Friday, December 20th
Federal Court Decision Threatens Health Coverage in Wisconsin
Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, marketplace health insurance, at grave risk of having coverage taken away by right-wing federal judges
This Wednesday, the unending drive by conservative politicians to rip health coverage away from millions Americans, and re-legalize insurance discrimination, came a step closer to tearing apart the health care system. A Republican dominated Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled in favor of the Trump administration in Texas vs. United States, striking down the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Bar are using the case as a vehicle for invalidating the entire ACA, including the popular protections against pre-existing condition discrimination. The judges, both Republican appointees, remanded the decision on the other elements of the ACA to the same right-wing lower court judge who already struck it down last year.
Thursday, Citizen Action of Wisconsin teamed up with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and Protect Our Care to hold a media briefing on the implications of this development for Wisconsin. You can listen to the entire media call here. Speakers made the case that judicial action invalidating the ACA is a clear and present danger.
In addition, 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.
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.
Milwaukee resident Megan McGee, who lives with pre-existing conditions, described her reaction to the ruling and the threat to the ACA: “I’ve had back problems and birth complications. I’m told there are no long-term effects of either. But will insurers care? Without the ACA, could I get kicked off my insurance plan? When I think about the possibility of the ACA being overturned, I don’t worry about one thing. I worry about many things: what will happen to me, my 2 year old, a family member who is mentally ill, and my 2 employees.”
“The federal court nullification of the ACA 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.”
People’s Action endorses Bernie Sanders for President.
This Thursday, Citizen Action’s national network, People’s Action, announced it’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders for president in 2020. The People’s Action Board of Directors approved members recommendation that People’s Action endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for President following an extensive process that started two years ago and included; candidate forums, questionnaires, member surveys, interviews, and multiple People’s Action delegate meetings. The delegate vote was 76.3% for a Bernie endorsement.
Citizen Action Northwestern WI Co-Op Holds Press Conference with Sen. Jeff Smith to Demand Lower Drug Costs
The Citizen Action Northwestern WI Co-op, along with State Senator Jeff Smith, held a press conference this week to demand that the US Senate and President Donald Trump support the H.R. 3 “Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act” bill that passed through the US House of Representatives last week.
While at the podium Sen. Smith said, “We have a president who refuses to lift a finger on this issue and he has sat idly by as prescription drugs continue to rise.” Retired Dr. Rita Simon, co-op steering committee chairperson, and organizer Breana Stanley also spoke about the effects of high drug costs on Wisconsinites. Contact Sen. Ron Johnson and urge him to support the Senate Rx bill (202) 224-5323.
North Central Organizing Co-op 2019 Recap
The North Central Organizing Co-op was actively involved in the efforts to accept the federal funds to expand Badgercare. Efforts included:
- Press events calling on the State to expand BC
- 3 members attended and spoke at JFC Hearings in River Falls; 14 in GB
- Text messaging and phone banking campaigns aimed at getting voters to contact their legislators
Nine members of the NC Organizing Co-op traveled to Iowa to attend the People’s Action Presidential Forum.
Citizen Action, Women for Women Wausau Chapter, and County Board Supervisor Katie Rosenberg organized an event with Sarah Godlewski on the role of the State Treasurer
NC members are active in many of the groups throughout the region and this has made for a collaborative effort among groups to seek and support candidates. Several Co-op members have already come forward as candidates for the:
- 7th CD special election
- Wausau Mayoral race,
- Wausau City Council
- Marathon County Board and
- Tomahawk School Boards
- There are several races with candidates running who are not Co-op members, but are allied with our platform.
The NC Organizing Co-op supports efforts surrounding Fair Maps in:
- Oneida County
- Marathon County
- Portage County
The NC Organizing Co-op has supported Citizens for a Clean Wausau and the Thomas Street Fight
- Recent victory in that the group was granted permission by the City to test Riverside Park for dioxin contamination (after an 18 month fight for permission)
In 2020, not only will we be running an aggressive ground game electorally, but we will be organizing around Healthcare, Movement Politics (Fair Maps, Voter Registration, Census Work, etc.) and the Green New Deal (Green Homes, Good Jobs; Supporting existing Climate Work and Groups; pushing local initiatives to commit to carbon reduction and the use of more renewable energies). We will be much more successful if we all work together on these goals. Please contact NC Organizer Joel Lewis at 715-551-2525 or email him at [email protected] to learn how you can get more involved or to see how you can help. Thank you to all of our members and allies for making 2019 a great year!
The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Southwest Wisconsin Co-op is fully formed!
We are thrilled to announce that we officially have 250 activists pledged to join our co-op in Southwest Wisconsin. We have supporters in La Crosse County, Monroe County, Vernon County, Adams County, Sauk County, Crawford county, Richland county and Dane County. Now we can start to mobilize and organize to create real progressive change! If you have not fully joined the co-op please do so at this link. It is vital that members fully join so that we can mobilize our power as we move into the most important election of our lifetimes!
We still want to include as many more activists as possible. If you know anyone who might be interested in joining Citizen Action of Wisconsin please let Ben know ASAP. He can be reached at [email protected] or 608-386-2847.
Citizen Action Southeast Wisconsin Co-op Advancing Bold Climate & Racial Equity Strategy
Citizen Action played the leading role in creating a new Milwaukee City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity, which will deliver preliminary recommendations to local government in early 2020. Two co-op members and one member of the Citizen Action staff (Rafael Smith) are on the task force. Above co-op and task force members Janet Meissner Pritchard and Ted Kraig (on left) participate in financing work group with City of Milwaukee Sustainability Director Erick Shambarger and Clean Wisconsin climate expert Pam Ritger. We need all the co-op members we can volunteering and working to make a Green New Deal in Milwaukee a reality!
To Get involved contact Citizen Action’s leader on the campaign, Rafael Smith [email protected]
Protect Our Votes: Citizen Action joins Milwaukee residents against planned voter purge.
This week two rallies were held at Milwaukee City Hall to oppose the scheduled state voter purge of over 200,000 voters from the state rolls, with over 20% of purged voter coming from Milwaukee County. The effort is the latest conservative effort to suppress voters.
Local elected leaders, including co-op member and MKE County Supervisor, Marcelia Nicholson, promised to fight the plan, including with a local resolution to oppose the Milwaukee County election commission from participating in the purge.
Save The Date: CD 7 candidate forum, January 15th, Rice Lake and January 29th, Wausau
“Coffee with your co-op” events in Southwest Wisconsin
The Southwest co-op of Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be hosting two informal “Coffee with your co-op” events in early January. These events will be a great chance to get to know your fellow co-op members, talk about issues that matter to you, discuss strategy for 2020, and just have a cup of coffee. These are meant to be a fun, informal setting. Hopefully we will do these events every month. We will be hosting “Coffee with your co-op” events in both La Crosse and Viroqua. All members are invited to both events. Members are also encouraged to invite any friends or family members who might be interested in learning about Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Saturday January 4th 12:00 PM
JavaVino 2311 State Road La Crosse Wisconsin
Saturday January 18th 12:00 PM
Viroqua Food Co-op 609 N Main st Viroqua Wisconsin
“Dark Money” movie showing and discussion in Viroqua
Citizen Action of Wisconsin will be sponsoring a viewing and group discussion about the movie “Dark Money” at the Commons in Viroqua on January 15th at 6:00 PM. Dark Money is a political thriller that examines the greatest threat to American democracy; the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections. “Dark Money” uncovers the shocking truth of how American elections are bought and sold. This Sundance award-winning documentary is directed and produced by Kimerly Redd.
What a 24 hours! We review the potential implications of a terrible court ruling endangering the future of the Affordable Care Act. Citizen Action’s national network, People’s Action, endorses Bernie Sanders for President. Ryan Greenwood, People’s Action’s Movement Politics Director, joins to tell us why. We discuss the third impeachment of a president in American history, and the latest GOP effort to suppress the vote in Wisconsin, the purging over 200,000 Wisconsinites from the voter rolls
Facebook post of the week