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

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

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, June 28th

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, June 28th

Mireya Mercado Starts as Citizen Action’s New Digital Media & Community Outreach Organizer

Mireya Mercado is an organizer with a digital communications and public relations background who will work to amplify Citizen Action’s social media presence, and the role of directly impacted people in our campaigns. Mireya has worked on various electoral and issue campaigns. She also led student efforts at Marquette University to ensure equitable representation of students of color on campus. She recently completed a fellowship at NextGen where she mobilized the youth vote on her campus. Mireya looks forward to utilizing digital tools and direct organizing to highlight our fight for equitable access to health care for all. Her principal focus this year will be recruiting and average people with health care stories to impact the fight for guaranteed affordable health care. Read More

Citizen Action Weekly Friday, June 7th


Friday, June 7th

Citizen Action hires Claire Zautke as Director of Healthcare For All

Claire Zautke comes to Citizen Action of Wisconsin after completing her Master of Public Affairs at the UW’s La Follette School of Public Affairs in May. At La Follette, Claire studied policy analysis, program evaluation, statistical and cost-benefit analysis, and nonprofit management. Read More

Weekly – Friday, May 24th

Friday, May 24th – Memorial Day Weekend

Join members of the North Central Organizing Co-op and other Groups in the Memorial Day Parade in Wausau

This Saturday, May 25th, at 10 am, join members of the NC Organizing Co-op, the Marathon County Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, and the Marathon County Democratic Party to march in solidarity for the Memorial Day parade, to honor our Veterans. Read More

Weekly – Friday May 10th

Weekly – Friday May 10th

Friday, May 10th

The Fight Has Just Begun For Health Care In Wisconsin

By: Robert Kraig, executive director

Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers proudly turned their backs on the people of the Badger State when they voted against expanding health coverage to 82,000 people yesterday.

But at Citizen Action of Wisconsin, we’re not turning back. We’ll keep fighting until every Wisconsinite gets the health care we deserve, and voted for in November.

Yesterday’s vote by the Joint Finance Committee to strip Medicaid/Badgercare Expansion from the state budget is just the latest evidence of the Republican Party’s ongoing effort to keep Scott Walker’s shroud pulled tight over the will of the people, who threw him out of the Governor’s Mansion last November.

That’s when they voted in Democrat Tony Evers as our new governor, Citizen Action of Wisconsin member Mandela Barnes as Lieutenant Governor and Josh Kaul as Attorney General, with a mandate to expand health care and turn back Walker’s callous efforts to strip and scrap public programs in our state.

Not willing to accept defeat, Walker rushed to organize a lame-duck session in December to appoint conservative loyalists to key positions across the state, such as the Public Service Commission and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents.

He also sought to tie the hands of Evers and Kaul, to keep them from passing the legislation voters elected them to enact. Medicaid expansion was first offered to Wisconsin under President Obama but movement conservatives have held it up in the State Legislature for years.

The GOP’s efforts to stymie democracy in Wisconsin are  shameful, and run against the very grain of democracy. That’s why we stand with the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and the many others who are challenging these efforts to shield the powerful from the will of the people in court.

On Thursday, the Joint Finance Committee hearing room was packed – out of a hundred seats in the room, more than forty were filled by Citizen Action of Wisconsin members, including myself. The clear majority in the room were average citizens who favor Medicaid expansion, with a smattering of lobbyists who were paid to be there.

The Democrats on the committee were on fire, as revved up as I have seen. But because of Wisconsin’s gerrymandered legislature, they are in a 12-4 minority on the committee, despite November’s vote.

The passion is all on our side, and the latest Marquette University Law poll tells us that 70 percent of Wisconsin voters support Medicare expansion. But Wisconsin’s Republicans are curiously uninterested in public opinion, and quite willing just to exercise power in a ruthless way. They literally accused the Governor of being obstructionist for proposing anything he should have known they oppose, like Medicaid expansion

“I have no moral problem,” is what Republican State Senator Tom Tiffany told the Washington Post, when asked if he knew blocking the expansion of health care will harm the poor in Wisconsin.

Republican leaders scheduled this sudden and desperate vote because they are losing the public debate. Days before this rash decision, news reports broke of multiple Republican legislators beginning to bow to public pressure and support the expansion of BadgerCare.

Affordable health care really is a life and death issue.

Just this week, Citizen Action released a blockbuster new study we produced in-house showing how private insurance fails those struggling with opioid addiction, making treatment unaffordable. BadgerCare makes these treatments very affordable, addressing a key need in our state.

We did not lose anything at yesterday’s hearing. This sudden attempt to cut off debate is a sign of weakness. If we keep up the pressure on every legislator who is ignoring the will of the people, we will win.

Until the governor signs his budget, it’s not final. It’s going to be a long debate, and there’s still plenty of time for the public to be heard.

Governor Evers has made clear he will “fight like hell” to win BadgerCare expansion. Do you have the Governor’s back? We do.

Read More