Citizen Action Weekly: Friday July 12th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday July 12th

State Legislature Must Take Action to Protect Health Coverage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read media from Tuesday’s call with state legislators.

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

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

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

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

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

Attend Lights for Liberty events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medicare for All and the Democratic Primary

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

Southeastern Co-op Update 

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

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

Updates From the North Central Organizing Co-op

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

“Lights for Liberty” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

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

Listen Now – Episode #400
Download mp3

Facebook post of the week

“Lights for Liberty” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Lights for Liberty” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

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

Listen Now – Episode #400
Download mp3

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

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

Links:
Citizen Action of Wisconsin Sounds Alarm On Repeal of ACA
State Legislature Must Take Action to Protect Health Coverage
Wisconsin governors have used veto powers to raise spending and debt dozens of times. Now the GOP wants to block Tony Evers.
Foxconn will only create 1,500 jobs, says Wisconsin governor.
Foxconn exec complains about not being able to change Wisconsin plans whenever it wants

State Legislature Must Take Action to Protect Health Coverage

For Immediate Release–July 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Kaplan: After the budget, Medicaid expansion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly – July 5th

Weekly – July 5th

Friday, July 5th

The State Budget Endgame: Where do we go from here?

By Robert Kraig, Executive Director

On Wednesday morning Governor Tony Evers signed the Republican budget. While it was much better than it would have been without the threat of his veto pen, and Evers was able to improve it with some important vetoes, there is no escaping the fact that it did not include the two top priorities he was elected to achieve: BadgerCare expansion and full fair funding for public schools. Read More

Health Advocates in 9 Wisconsin Cities Urge Lawmakers to Expand BadgerCare

Health Advocates in 9 Wisconsin Cities Urge Lawmakers to Expand BadgerCare

Full Legislature has the opportunity this week to override disastrous Finance Committee rejection of federal Medicaid expansion

For Immediate Release–June 24, 2019
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

 

Statewide: A day before the full Legislature begins voting on the state budget, Citizen Action members led a statewide health care day of action urging lawmakers to accept federal Medicaid money to expand Wisconsin’s popular BadgerCare program. Citizen Action members also trekked to Madison from across the state to lobby their legislators one last time before the big votes in the Assembly and Senate.
Read More

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast


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

The GOP Budget Plot Thickens

The GOP Budget Plot Thickens

“The GOP Budget Plot Thickens” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

This week we do a deep dive with State Senator Chris Larson on the GOP budget endgame. Does Robin Vos really expect Governor Evers to capitulate to their short sighted and immoral budget, or does he have a hidden agenda in mind? Next we welcome State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski to discuss the fiscal insanity of the GOP budget that is taking shape, and her work to address the student debt crisis. Finally, we dig into the latest Foxconn low lights, and progress on Medicare for All.
Listen Now – Episode #396
Download MP3
Press Clips

Read More