The need to organize has never been more urgent than in this great national emergency.
The government only acts in the common interest when average people organize to make our collective voices impossible to ignore. Great leadership is not a matter of chance, it is called forth by active and engaged citizens working together.
This Action Center is a clearinghouse for Citizen Action members and friends to focus our voices on enacting policies to the scale of the crisis.
Citizen Action’s COVID-19 demands of elected leaders are guided by these principles.
- With lives and livelihoods hanging in the balance, we don’t have the luxury of dwelling on past mistakes.
- We must suspend normal politics, and do everything possible to save the maximum number of human lives.
- We must fight for true equity. We cannot allow race and class to decide who lives and who dies.
- We must put aside outdated limits on what is possible, and act with the radical boldness of Americans in past national emergencies such as the Great Depression and both World Wars.
- Crisis mitigation is our first priority, but we must also sow the seeds of a more just and equitable America that is resilient to future disasters.
Health Care Policies to Contain the Pandemic
COVID-19 has spread invisibly across the entire population. To stop the contagion, and safely open the economy, we must develop an unprecedented testing, contact tracing, and viral surveillance capacity that goes well beyond merely testing people with a narrow set of symptoms.
The prices charged by hospitals and drug companies in our profit-crazed medical system are a major barrier to containing the pandemic. A Citizen Action/Health Value Hub survey of 1,000 Wisconsinites found that in the past year nearly half had avoided necessary medical care due to cost. A national study found 68% would consider avoiding testing and treatment if it is too expensive, even if they have symptoms.
The Citizen Action Plan
Citizen Action has developed a plan for Wisconsin to guarantee universal free testing and treatment.
1) Use emergency powers granted by the federal government to deploy BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone has health coverage during the pandemic.
2) Immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act. (This covers at least 75,000 more people, and frees up $340 million that can be immediately put into the COVID-19 fight).
3) Mandate that health insurance plans pay for all treatment resulting from seeking medical attention for COVID-19, including pre-existing which make the virus more dangerous.
We need you to contact Governor Evers, your State Senator, and your State Representative, and urge them to make free testing and treatment for COVID-19 part of the relief bill now being drafted. This Free treatment must include care for any pre-existing conditions that are contributing to the intensity of the COVID-19 symptoms.
- Email Governor and Legislators
- Call the Governor and Your State Legislator
Leg Hotline # 1-800-362-9472
- Citizen Action Director Robert Kraig’s Column making the full case for universal free testing and treatment
- Citizen Action Memo to Governor Evers on Free Testing and Treatment
Actions to Address the Economic Fallout of COVID-19
Now that the coronavirus is spreading invisibly through the population, the best available containment strategy is drastically curtailing physical interactions, putting the economy into what some economists term a “medically induced coma.” This has led to the largest surge in unemployment ever measured, faster than even during the Great Depression!
The only way to prevent economic ruin for millions of average people and small businesses is bold unprecedented government action.
Just as happened during the Wall Street financial meltdown of 2008-2009, business as usual politics is directing a lion’s share of the resources to rescuing big corporations, rather than working and middle class Americans, or small businesses.
The federal government is already injecting more money into the American economy than ever in American history, and there will be many more federal and state relief bills. This is a once in a lifetime moment, and perhaps our only oportuntty, to make the structural reforms needed to prevent a climate genocide and to radically reduce economic and racial inequality.
Citizen Action’s Proposals
We are rapidly developing a series of policies which will help average people weather this storm while also building towards an equitable and sustainable economy.
Our first proposal is to waive all utility bills for those out-of-work during Wisconsin’s stay-at-home rule. State regulators have already directed most Wisconsin utilities to “stop utility disconnection for nonpayment for all customers” during the COVID-19 emergency. This is a good start, but deferring payments simply pushes the problem down the road by building up debt hardpressed homeowners and renters may never be able to repay.
If we have to tighten our belt, we believe giant corporations should have to do so too. Citizen Action would support using state money to pay the utilities back, if they agree to stop dragging their feet on the needed climate transition by making major and accountable investments in conservation and renewable energy that dramatically increases the number of family supporting jobs.
Sign Citizen Actions Petition demanding the state stop utilities from charging Wisconsin’s jobless workers during the crisis! Once you sign, you will be offered additional action opportunities.
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