action has partnered with NextGen in their push to expand ballot accessibility in the state of Wisconsin. This included events in Eau Claire and Hudson. We are proud to support the push to expand ballot accessibility and ensure that the voices of voters are truly heard across the state.

Southeastern Co-op

Good Government Issue Team

Join us on Monday on the 29th at Black Sheep 216 S. 2nd St. 6 pm (across the street from our office) for our new Good Government Meet. We have lots of exciting things that will be discussed at our first meeting. We will be discussing things like ranked choice voting, voter registration, fair maps, election integrity, and we will have a direct report from our State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski! State Treasurer Godlewski is working on pensions for Wisconsinites and tuition free college. Join us in our conversation to find out how we’re going to tackle these issues. 2020 is around the corner and we can’t afford to sit on the sidelines.

Acción Ciudadana 

Expect a call in the next few days from us in the next few days. We’re going folks to let them know we’re meeting up in the next coming up month. There we will talk strategy about moving forward. Talk to you all real soon.

Steering Committee Election Winners

We had three open seat up this election cycle. Thank you to all the folks who applied and if you didn’t get a chance to run we strongly encourage you all to join our issue team. Congrats to Vice Chairman Eric Marsch for his reelection. Also, congratulations to the new Steering Committee members Ashlie Benson and Zena Blom. Super excited to have you all on board.

Eco-Justice Task Team

Join us on Aug 1st at 6 pm at the Black History Historical Society Museum for our Green New Deal campaign kick off. We’re going to be talking about how to get involved and what we have coming down the line in the next few weeks. We want to push these Green New Jobs in communities of color and low income. Join this revolutionary campaign and help us kick off Milwaukee into the future. We this more than ever.

HealthCare for All Co-op

With the Tony Evers signing of the budget, the Co-op has decided to hit the reset button on issues they would like to concentrate on.  We are forming new issue teams so let us know which team you want to be on.

“Amanda Stuck steps up” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss Donald Trump and his campaign doubling down on racist, white nationalist appeals this week. Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy says Trump’s tweets were not racist and denies calling four congresswomen anti-American. We are joined by Citizen Action member and State Representative Amanda Stuck who announced this week she is running for Congress. Citizen Action’s Kevin Kane stops by to discuss the new member organizing co-op we are organizing in the “Driftless” area of Wisconsin and how you can get involved in an initial campaign to get area utilities to accept federal funds to create energy efficiency jobs in the region upgrading homes at no cost to residents.

Listen Now – Episode #401
Download MP3

To get more information about the Driftless Organizing Cooperative: Kevin.Kane@citizenationwi.org

SIGN Petition to Electric Utilities to Rebuild the Driftless.

Citizen Action Media Clips

Facebook post of the week

 

“Amanda Stuck steps up” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Amanda Stuck steps up” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss Donald Trump and his campaign doubling down on racist, white nationalist appeals this week. Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy says Trump’s tweets were not racist and denies calling four congresswomen anti-American. We are joined by Citizen Action member and State Representative Amanda Stuck who announced this week she is running for Congress. Citizen Action’s Kevin Kane stops by to discuss the new member organizing co-op we are organizing in the “Driftless” area of Wisconsin and how you can get involved in an initial campaign to get area utilities to accept federal funds to to create energy efficiency jobs in the region upgrading homes at no cost to residents.
Listen Now – Episode #401
Download MP3
Press Clips

To get more information about the Driftless Organizing Cooperative: Kevin.Kane@citizenationwi.org

SIGN Petition to Electric Utilities to Rebuild the Driftless.

Links:
‘Send her back!’ chant shows Trump’s ugly plan to get reelected.
Sean Duffy defends Trump against charge of racism while accusing four Democratic colleagues of being ‘anti-American’.
Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy says ‘anti-American’ remark was misunderstood.
State Rep. Amanda Stuck to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher for Congress.

Rep. Amanda Stuck Says Working Class Background An Asset In Congressional Run.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday July 12th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday July 12th

State Legislature Must Take Action to Protect Health Coverage

Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, marketplace health insurance, at grave risk of having coverage taken away by conservative federal judges

In a telephone news conference this week, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and seven state lawmakers called for urgent state legislative action to protect Wisconsinites from the health care chaos that would be unleashed by an adverse decision in a federal court case challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Oral arguments started this week in federal appeals court on the case of Texas v. United States, which President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Bar are using as a vehicle for invalidating the entire ACA, including the popular protections against pre-existing condition discrimination.

Under Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin was the second plaintiff in the case until Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul were able to pull out after a state court temporarily invalidated GOP lame duck restrictions on withdrawal from lawsuits.

Joining the news conference where State Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), State Representative Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire), State Representative Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton), State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee), State Senator Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire), State Representative Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg), and State Representative Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee).

Listen to a recording of the entire Wisconsin news conference here.

Speakers at the news conference made the case that eventual U.S. Supreme Court action invalidating the ACA is a clear and present danger in 2020. Therefore, it is critical that state lawmakers put the law’s critical consumer protection in state law by the end of the legislative session. If the ACA was struck down the following provisions would be eliminated from federal law:

      • Guaranteeing coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, impacting an estimated 852,000 to 2.436 million Wisconsinites.
      • Prohibition of price discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions. In Wisconsin without this protection a patient with a pregnancy could be charged $17,060 more, and someone with metastatic cancer could be charged $140,510 more.
      • Free coverage of preventative care such as mammograms and colonoscopies for 2,804,258 Wisconsinites.
      • Mental health parity.
      • Prohibition of gender discrimination in coverage and pricing.
      • Prohibition of age discrimination in pricing, the so-called “age tax.”
      • Prohibition of lifetime and annual care limits.
      • Protections against junk health care plans by requiring that all essential health benefits be covered.
      • Substance abuse coverage.
      • Resources and funds to hold insurance companies accountable to regulation.

In addition, 153,000 Wisconsinites would have their health coverage taken away if the ACA was struck down, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute.

Citizen Action is urging lawmakers to codify the ACA’s consumer protections and health insurance regulations in state law to protect Wisconsinites in the event of a damaging U.S. Supreme Court decision. Citizen Action is also urging lawmakers to create a plan, triggered by an adverse court decision striking down the ACA, to replace the marketplace plans for people who buy insurance on their own and the federal subsidies that make them more affordable.

“We can’t count on Washington to be listening to us,” Rep. Amanda Stuck. “We need to take action now and protect the people here in Wisconsin at the state level.”

“I have two daughters who are out of college and haven’t really hit that career job yet. So it’s really important to me that they’re able to be on our health insurance until they’re 26 years old,” said Rep. Jodi Emerson. “Having health care protections for young people as they start their career is so important. If the ACA is done away with, if this case succeeds, our young adults are really going to be at risk for not being covered because of the gig economy that’s going on and maybe having a couple of different part-time jobs. As a mother of two twenty-year-old girls, this is really important to me.”

“This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, this should be bipartisan,” said Sen. Chris Larson. “Everybody gets sick. The only people who will, frankly, be protected if this lawsuit succeeds is the health insurance industry.”

“The Republican challenge of the Affordable Care Act is cruel, it’s reckless and it will ultimately hurt our nation’s most vulnerable population,” said Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa. “When healthcare options become limited or unattainable, it’s people of color – especially women of color – like myself who are the most harmed.”

“The State Legislature has a moral obligation to protect the people of Wisconsin from harm. The federal court nullification of the ACA is a predictable human-made disaster that would reap havoc with the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “We urge state lawmakers to take action to put the popular federal protections against pre-existing condition discriminating and other insurance industry abuses in state law, and beyond the reach of activist federal judges.”

Read media from Tuesday’s call with state legislators.

The Joint City-County Task Force in Milwaukee on Climate & Economic Equity passes the Common Council unanimously! 

On July 9th, the Milwaukee Common Council passed a Citizen Action supported resolution calling for the creation of a joint city & county task force that seek to address the climate crisis according to the guidelines set by Paris Accord while also being intentional about who benefits from a 100% Just Transition.

A big thank you goes out to Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton for his sense of urgency and leadership in making this a reality.

Lastly, On Tuesday July 16th at 1pm in room 201-B, the resolution goes before the County Parks, Energy and Environment committee for passage and we would love if members would come out and support.

If you’re interested in attending or our campaign in general you can contact the Organizer Rafael Smith at rafael.smith@citizenactionwi.org

Attend Lights for Liberty events

Today, Friday July 12th, 2019, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps, will bring thousands of Americans together to protest the inhumane conditions faced by refugees.

Eau Claire
Phoenix Park
330 Riverfront Terrace, Eau Claire
8pm – 9:30pm
Event Details

Milwaukee
Milwaukee City Hall
200 E Wells St, Milwaukee
8pm
Event Details

Wauwatosa
Wauwatosa City Hall
7725 W North Ave, Wauwatosa
7:45 – 9:15pm
Event Details

Appleton
Houdini Plaza
111 W College Ave, Appleton
7:00-9:00pm
Event Details

Sturgeon Bay
Market Square Parking Lot in front of City Hall
421 Michigan St, Sturgeon Bay
7:00pm

Washington Island
Schoolhouse Beach Pavilion
1824 Washington Harbor Rd, Washington
6:00-7:30pm

Medicare for All and the Democratic Primary

Citizen Action Executive Director Robert Kraig spoke to a group of healthcare activists from GrassRoots South Shore this week. He detailed the various bills in Congress and reviewed where many of the first tier presidential candidates stood on the issue. It is clear that healthcare will be the top issue in 2020. If you want to get involved in Citizen Action’s healthcare organizing contact Karen Kirsch at karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org. Make no mistake Wisconsin is the pivotable state next year and this is THE issue so your involvement in paramount.

Southeastern Co-op Update 

Having an awesome time at the LULAC Convention and joining our Latinx family in solidarity with the issues they are facing. We have developed long lasting relations with folks locally and all over our nation. We have had lots of folks interested in supporting and learning more about our Accion Ciudadana. Specifically, folks wanted to learn more about the co-op.

For more information about the Southeastern Co-op contact: Fabi.Maldonado@citizenactionwi.org

Updates From the North Central Organizing Co-op

In Merrill, WI one of our Co-op members is facing a recall election. The election is taking place this Tuesday, July 16th. His name is Rob Norton, and he has served the City of Merrill since 2012. Please make sure you vote if you live in Merrill.

“Lights for Liberty” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We welcome Citizen Action co-op member Mireya Sigala-Valadez to discuss the Lights for Liberty national day of action event she is helping organize in Eau Claire where people will gather Friday night in solidarity to end refugee camps and to protest the inhumane treatment of refugees. Co-op member and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski gives her take on the signed state budget and organizes us to fill out her new student loan surveys. We discuss the Texas lawsuit to end the Affordable Care Act and what state legislators are preparing to do to in response. Gov. Evers says Foxconn will only create 1,500 jobs. The 2020 Presidential Election heats up in Wisconsin this week with candidate visits and Trump fundraiser.

Listen Now – Episode #400
Download mp3

Facebook post of the week

State Legislature Must Take Action to Protect Health Coverage

For Immediate Release–July 9, 2017

Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, marketplace health insurance, at grave risk of having coverage taken away by conservative federal judges

Milwaukee: In a telephone news conference this morning, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and seven lawmakers called for urgent state legislative action to protect Wisconsinites from the health care chaos that would be unleashed by an adverse decision in a federal court case challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Oral arguments are being held today in federal appeals court on the case of Texas v. United States, which President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Bar are using as a vehicle for invalidating the entire ACA, including the popular protections against pre-existing condition discrimination. Under Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin was the second plaintiff in the case until Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul were able to pull out after a state court temporarily invalidated GOP lame duck restrictions on withdrawal from lawsuits.

Joining the news conference this morning where State Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), State Representative Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire), State Representative Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton), State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee), State Senator Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire), State Representative Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg), and State Representative Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee).

Listen to a recording of the entire Wisconsin news conference here.

Speakers at the news conference made the case that eventual U.S. Supreme Court action invalidating the ACA is a clear and present danger in 2020. Therefore, it is critical that state lawmakers put the law’s critical consumer protection in state law by the end of the legislative session. If the ACA was struck down the following provisions would be eliminated from federal law:

      • Guaranteeing coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, impacting an estimated 852,000 to 2.436 million Wisconsinites.
      • Prohibition of price discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions. In Wisconsin without this protection a patient with a pregnancy could be charged $17,060 more, and someone with metastatic cancer could be charged $140,510 more.
      • Free coverage of preventative care such as mammograms and colonoscopies for 2,804,258 Wisconsinites.
      • Mental health parity.
      • Prohibition of gender discrimination in coverage and pricing.
      • Prohibition of age discrimination in pricing, the so-called “age tax.”
      • Prohibition of lifetime and annual care limits.
      • Protections against junk health care plans by requiring that all essential health benefits be covered.
      • Substance abuse coverage.
      • Resources and funds to hold insurance companies accountable to regulation.

In addition, 153,000 Wisconsinites would have their health coverage taken away if the ACA was struck down, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute.

Citizen Action is urging lawmakers to codify the ACA’s consumer protections and health insurance regulations in state law to protect Wisconsinites in the event of a damaging U.S. Supreme Court decision. Citizen Action is also urging lawmakers to create a plan, triggered by an adverse court decision striking down the ACA, to replace the marketplace plans for people who buy insurance on their own and the federal subsidies that make them more affordable.

“We can’t count on Washington to be listening to us,” Rep. Amanda Stuck. “We need to take action now and protect the people here in Wisconsin at the state level.”

“I have two daughters who are out of college and haven’t really hit that career job yet. So it’s really important to me that they’re able to be on our health insurance until they’re 26 years old,” said Rep. Jodi Emerson. “Having health care protections for young people as they start their career is so important. If the ACA is done away with, if this case succeeds, our young adults are really going to be at risk for not being covered because of the gig economy that’s going on and maybe having a couple of different part-time jobs. As a mother of two twenty-year-old girls, this is really important to me.”

“This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, this should be bipartisan,” said Sen. Chris Larson. “Everybody gets sick. The only people who will, frankly, be protected if this lawsuit succeeds is the health insurance industry.”

“The Republican challenge of the Affordable Care Act is cruel, it’s reckless and it will ultimately hurt our nation’s most vulnerable population,” said Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa. “When healthcare options become limited or unattainable, it’s people of color – especially women of color – like myself who are the most harmed.”

“The State Legislature has a moral obligation to protect the people of Wisconsin from harm. The federal court nullification of the ACA is a predictable human-made disaster that would reap havoc with the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “We urge state lawmakers to take action to put the popular federal protections against pre-existing condition discriminating and other insurance industry abuses in state law, and beyond the reach of activist federal judges.”

Bill Kaplan: After the budget, Medicaid expansion

Governor Tony Evers wisely approved the budget passed by the GOP-controlled legislature, despite its being, “in many ways, insufficient”. Evers said: “Vetoing this budget in its entirety would have been more of the same divisiveness and petty, political theatrics that the people of Wisconsin have had to put up with for far too long.” Moreover, Evers ingeniously used a partial veto “to boost K-12 education funding in Wisconsin by about $65 million …” (Wisconsin Public Radio). That was on top of the $500 million increase that GOP legislators approved, having read the election-year tea leaves.

The most glaring budget omission was the failure of the GOP-controlled legislature to include Medicaid expansion. Evers decried Republican willful fiscal and moral blindness: “70 percent of Wisconsin citizens (43 percent of Republicans) support expanding Medicaid because they understand it will allow us to expand coverage to more than 80,000 Wisconsinites, save $324 million in state tax dollars, and bring in $1.6 billion in new federal investment into our health care system in Wisconsin …, and make health care more affordable by lowering premiums for folks who have private insurance.”

The June 20, 2019 JAMA Forum (Journal of the American Medical Association) supported Evers: “A series of new studies being released … are all starting to point to a single action that is behind … reducing mortality from … cardiovascular disease and cancer; addressing seemingly intractable racial disparities that plague the U.S. health care system; reducing hospital bad debt and rural hospital closures; decreasing maternal and infant mortality; lowering payday lending and housing foreclosures; creating jobs …; improving medication compliance; and lowering the cost of insurance. That action? Passing and implementing Medicaid expansion”.

Evers promised to “continue to fight for Medicaid expansion through separate legislation, future budget bills, and otherwise through every executive power I am afforded.” This can be done with a GOP-controlled legislature. Crackerjack Urban Milwaukee journalist Bruce Murphy opined that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald exposed a division among Republicans in December, 2018 when he said he would not “rule it (Medicaid expansion) out”. Although Fitzgerald quickly walked back his comment, there are 3 GOP state senators who might support Medicaid expansion.

Republican state Senators Luther Olsen (Ripon) and Jerry Petrowski (Marathon) have both considered taking the federal money to expand Medicaid on multiple occasions. And, Republican state Senator Robert Cowles (Green Bay) showed independence in opposing the 2018 GOP power grab that limited the powers of Democratic Governor-elect Evers. All three conservatives are central to begin getting Medicaid expansion passed. Local media, business, community and religious leaders as well as doctors, nurses and hospitals need to reach out to these senators.

Former Ohio GOP Governor Kasich offers inspiration: “Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid” and “When you die and get to the meeting with Saint Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he is going to ask you what you did for the poor”. Senators Cowles, Olsen and Petrowski should consider their legacies.

–Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast


We discuss Trump’s made for Fox TV campaign kick-off event in the wake of his trumped up fight with Iran. Will Trump decide that releasing the dogs of war is to his political advantage? Next, we dig into the critical state budget votes scheduled for next week, the growing right wing opposition to the GOP budget, and the options available to Governor Evers should a terrible budget reach his desk. We preview next Monday’s BadgerCare Expansion statewide Day of Action (see details below). Finally, the panel dives into the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders dynamic in the Democratic primary election, looks ahead to the first Democratic  presidential “debate,” and discusses Beto O’Rourke’s LBJ like ascent from political unknown to presidential contender.
Listen Now – Episode #397
Download MP3
Press Clips
Read More