“Not Dying 4 Wall Street” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Not Dying 4 Wall Street” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the latest COVID-19 pandemic news, including this week’s Congressional action. Is the $2 trillion relief package the biggest corporate giveaway in American history, or vital help for working Americans and small businesses in a time of dire need? We welcome Susannah Dyen from Caring Across Generations to talk about the Texas Lt. Governor’s comments that grandparents would be willing to die to preserve America’s economy. We close with the latest on the troubled April 7th spring election, including changes to election procedures imposed by a federal judge and growing opposition to holding this election during a state lockdown.

Listen Now – Episode #435
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Register to vote. Until March 30th.
Request your absentee ballot today. Until April 2nd.

Links:

Coronavirus spreads across Wisconsin with a spike in confirmed cases, an outbreak in a senior facility and questions over spring election.
‘We put the value of human life at a higher level’.

Businesses close, unemployment rises as Evers’ stay-at-home order comes with a dire warning.
Texas’ lieutenant governor says US should get ‘back to work’.
Senate passes historic $2 trillion stimulus package to curb effects of coronavirus.
Thinking big while staying at home: Progressive policy wonks on how the pandemic could change everything.
How the coronavirus stimulus bill helps you.
‘At their own peril’ federal lawsuit from city of Green Bay requests election delay.

Battleground Wisconsin Podcast panel and Susannah Dyen.
Local Governments Have Power to Lower Dangerously High Prescription Drug Cost

Local Governments Have Power to Lower Dangerously High Prescription Drug Cost

And Trump Administration and GOP just rigged the coronavirus relief so Big Phrama can price gouge on the future COVID-19 vaccine

By Robert Kraig, Executive Director

Outrageously high prescription drug prices, forced on the public by pharmaceutical corporations who have been granted monopolies over life saving medications, are at the very top of voter concerns in 2020. Ultimately, the federal government (which performs most of the nation’s drug research then grants unnecessary monopolies to predatory corporations) has the most power to fix this problem. State governments can provide some relief as well. But few realize that local governments have an opportunity to provide lower cost prescription drugs to their residents, although none have yet taken advantage of it.

More on this innovative local angle in a moment, but first a little on the magnitude of the problem.

The poster child drug for Big Pharma’s reign of medical terror is insulin, which makes it possible for diabetics to live healthy and productive lives. National data shows one in four people with diabetes skip or ration insulin because of cost. This practice comes as little surprise when the price of some varieties of insulin have increased by more than 17.5% per year from 2012 to 2017. Already in 2020, drug corporations have hiked the price of prescription medicines by over twice the current rate of inflation.

Meanwhile pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly–the nation’s largest insulin producer–continue to reap billions of dollars in revenue. In just 2018 alone, Eli Lilly brought in $9 billion in revenue from their diabetes medications. Rather than take action to stop this assault on patients, President Trump has rewarded bad behavior by giving big Pharma billions in tax breaks.  Eli Lilly paid $0 in federal taxes in 2018 thanks to Trump’s 2017 tax law.

When high prices force patients to ration their medicine, the consequences are clear: their conditions worsen, and some even pay with their lives. Here in Wisconsin, according to a statewide survey by the Healthcare Value Hub and Citizen Action of Wisconsin, 18% of respondents had not filled a prescription in the last year because of excessive prices.

Instead of holding the drug corporations accountable, President Trump keeps promising to lower drug prices while proposing tweaks and half-measures that protect the drug corporations’ power to set and keep prices high. And now, according to The Intercept, Trump is using his power to make sure Big Pharma will have a monopoly on the Covid-19 vaccine once it is developed with our public research dollars, yet another massive corporate giveaway. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) fought to put price controls in coronavirus relief legislation, but it was stripped by Trump’s team and GOP legislators, meaning Big Pharma will be able to charge whatever they want. This is not a surprise, as Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is a former Pharma lobbyist, as are two members of his Coronavirus Taskforce.

This means that when a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, the U.S. will likely be the only country without any price limits on the life saving medication. The Intercept also reports in a separate article that Wall Street lobbyists are actively pushing Pharma executives and other health care industry leaders to jack up their prices to wring more profits out of the unprecedented national health crisis we are now facing. This gives the attentive public a rare glimpse into the role Wall Street plays in pushing Pharma and other big corporations to extract windfall profits out of the American people in every sector of the U.S. economy. For them, no level of profit is enough, they always demand more, no matter what the consequences to average people.

This brings me back to what local governments can do. I want to be clear that the problem of runaway prescription drug prices is caused by the federal government, and the ultimate solution must be found there by electing a new crop of leaders that will shift the balance of power away from profit-hungry corporations and towards the people. But there is an interesting policy tool local governments can use to get the lower prescription drug prices negotiated by other advanced industrial countries. These prices are also too high, but they can be up to 80% lower than the prices in the U.S., where Axios reports that Big Pharma makes 63% of its profits.

According to Kaiser Health News and NPR, over 500 U.S. cities and counties are already making it possible for their employees to buy brand name FDA approved drugs from Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. These drugs often come in the same packages as the Big Pharma drugs sold in the U.S. The employee ordering the medications has to have a valid prescription from a local doctor, so it works just like it would with a local pharmacy. Although the federal government, at the behest of Big Pharma lobbyists, bans these governments or other large scale buyers from purchasing directly from overseas, this course of action is legal because the local governments work through middlemen located in Canada, with whom employees deal directly. The cities and counties are merely enabling a transaction that is legal in the U.S., the importation of small amounts of prescription drugs for personal use. The savings are substantial, as the drugs cost as much as 80% less than in the United States! The Trump Administration has tried to deter the practices, but more and more local governments are signing up, many of them in red states.

Now you may be asking, it’s great that local governments are saving money for public employees, but what does that do for other residents? Well here at Citizen Action of Wisconsin we wondered why a city or county could not enable the same benefit for all of their residents. We called the largest middleman firm that provides these services, and a representative told us that it could work, but no local government has asked the question!

Already one of the two finalists for Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Larson, is campaigning on making it possible for both county employees and local residents to import prescription drugs from Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. (Note, Citizen Action of Wisconsin has endorsed Larson in this race).

As I said the ultimate solution to Pharma price gouging is at the national level, and requires fundamental structural reform of the system, but in the meantime smart and innovative local officials can at least take advantage of the negotiations other advanced industrial economies do with Big Pharma to lower prescription drug prices. This could mean great relief in the short term for diabetics and others with chronic conditions, and for all of us when the COVID-19 vaccine finally becomes available next year.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 20th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 20th

Friday, March 20th

Emergency Powers Give Wisconsin Authority to use BadgerCare to Fight Coronavirus

Federal Emergency Declaration opens new avenues to guarantee everyone is tested and treated without cost sharing, fully covering all uninsured Wisconsinites

Under pressure from a number of states seeking to stem the alarming speed of novel coronavirus transmission, the federal government late last week issued emergency regulations that would allow Wisconsin to use BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone in Wisconsin has health coverage during the pandemic. This would dramatically improve Wisconsin’s odds for slowing the coming pandemic by removing a major barrier to seeking testing and treatment. The federal government took similar steps during the H1N1 epidemic and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

If Wisconsin acts boldly and swiftly, this federal declaration gives the Wisconsin state government new power to slow the speed of the pandemic, and potentially save tens of thousands of lives. According to public health experts, one of the most critical things we can do to protect both the afflicted and the general public is to maximize the number of people with symptoms who immediately seek testing and treatment. COVID-19 is so contagious that delays in seeking medical care can lead to the infection of thousands of additional people. After we have tested and treated everyone with symptoms, and the federal government has addressed the shortage of testing kits, it is essential to test and treat community wide, because the disease is spread by seemingly healthy people without symptoms.

The fear of financially crippling health care bills in the profit-centered American health care system is a grave risk not only to affected individuals and their families but the entire community because it actually discourages people from seeking medical care.

The Coronavirus Relief Act passed by Congress this week guarantees free testing for COVID 19, which is a critical step forward, but is silent on the cost of any treatment for that disease or any other underlying illnesses discovered by testing. Without free treatment, many will be deterred from seeking medical help – especially people who lack health coverage, a rapidly expanding group in an economy experiencing mass layoffs!

A survey of 1,000 Wisconsinites in every corner of the state released last week by Citizen Action, in partnership with the Health Value Hub and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that nearly half of Wisconsinites have gone without needed medical care because of fear of the cost in the last year! This dangerous situation will be intensified by the large number of people losing their income during the pandemic. The affordability crisis in the American healthcare system is dangerous in normal times; during a pandemic, it is a deadly threat to the health of everyone in Wisconsin!

A preliminary analysis of the new emergency rules by Citizen Action of Wisconsin has identified two major steps Wisconsin can take to use BadgerCare to contain COVID-19. We also propose a third vital step that Wisconsin can take to make sure those who have private health insurance will not be deterred from seeking treatment due to unaffordable copays and deductibles associated with even the best American health insurance plans. Many of these proposals are already being pursued by other states. (The Evers Administration may be developing plans internally that are not yet public which include some of these proposals.)

Step 1: Wisconsin has the authority to propose waivers to the federal government, which can be approved within days of submission. These waivers can make it much easier to enroll in BadgerCare and to retain it, including online and phone enrollment, extension of renewal deadlines, suspension of cancellations, and elimination of barriers such as premiums, copays, work requirements, and many other administrative hurdles.

Critically, Wisconsin could adopt a “presumptive eligibility” policy that allows medical providers, enrollment staff, schools, and community health centers to enroll people in BadgerCare without any income test if they appear eligible. This is especially helpful in an environment where there are mass layoffs and it would be time consuming to confirm that a family was eligible when unemployment insurance claims are likely to overwhelm the state’s processing capacity. The Coronavirus Relief Act which passed Congress this week increases the federal share of Medicaid costs in Wisconsin to 65.5%, offsetting part of the state cost for expanding BadgerCare enrollment.

Step 2: Wisconsin should immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized and funded by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Without ACA Medicaid Expansion, “presumptive eligibility” will not work for many adults who do not fit into specific Medicaid eligible categories and are (or appear to be) above the federal poverty line. In addition, as Wisconsin is losing $340 million in the current state budget because it turned down the ACA Medicaid expansion funding, this revenue could immediately be deployed in the fight to contain COVID-19. Accepting Medicaid Expansion would allow Wisconsin to use presumptive eligibility to get the state close to universal health coverage and to reassure the public that cost should not deter them from seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment. It would also defray some and perhaps all of the state’s costs for increased enrollment resulting from all of the emergency measures we propose.

Step 3: The massive level of cost sharing in most private health insurance plans also deters people from seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment, endangering public health. Our recent statewide survey showed that almost half of respondents had avoided medical treatment and services in the last year, and most of them had health insurance coverage. A number of states already mandated that health insurance plans cover COVID-19 testing and treatment with no consumer cost sharing. So far, Wisconsin has only recommended that insurers suspend copays and deductibles. It would be prudent for Wisconsin to actually ban cost sharing as a danger to public health. If this creates too much of a burden on health insurance and self-insured plans, Wisconsin could also outlaw hospital price gouging by requiring them to accept Medicare rates for all treatment that results from a COVID-19 test. There is no justification for hospitals and medical providers to charge unreasonable prices for their services during this state and national emergency.

“We need bold leadership now more than ever. This unprecedented public health emergency focuses our attention on the reality that we are all interconnected, and that leaving people out of our healthcare system risks the lives of everyone in the community,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites who could otherwise have avoided infection may be needlessly put at risk if we don’t come together to assure that no one in Wisconsin delays or avoids treatment because they can’t afford the high cost of healthcare.”

Vote Absentee for April 7th Election!

Request an absentee ballot for the April 7th election.

All voters in Wisconsin can request an absentee ballot be mailed to them for any reason.

If you are a regular or a Permanent Overseas Voter, your absentee ballot request must be received by your municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on  April 2, 2020.

If a voter is indefinitely confined, your absentee ballot request must be received by your municipal clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 3, 2020.

Voters can possibly request and vote an absentee ballot in-person in their municipal clerk’s office through April 5, 2020. Some municipal offices may not offer additional in-person absentee hours Please contact your municipal clerk for absentee voting hours. 

It’s easy to request an absentee ballot today!

Watch video showing how to request an absentee ballot on line from your phone.

Follow these simple steps to request YOUR absentee ballot and let’s stay safe this election season! Request your absentee ballot now.

North Central and Central WI Volunteer Opportunities from home!

We need your help to win this April 7th election and then the May 12th special election for Tricia Zunker.

Starting next week, we will have an opportunity for you to help us on a virtual phone bank to help us win in April! We will be helping folks learn how register to vote absentee and promoting Jill Karofsky for Supreme Court.

The NC Organizer, Joel Lewis and two Field Canvassers, Don Dunphy and Melissa Engels-Lewis have been calling folks since last week Thursday, and we’re on the doors before that.

Please call Joel at 715-551-2525  or email him at joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org

Help Citizen Action make April 7th Election calls from home !

We need your help making calls form home.  All door canvassing has stopped but the election is still going forward.

Contact a regional co-op organizer to get involved:

Northeast Co-op: noah.reif@citizenacitonwi.org
Northwestern Co-op: breana.stanley@citizenactionwi.org
Driftless Co-op: ben.wilson@citizenactionwi.org
Southeastern Co-op: trevonna.sims@citizenactionwi.org
Healthcare for all Co-op: karen.kirsch@citizenactionwi.org

Wisconsin Republicans oppose COVID-19 relief” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Practicing social distancing, our panel joins us this week from separate locations. We discuss the rapidly evolving Covid-19 virus pandemic and the political response. We call out Sen. Ron Johnson and 4 Wisconsin Republicans Congressmen for voting against the bipartisan coronavirus recovery bill over their opposition to paid sick days for workers. We also dig into the impact the pandemic is having on the April 7th election. Should the elections be postponed?

We encourage everyone to request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.gov. The panel closes with a discussion of a Wisconsin Public Radio story on how the major Democratic candidates for president have run to the left of Gov. Tony Evers and State Legislative Democrats.

Listen Now – Episode #434
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Facebook post of the week

 

Wisconsin Republicans oppose COVID-19 relief” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Wisconsin Republicans oppose COVID-19 relief” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Practicing social distancing, our panel joins us this week from separate locations. We discuss the rapidly evolving Covid-19 virus pandemic and the political response. We call out Sen. Ron Johnson and 4 Wisconsin Republicans Congressmen for voting against the bipartisan coronavirus recovery bill over their opposition to paid sick days for workers. We also dig into the impact the pandemic is having on the April 7th election. Should the elections be postponed? We encourage everyone to request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.gov. The panel closes with a discussion of a Wisconsin Public Radio story on how the major Democratic candidates for president have run to the left of Gov. Tony Evers and State Legislative Democrats.
Listen Now – Episode #434
Download MP3
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Links:

Battleground WI Podcast studio goes home.

Congress clears 2nd major coronavirus package; 3rd in the works
Sen. Ron Johnson was one of only eight votes against the bipartisan measure.
State not yet sure how many ventilators and ICU beds will be available.
Possible coronavirus treatment could be in clinical trials within weeks, using plasma from recovered patients, if doctors get FDA approval.
Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson one of eight senators voting no on coronavirus package.
Sen. Ron Johnson is telling people to keep coronavirus in perspective.
Amid pandemic, Democrats sue to ease absentee voting rules in Wisconsin.
Coronavirus: Amid Fears, Wisconsin’s April Election Stays Put.

Citizen Action Weekly, Friday, March 13th

Citizen Action Weekly, Friday, March 13th

Friday, March 13th

Vote Absentee for April 7th Election!

Get more information about voting absentee for the April 7th election.

Health Care Value Survey Shows Wisconsinites Concerned About Affordability and Quality of Care

Nationally, consumer worry about health care affordability is well documented but now—for the first time—a new survey reveals how affordability concerns and ideas for action play out in Wisconsin. Altarum Healthcare Value Hub, a national nonpartisan research organization supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in partnership with Citizen Action of Wisconsin, administered a Consumer Healthcare Experience State Survey (CHESS) in Wisconsin.

The survey of more than 1,000 Wisconsin adults was conducted from October 29, 2019 to November 6, 2019.

Among its results, the Survey found that:

  • More than half (53%) experienced healthcare affordability burdens in the past year.
  • Four out of five (79%) are worried about affording healthcare in the future.
  • Nearly half (47%) of people who needed health care during the year encountered one or more cost barriers to getting care, including skipped needed dental care (31%), delayed going to the doctor or receiving a procedure (27%), and did not fill a prescription (18%).
  • Health care was listed as a top issue that the government should address in the upcoming year by 73% of respondents. The next most frequently cited issue was the economy, selected by only 43% of respondents.
  • Across party lines, they expressed strong support for government-led solutions.

This devastating new report on the state of health care affordability in Wisconsin should be a wake-up call to Wisconsin lawmakers, who in the current legislative session devoted virtually no attention to addressing the skyrocketing cost of medical services, medications, and health insurance. The extensive opinion research that serves as the basis for this report is the first deep dive in many years into the lived experience of Wisconsinites in coping with our health care system.

It establishes beyond all doubt that there is an affordability crisis in every region of the state is reaching a breaking point, and demands bold and immediate action from state government. There are many critical data points in this report, which should be must-reading for all state policymakers.

The top two findings that jump out for me the most are the stunning findings that nearly half of all Wisconsinites have gone without care or medications because they could afford it, and that health care affordability is by far the top public issue, easily beating the economy and taxes.”

Read media story on study

Below are links to Data Briefs with statewide and regional survey results.

Cancelled Events due to Cornavirus!

  • Vote Yes for MPS Referendum Canvassing and phone banking is cancelled.
  • Day of Action on March 17th to protect the Affordable Care Act is cancelled.
    The March 17th, Protect Our Care’s national bus tour in La Crosse Wisconsin is CANCELLED.
  • 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in Eau Claire on Wednesday, March 18th is cancelled.
  • Vernon Electric Co-op’s annual meeting March 21st to show support and learn more about the On Bill financing programs is CANCELLED.
  • Addressing Climate and Equity through our Food System in Milwaukee is cancelled.
    This Week’s discussion about addressing climate and equity in our food systems is cancelled due to Coronavirus. This would have been the second discussion from a series of forums on Milwaukee’s Green New Deal. We will keep everyone updated once we have a new date and time rescheduled.

The Choice for Wisconsin Supreme Court is Clear! Vote for Jill Karofsky on Tuesday, April 7th.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin members join media conference with La Crosse Mayor Kabat’s on clean energy toolkit

On Tuesday March 7th Citizen Action of Wisconsin members joined La Crosse’s mayor Tim Kabat, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and RENEW Wisconsin to announce the rollout of a brand new tool kit designed to help Wisconsin resident reduce their carbon emissions.  This tool kit is the culmination of a year’s worth of work to build a plan to fight climate change.

Nick Nichols, the retired sustainability coordinator for La Crosse County, said switching to cleaner energy sources could bring 160,000 new jobs to the state. Nichols added that Wisconsin spends about $14 billion a year importing energy resources from other places, and argues that using cleaner energy will save money. “We’re not doing this because it’s nice and warm and fuzzy, and we’re all a bunch of tree-huggers,” Nichols said.

La Crosse is taking big steps toward becoming carbon free in its energy use by 2050, according to Mayor Tim Kabat. The mayor said efforts by city departments to use cleaner energy sources has dropped City Hall’s carbon footprint by 30 percent in just 11 years. Kabat added that plans are in the works to install solar panels at City Hall, the La Crosse Center and the Main Street Library.

Vote in Citizen Action’s Presidential Primary Survey

Voting Closes Sunday, March 15th, Midnight.

The Wisconsin Presidential Primary is just around the corner on Tuesday, April 7th! We want to know what our members think about the presidential primary election. Therefore, we are conducting a short survey of our members regarding the 2020 Presidential Primary.

The survey asks (1) whether Citizen Action should endorse in the Presidential Primary and (2) if so, who would be your top choice?

Please take the survey today

Citizen Action of Wisconsin members speak about women’s right and healthcare at La Crosse rally

Several local Citizen Action of Wisconsin members were on hand to protest Mike Pence’s planned visit to La Crosse on Thursday March 5th.  This rally and press event was hosted by our friends at the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is committed to standing up FOR something rather than just being AGAINST the Trump administration.  That is why our members spoke about women’s rights and the need to protect our healthcare. Citizen Action of Wisconsin member (and Women’s March organizer) K.C. Cayo was one of the featured speakers.

We want to thank everyone who was able to make it to the event.  Thank you for using your voice and your power to protect healthcare and women’s rights!  Stay tuned for future mobilization efforts and days of action across the Driftless region.

Updates From Your North Central Organizing Co-op

The Chair for the NC Organizing Co-op, Don Dunphy is a member of the First Universalist Unitarian Church in Wausau. He is also a member of the League of Women Voters. Through the social justice committee for his Church, our Co-op’s Steering Committee, and in cooperation with the LWV, he organized voter registration tables at Nicolet Technical College (Rhinelander), Northcentral Technical College (Wausau), and UWSP – Wausau on 10/10, 10/11, and 10/12 from 10 am to 2 pm.

Several Co-op members, as well as members of the LWV and Don’s Church ran the tables. Don floated between locations to ensure that they ran smoothly. They had a very positive response. A couple of weeks back, Don Dunphy and Melissa Engels-Lewis were hired on as canvassers to do Deep Canvasses, in the Wausau and Stevens Point areas. After checking in on tables, Melissa and Don went out together, with Don’s partner, Ruthann driving, and knocked doors.

NC Co-op members participated in Fair Maps Wisconsin Leadership Development Training and a WIld Training

“COVID-19 Pandemic” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Our panel discuses of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency by Governor Evers, cancelled in person classes at many universities, and resulted in the suspension of the NBA season. We focus on the dysfunctional response from the Trump Administration to the outbreak, including the lack of testing, its cost to patients, and the president’s error riddle and xenophobic speech to the nation. We welcome Lynn Quincy, director of the Healthcare Value Hub, to talk about a new study conducted in partnership with Citizen Action that shows a majority of Wisconsinites across party lines are concerned about the high cost of healthcare. avoid needed care due to cost, and support fundamental reform. We discuss the latest news in the Democratic presidential primary after another big week for Joe Biden and yet another attempt to purge Wisconsin’s voter roles by the right.

LISTEN NOW!
Download MP3
Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

“COVID-19 Pandemic” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“COVID-19 Pandemic” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Our panel discuses of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency by Governor Evers, cancelled in person classes at many universities, and resulted in the suspension of the NBA season. We focus on the dysfunctional response from the Trump Administration to the outbreak, including the lack of testing, its cost to patients, and the president’s error riddle and xenophobic speech to the nation. We welcome Lynn Quincy, director of the Healthcare Value Hub, to talk about a new study conducted in partnership with Citizen Action that shows a majority of Wisconsinites across party lines are concerned about the high cost of healthcare. avoid needed care due to cost, and support fundamental reform. We discuss the latest news in the Democratic presidential primary after another big week for Joe Biden and yet another attempt to purge Wisconsin’s voter roles by the right.

LISTEN NOW!
Download MP3
Press Clips

Links:
Trump Suspends All Travel From Europe For 30 Days To Combat COVID-19.
Americans snap to attention on virus as big events canceled.
Sporting events face alterations as coronavirus spreads, and Wisconsin athletes are already being impacted.
Up to 150 million Americans are expected to contract the coronavirus, congressional doctor says.
Wisconsinites favor ‘big, structural change’ to health care, survey shows. Worries about rising costs, and support for government action, cuts across party lines.
Health Care Value Survey Shows Wisconsinites Concerned About Affordability and Quality of Care.
Wisconsin Voter Purge Case Appealed To State Supreme Court.

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 6th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 6th

Friday, March 6th

Vote in NEW Citizen Action’s Presidential Primary Survey

The Wisconsin Presidential Primary is just around the corner on Tuesday, April 7th! We want to know what our members think about the presidential primary election. Therefore, we are conducting a short survey of our members regarding the 2020 Presidential Primary.

The survey asks (1) whether Citizen Action should endorse in the Presidential Primary and (2) if so, who would be your top choice?

Please take the survey today

Welcome Trevonna Sims, new Citizen Action Southeast WI Co-op Organizer.

Trevonna was born and raised on Milwaukee’s Northside. Growing up, Trevonna always dreamed of becoming a teacher with hopes to better her community but quickly realized that a better community starts with better policies.

Trevonna believes there is a lot of reformation and dismantling to be done with our local politics before she can fulfill her dreams as a Community Based Educator. She started her non-profit career working with leadership focused nonprofits such as Girl Scouts of Southeast Wisconsin as a Public Ally. She has also worked for many local progressive campaigns endorsed by Citizen Action.

Trevonna has an associate degree in Community Engagement from Milwaukee Area Technical College and is finishing her Bachelor’s at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She brings experience great knowledge and history of the Milwaukee community and community organizing skills. She hopes to bring accessible green living, universal healthcare, quality education and diverse jobs for all. During her free time, Trevonna loves visiting new restaurants, hanging with friends and family, and working out.

Contact Trevonna Sims: trevonna.sims@citizenactionwi.org

U.S. Supreme Court Threatening Health Care of Millions

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

This week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case being pushed by the Trump Administration that could take health care away from millions of people in America. The court will take oral arguments in October, and likely rule in early 2021, on a case that seeks to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). The timing cynically capitulates to the Trump Administration’s politically-motivated request to move until after the 2020 election what would be one of the most unpopular decisions in American history.

In December, a Republican dominated Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in favor of the Trump administration in Texas vs. United States, striking down the ACA’s individual mandate. President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr are using the case as a vehicle for invalidating the entire ACA, including the popular protections against pre-existing condition discrimination.

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. Senate Bill 37, sponsored by Sen. Jon Erpenbach, is a huge step in this direction. Citizen Action is also urging lawmakers to create a plan, triggered by an adverse court decision striking down the ACA, to replace marketplace plans for people who buy insurance on their own and the federal subsidies that make them more affordable.

“The nullification of the ACA by right-wing judges is a predictable human-made disaster that would wreak 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 discrimination and other insurance industry abuses in state law, and beyond the reach of activist federal judges.”

Milwaukee City/County Task Force on Climate and Equity Nears Preliminary Report Release

The Milwaukee City-County Task Force on Climate & Equity met at Milwaukee City Hall on Thursday to plan the final drafting of its preliminary report. The task force is charged with developing a comprehensive plan for Milwaukee to both meet the UN greenhouse emissions reduction targets, and dramatically improve racial economic equity.

The critical task force includes two Citizen Action co-op members (Janet Meissner Pritchard and Ted Kraig) and Citizen Action Climate & Equity Director Rafael Smith. It also includes on the task force and on work groups key Citizen Action partners such as Sierra Club, 350.org, Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Clean Wisconsin, NAACP, Wisconsin Climate Table, and Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. Citizen Action co-op leaders and staff played a major role in developing the entire process.

The preliminary report, which was requested by Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamiltion, is designed to inform voters of the progress of the planning ahead of the April elections. The task force is expected to release a full final report by the end of 2020.

Healthcare story collection event in La Crosse, March 7th, 11:30am

Whether you are black, white, Asian American or Native American we all have had issues with healthcare in America.  Have you ever faced unexpected healthcare bills? Have you ever skipped going to the doctor when you should have gone because of the cost?  Have you ever lost your health insurance? Have you or a loved one ever skipped filling a prescription due to the high cost? Is your health insurance basically useless due to the high cost of copays or deductibles? Do you have loved ones who don’t have any health insurance? The story of your experience in the current American healthcare system has power to create real change!

Citizen Action believes that healthcare should be a human right and we are mobilizing our members to take action to expand that right to everyone! Your story can have a huge impact and help to expand healthcare! Join us on at 11:30 AM March 7th at the Southside La Crosse Public Library to learn how to tell your healthcare story. We will be collecting stories to be used across social media and in lobbying efforts. John Havlicek from the La Crosse teacher’s union will be on hand to teach everyone the power of their stories and how those stories can create a better tomorrow! Everyone will be able to record a video telling their own personal story.

This event is open to the public so please invite friends and family who care about expanding healthcare across Wisconsin and across America!  Please RSVP for this event here.

Canvass for Milwaukee Public Schools Referendum, Saturday, March 7th

Vote Yes for MPS coalition, which includes Citizen Action of Wisconsin, is canvassing in support of the April 7th referendum this Saturday, March 7th, 10am – 1pm & Noon – 3pm.

Canvassers can meet at:

  • MTEA office, 5130 W. VlietSt.
  • Bay View Community Center, 1320 E Oklahoma Ave.
  • Peace Action Wisconsin, 1001 E Keefe Ave.

RSVP here

Get a Yes for MPS yard sign
Thanks to a large donation all yard signs are now FREE
We have signs you can pick up at Citizen Action’s office, 221 S. 2nd ST. #300

Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin at Vernon Electric Co-op’s annual meeting March 21st to show support and learn more about the On Bill financing programs they will be offering.

We encourage all Citizen Action of Wisconsin members, regardless of their utility to attend the Vernon Electric Co-op annual meeting on March 21st. We want to have a huge showing to send a message to Vernon and other area utilities that fighting climate change is important to us!

A free breakfast will be offered starting at 8:00 AM and the meeting begins at 10:00 AM. The address is 110 Saugstad Rd in Westby WI. We will be looking for a few Citizen Action members who get their power from Vernon Electric Co-op to speak at the meeting.  

Please RSVP for this event here.

We will be handing out Citizen Action of Wisconsin buttons or stickers so that we can be extra visible and everyone can see that we represent a true movement fighting the climate crisis.  Make sure to see Ben Wilson before the meeting starts to get yours!

Coffee with the Northeast Co-op, Saturday, March 14th, Appleton

Floral Cafe, 474 N. Eisenhower Dr. Suite K, Appleton, 10am – Noon

Spend your Saturday morning with Citizen Action and learn what you can do to make a difference in 2020! Whether your passion is healthcare reform, combating climate change, or anything and everything progressive, there is a place for you and your ideas.

Afterwards, we will be launching our first canvass in 2020! This is a great opportunity to take the energy from our conversations, and put them into practice.

We will be joined by co-op member Emily Voight, who is running for the State Assembly in District 3. She will discuss her vision for our community and how she plans to co-govern with her constituents. We hope you will join us for a morning of coffee and conversation!

Facebook RSVP

Volunteer for Tricia Zunker for Congress in Wausau!

Starting Saturday, March 21st
Marathon County Party Office, 833 S 3rd Ave, Wausau
Starting at 9:00AM

Volunteer to help Citizen Action Co-op member Tricia Zunker in Wausau! Volunteer to knock doors and talk to prospective voters about the Spring April 7th local elections and Tricia’s Tuesday, May 12th Congressional election!

Sign up and RSVP Today to canvass for Tricia Zunker!

Saturday, March 21
Sunday, March 22
Saturday, March 28
Sunday, April 3
Saturday, April 4
Sunday, April 5
Monday, April 6
Tuesday, April 7

DONATE to Tricia Zunker’s campaign.
Watch a video featuring Tricia Zunker.
LIKE Tricia’s campaign facebook page

Email campaign@triciaforwisconsin.com to help out!

Northcentral Co-op Voter Registration Drive on Campus’

Join Don Dunphy and Joel Lewis for 3 voter registration events Tuesday, March 10th, Wednesday, March 11th and Thursday, March 12th from 10 am to 2 pm at three locations. 1. UW-Stevens Point – Wausau Campus, 2. NTC – Wausau Campus, and 3. Nicolet Technical College – Rhinelander Campus.

Join us. For more details contact:

Don Dunphy
715-536-1336
dondunphy@hotmail.com

Joel Lewis
715-551-2525
joel.lewis@citizenactionwi.org

Dairyland Forum & Rally for Rural Wisconsin, Sunday, March 29th

Wisconsin Farmers Union and Citizen Action of WI  invite you to a presidential candidate forum to discuss the issues that matter to family farmers and rural America. The Dairyland Forum, a presidential candidate forum and party is happening Sunday, March 29th at the Dunn County Fairgrounds.

This is a free event!

The forum will provide an opportunity for presidential candidates to engage Wisconsin’s rural voters on the topics that matter to them, including:

  • Monopolization in agriculture.
  • A plan for preventing further loss of family farms and the decline of rural and tribal food systems
  • How their rural and agriculture policies would address issues like education, roads and transportation, access to health care and the growing mental health and addiction issues in our rural communities
  • A vision a fair and just rural economy that helps all people thrive

Stay after the forum & rally for live music and a celebration of Wisconsin’s local fare, including local craft beers, cheese, brats and more. Bus routes are being planned from the Superior, Madison, and Appleton areas. Details coming soon!

To save your spot at the forum, RSVP today at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/dairylandforum

Super Tuesday Political Earthquake? Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

The panel digs into the repercussions of the Super Tuesday primaries, and the dramatic thinning of the Democratic primary field down to two major candidates. What are the implications? We also discuss yet another right-wing threat to health care coverage for millions, the implication of Covid-19 for caregivers, two Wisconsin State Supreme Court scandals, and media stories indicating that a “culture of racism” may have played some role in the mass shooting at Miller-Coors factory in Milwaukee.

Listen Now – Episode #432
Download MP3
Media Clips
3-5-20 – The Earl Ingram Show (with Reggie Moore) 

Facebook post of the week

Bill Kaplan: Coronavirus, candor and competence

Click image to LISTEN to Battleground WI Podcast discussion of the coronavirus.

Amid the world-wide spread of the coronavirus and steep plunge of the U.S. stock market and global indices, Trump announced his plan to respond to the deadly virus. Trump struck a self-congratulatory tone: “We’ve had tremendous success … beyond what many people would’ve thought”. Trump falsely emphasized that the threat to Americans is “very low”. He also stated, with no evidence, that the virus would magically vanish in April and that a vaccine is imminent. Trump put Pence, with no background in public health, in charge. Pence is best known for delaying containment of an Indiana drug use-related HIV outbreak by initially refusing to authorize a needle exchange program.

No one was reassured. The U.S. stock market continued to plunge — the worst week since the 2008 Great Recession. Meanwhile, U.S. coronavirus cases not linked to travel abroad, are emerging, with one fatality. “At a moment that demands sobriety and honesty, Trump is a leader prone to hyperbole and falsehoods. As the financial markets crave order and clarity,Trump has a penchant for creating chaos and confusion. And, at a time when expertise is paramount, Trump has hollowed out (relevant) government agencies… ” (Washington Post).

Before the coronavirus, Trump dismantled public health protections. In 2018, the pandemic response teams at the White House National Security Council and Department of Homeland Security were dismissed. And, for years Trump has tried to cut “global disease-fighting budgets” (Foreign Policy). Moreover, Trump’s recent budget would sharply reduce funding for the CDC by 16 percent, the National Institutes of Health by $3 billion and eviscerate global health programs. Meanwhile, local and state public health agencies, including in Wisconsin, are underfunded and inadequately staffed. But with markets falling and the coronavirus spreading, Trump and his cronies look for scapegoats. Trump denounced criticism, saying it was a “new hoax”. Rush Limbaugh downplayed coronavirus, calling it the “common cold”. And, Arkansas GOP Senator Tom Cotton falsely claimed it might be a Chinese bioweapon.

However, some Republicans in Congress are warning Trump to take coronavirus seriously (Senators Shelby (AL), Kennedy (LA), and Romney (UT). On February 12, Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, to his credit, chaired a hearing by the Senate Homeland Security Committee on coronavirus. Johnson asked the expert health witnesses “what more the federal government could be doing to combat the outbreak of global infectious diseases … .” However, Johnson acquiesced in allowing Trump administration officials to testify behind closed doors. What were they hiding? Why didn’t Johnson hold their feet to the fire? That’s Johnson’s job.

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin has been forthright: “The emergency request (by Trump for funding) does not seek the sorts of resources that we need to prepare and fight this (coronavirus) pandemic”. She pointed out the cuts to CDC and firing of global health experts by Trump. Enough is enough. With one coronavirus case in Wisconsin and inadequately funded public health, Wisconsin needs more federal funds. It’s going to get worse. Wisconsin shouldn’t pay the price for Trump’s lack of candor and competence.

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, February 28th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, February 28th

Friday, February 28th

Wisconsin’s 2020 Race Class Narrative Project presented this week in Milwaukee by Anat Shenker-Osorio

Citizen Action helped organize a presentation in Milwaukee by nationally renowned communications and messaging Guru Anat Shenker-Osorio to unveil new communications research on race, class and gender in Wisconsin. The event was attended by over 120 individuals, including local elected officials and leaders from a wide variety of progressive organizations in Wisconsin.

The presentation was hosted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, America Votes, Wisconsin Voices, and Movement Voter Project

The day included a powerful conversation about how we can effectively counter racist, sexist, and discriminatory messages and build support for the big changes we so desperately need to achieve our values in Wisconsin and the world.

Awesome Green New Deal Event in Wauwatosa!

Our Citizen Action Climate Issue team held an amazing panel discussion last night at the Wauwatosa Public Library. The topic of the night was moving utilities to renewable energies.

J Drake Hamilton from Fresh Energy in St. Paul, Minnesota spoke about the unique partnership her organization was able to form with the Excel energy utility that has led to movement from carbon based energy to renewable energies.

The Sierra Club presented on the current state of the Clean Energy transition here in Wisconsin. Turnout.

Please join us for our next event:

Climate & Equity through our Food System
Thursday 3/19/20, 6 – 8 pm
First Unitarian Society
1342 N. Astor St., Common Room

Vernon County Electric Co-op announces on-bill rural electric saving programs

Residential carbon emissions are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases. Thanks to the efforts of Citizen Action of Wisconsin members and area activists Vernon County Electric Co-op has announced they will be offering their members on bill financing options to help homeowners upgrade their homes with energy saving upgrades to reduce those residential carbon emissions. These programs will give their customers the chance to outfit their homes with energy saving upgrades such as new insulation, air sealing, new heating/cooling units and other home improvements which will save the homeowner money right away while reducing their residential carbon emissions.

Customers who sign up for these programs will have the upfront costs of these home upgrades paid for by their utility. Customers will then pay off the upgrades, at an extremely low interest rate, on their power bill at a monthly cost lower than the energy saving. Customers will see a net savings on their utility bill right away! We at Citizen Action of Wisconsin believe that these on bill financing programs, along with our Green Homes fellowship program and our statewide, green bank partners, will create a huge reduction in Wisconsin’s residential carbon emissions!

This is huge news and we at Citizen Action of Wisconsin want to celebrate and use this momentum to convince more utilities to join the fight against climate change. Citizen Action will be mobilizing our members (and allies) from across Southwest Wisconsin to attend the annual membership meeting for Vernon Electric Co-op. We hope to show our support and learn more details about the programs the co-op will be rolling out to fight climate change. We also want to find out how we can use this momentum to convince other utilities like XCel Energy to offer similar programs.

Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin at Vernon Electric Co-op’s annual meeting March 21st 

Learn more about On Bill financing programs they will be offering

We encourage all Citizen Action of Wisconsin members (and allies), regardless of their utility to attend the Vernon Electric Co-op annual meeting on March 21st. We want to have a huge showing to send a message to Vernon and other area utilities that fighting climate change is important to us!  A free breakfast will be offered starting at 8:00 AM and the meeting begins at 10:00 AM. The address is 110 Saugstad Rd in Westby WI. We will be looking for a few Citizen Action members who get their power from Vernon Electric Co-op to speak at the meeting.

Please RSVP for this event here.

We will be handing out Citizen Action of Wisconsin buttons or stickers so that we can be extra visible and everyone can see that we represent a true movement fighting the climate crisis.  Make sure to see Ben Wilson before the meeting starts to get yours!

Canvass for Milwaukee Public Schools Referendum, Saturday, February 29th

Vote Yes for MPS coalition, which includes Citizen Action of Wisconsin, is canvassing in support of the April 7th referendum this Saturday, February 29th, 10am – 1pm & Noon – 3pm.
Canvassers can meet at:

  • MTEA office, 5130 W. VlietSt.
  • Bay View Community Center, 1320 E Oklahoma Ave.
  • Peace Action Wisconsin, 1001 E Keefe Ave.

RSVP here
Get a Yes for MPS yard sign
We have signs in Citizen Action’s office, 221 S. 2nd ST. #300

Help Citizen Action of Wisconsin design a campaign to help people move their money away from polluters 

We all know that in today’s world we all vote with our dollar. How we spend our money everyday impacts the decisions made by American corporations that have a huge impact on our lives. Citizen Action of Wisconsin wants to help everyone start using their spending power to let polluters know that we demand action to save our environment and fight climate change!

Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s organizing director Kevin Kane is designing a campaign to help people move their money from polluters. Kevin would like your help designing this campaign. Please take a moment and use this link to schedule a 30 minute phone call with Kevin. 

By voting with our dollars we can hit polluters where it hurts and let them know that we demand action to save our planet for future generations!

Healthcare Co-op Consumer Protection Team

The Healthcare Co-op Consumer Protection team is now having a regular virtual meeting every other Monday night at 7PM. Be on the ground floor of planning around surprise billing and preventative care vs. diagnostic care scams. It’s easy to get involved, just call in.

Contact karen.kirsch@citizenactionorg.com

Progresstival is Saturday, Feb 29th in La Crosse and Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be there!

Progressitival is the largest gathering of progressive organizations and groups in the Coulee Region.  This year’s event is going to be huge with twenty different groups talking to progressive activists and getting everyone ready for the most important election year of our lives!  Special guest Elizabeth Ward, the executive director of the John Muir chapter of the Sierra Club in the will be the keynote speaker this year.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be on hand to talk to people about how they can get involved in our “Green Homes, Good Jobs” campaign to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on utility bills.  We will also be leading a workshop called “Organizing for Action.”

Healthcare story collection event in La Crosse, March 7th

Whether you are black, white, Asian American or Native American we all have had issues with healthcare in America.  Have you ever faced unexpected healthcare bills? Have you ever skipped going to the doctor when you should have gone because of the cost?  Have you ever lost your health insurance? Have you or a loved one ever skipped filling a prescription due to the high cost? Is your health insurance basically useless due to the high cost of copays or deductibles? Do you have loved ones who don’t have any health insurance? The story of your experience in the current American healthcare system has power to create real change!

Citizen Action believes that healthcare should be a human right and we are mobilizing our members to take action to expand that right to everyone! Your story can have a huge impact and help to expand healthcare! Join us on at 12:30 PM March 7th at the Southside La Crosse Public Library to learn how to tell your healthcare story. We will be collecting stories to be used across social media and in lobbying efforts. John Havlicek from the La Crosse teacher’s union will be on hand to teach everyone the power of their stories and how those stories can create a better tomorrow! Everyone will be able to record a video telling their own personal story.

This event is open to the public so please invite friends and family who care about expanding healthcare across Wisconsin and across America!  Please RSVP for this event here.

Movie Night in Eau Claire: Suppressed: The Right To Vote

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 6 PM – 7:30 PM

Join us for the film showing and a community discussion to learn about the ways a person’s right to vote could be (and is in some cases) SUPPRESSED, and how you can get involved.

This movie night is a collaboration with JONAH, Citizen Action Northwest Co-op, NextGen, Conservation Voters, Chippewa Valley Votes, and EXPO.

First Presbyterian Church of Eau Claire
2112 Rudolph Rd, Eau Claire

Dairyland Forum & Rally for Rural Wisconsin, Sunday, March 29th

Wisconsin Farmers Union and Citizen Action invite to a presidential candidate forum to discuss the issues that matter to family farmers and rural America at the Dairyland Forum, a presidential candidate forum and party happening Sunday, March 29th at the Dunn County Fairgrounds.

This is a free event

The forum will provide an opportunity for presidential candidates to engage Wisconsin’s rural voters on the topics that matter to them, including:

  •  Monopolization in agriculture.
  • A plan for preventing further loss of family farms and the decline of rural and tribal food systems
  • How their rural and agriculture policies would address issues like education, roads and transportation, access to health care and the growing mental health and addiction issues in our rural communities
  • A vision a fair and just rural economy that helps all people thrive

Stay after the forum & rally for live music and a celebration of Wisconsin’s local fare, including local craft beers, cheese, brats and more. Bus routes are being planned from the Superior, Madison, and Appleton areas. Details coming soon!

To save your spot at the forum, RSVP today at www.wisconsinfarmersunion.com/dairylandforum

“Coronavirus” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the implications of the coronavirus in America and the role of the pharmaceutical industry and Trump Administration in making the threat worse. We review the South Carolina Democratic presidential candidate debate and look at the latest Wisconsin polling. Is Bernie pulling away? The panel closes by talking about a new report from the Center for American Progress which blamed gerrymandering for the failure of the State Legislature to opt into BadgerCare Expansion.

LISTEN NOW
Download MP3
Citizen Action Media Clips

Facebook post of the week

“Coronavirus” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Coronavirus” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the implications of the coronavirus in America and the role of the pharmaceutical industry and Trump Administration in making the threat worse. We review the South Carolina Democratic presidential candidate debate and look at the latest Wisconsin polling. Is Bernie pulling away? The panel closes by talking about a new report from the Center for American Progress which blamed gerrymandering for the failure of the State Legislature to opt into BadgerCare Expansion.
LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #431
Download MP3
Press Clips

Links:
CDC official warns Americans it’s not a question of if coronavirus will spread, but when.
‘Hearing my name mentioned a little bit’: Sanders plays defense and other moments from the South Carolina Democratic debate.
Frontrunner Bernie Sanders takes brunt of attacks during Democratic debate ahead of South Carolina primary.
Democratic voters who watched Tuesday night’s debate said national front-runner Bernie Sanders impressed them the most of any candidate, followed closely by Joe Biden and then Elizabeth Warren.
Bernie Sanders surges to the lead among Wisconsin Democratic voters in new statewide poll.
Those who sat out 2016 back Democrats for president by 2-to-1 margin.
Report blames gerrymandering for blocking Medicaid expansion.