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
Download MP3

Press Clips

Facebook post of the week

 

Emergency Powers Give Wisconsin Authority to use BadgerCare to Fight Coronavirus

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

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

Statewide: 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.”

###

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
Press Clips

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.

Ron Johnson’s Opposition to Paid Sick Days Threatens to Delay or Weaken Coronavirus Response

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

Ron Johnson’s Opposition to Paid Sick Days Threatens to Delay or Weaken Coronavirus Response

Statewide: Over the weekend Senator Ron Johnson’s made national headlines for his vocal opposition to sick leave provisions in the Coronavirus Relief Bill which passed the U.S. House of Representatives Friday with the full support of the Trump Administration. The bill is so essential to public health during this unprecedented global emergency, it passed on Friday on a bipartisan basis by an overwhelming vote of 363-40. The bill is now pending in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Johnson may be carrying water for major right-wing business interests such as Club for Growth and National Federal of Independent Businesses, who are putting their ideological opposition to paid family leave over the safety of the American people. According to news reports, Johnson may have influenced 4 GOP Congressmen from Wisconsin who voted against the coronavirus bill on Friday.

The paid sick days provision is designed to make sure that workers do not risk their jobs when they do the right thing by staying home when they are sick, to take care of loved ones, or to look after their children who are without school or child care. Johnson’s preferred solution is unemployment insurance, which means workers would be forced to choose between job loss and helping contain the coronavirus.

“Time is of the essence in containing a pandemic. Despite the loopholes in this bill that exempt too many big corporate employers, passing the Coronavirus Relief Bill immediately and as written is a public health necessity,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The bill also includes free testing, which is critical to containing the spread of this life-threatening virus. The clock is ticking, and if Senator Johnson’s obstruction delays or even waters down the bill, it could risk hundreds of thousands of lives.”

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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.

Health Care Value Survey Shows Wisconsinites Concerned About Affordability and Quality of Care: Provides both statewide and regional data

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2020
Contacts: Claire Zautke, (414) 940-3375, claire@citizenactionwi.org
Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324, robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

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

Provides both statewide and regional data

Statewide: 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.

Dr. Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, which brought Altarum’s CHESS to Wisconsin, offers the following quote:

“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. This crisis has reached 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, stunning findings that jump out for me the most are that nearly half of all Wisconsinites have gone without care or medications because they could not afford it, and that health care affordability is by far the top public issue, easily beating the economy and taxes.”

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

###

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

Super Tuesday Political Earthquake? Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

Super Tuesday Political Earthquake? Battleground Wisconsin Podcast


The panel diggs 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
Press Clips

3-5-20 – The Earl Ingram Show (with Reggie Moore)

U.S. Supreme Court Threatening Health Care of Millions


For Immediate Release–March 2, 2020
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@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

Statewide: Today 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.”