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.”

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

Report: Medicaid Expansion Removes Critical Financial Barriers to Treating Opioid Addiction

New report shows anti-opioid medications cost 72-times more on average for Wisconsinites denied BadgerCare due unaffordable private insurance copays

STATEWIDE:  At a Capitol news conference and a media call today legislators, health advocates, addiction experts, and consumers released a new Citizen Action report showing that expanding Medicaid (BadgerCare) would have a sizable and beneficial impact on addressing opioid addiction for working Wisconsinites. This research is timely both because deaths from opioid continue to climb (In 2017, there were 926 overdose deaths involving opioids in Wisconsin) and because the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee is expected to take an initial vote on Thursday on BadgerCare expansion. Watch Wisconsin Eye’s coverage of the Capital news conference here. Listen to audio of the media call here. Read More

Applauds Governor Evers for Expanding BadgerCare

For Immediate Release, February 28, 2019
Contact: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324, robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

Applauds Governor Evers for Expanding BadgerCare

Reigning in Skyrocketing Prescription Drug Prices

Is great first step towards fulfilling public mandate to guarantee affordable health care in Wisconsin

Statewide: Citizen Action of Wisconsin members across the state are applauding Governor Evers for including BadgerCare expansion in his state budget. This great health care advance will be formally announced to a joint session of the Legislature tonight in the Governor’s first State Budget Address. Read More

Creation of a Crisis: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Chooses Profit Over People

Citizen Action of Wisconsin joins national release of report revealing how drug company profits and CEO pay put lives at risk

For Immediate Release

February 21, 2019

CONTACTs:

Robert Kraig, Citizen Action of Wisconsin (414) 322-5324, robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org

Ariela Weinberger, Roosevelt Institute, aweinberger@rooseveltinstitute.org

Milwaukee: Citizen Action of Wisconsin is joining the Roosevelt Institute and People’s Action in  releasingProfit Over Patients: How the Rules of our Economy Encourage the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Extractive Behavior.” Read More

January 23, 2019

Is great first step towards fulfilling public mandate to guarantee affordable health care in Wisconsin

For Immediate Release, January 23, 2019

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

Statewide: In response to the first State of the State Address of Tony Evers, Citizen Action of Wisconsin members across the state applaud the Governor’s firm commitment to including BadgerCare expansion in the state budget.

“Claiming hundreds of millions in federal tax dollars already set aside for Wisconsin to expand BadgerCare to more low income families is a great first step in fulfilling the election mandate to guarantee affordable quality health care,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Read More

October 31, 2018

For Immediate Release– October 31, 2018.

Contacts: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324 robert.kraig@citizenactionwi.org or Kevin Kane (414) 550 8280, kevin.kane@citizenactionwi.org

New federal data shows allowing Wisconsinites to buy-into Badgercare as a “Public Option” would slash premiums and deductibles. Data also shows gap with Minnesota is widening

STATEWIDE: On a media call Wednesday morning Citizen Action of Wisconsin, with key state lawmakers and the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals, released a new analysis which has major implications for the high profile health care debate in the 2018 election. We were joined on the audio news conference by State Senator LaTonya Johnson and State Rep. Chris Taylor, both members of the powerful Joint Finance Committee which writes the state budget. Listen to the entire audio here. Read More

October 11, 2018

For Immediate Release– October 11, 2018

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

Walker’s election year plan impacts a tiny fraction of health consumers, is dwarfed by premium reductions in neighboring Minnesota, and does not make up for cost of his sabotage

Statewide: After 7 years of working to sabotage the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin, Scott Walker is making misleading claims about reducing health care costs just weeks ahead of a close election. The public has a right to know his real record on health care access and affordability. Read More

October 9, 2018

For Immediate Release– October 9, 2018

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

In U.S. Senate debate Vukmir makes stunningly false claim that pre-existing conditions discrimination was not an issue before passage of the Affordable Care Act

Milwaukee: In a debate Monday evening U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir made the startling assertion that before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions was prevented by federal law. This shockingly false claim contradicts both the historical record and the lived experiences of thousands of Wisconsinites who were subjected to discrimination before the ACA made it illegal. Read More

September 17, 2018

For Immediate Release– September 17, 2018

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

Statewide: Scott Walker’s declaration that he would protect people with pre-existing conditions from discrimination is in sharp contrast to his actual record as governor and any policy proposal he has made to date, raising the specter that he is deliberately misleading voters in order to deflect a major campaign issue. Read More