Friday, April 24th
Citizen Action Organizes Health Professionals To Speak Out Against Social Distancing Protests
In video statements recorded this morning, health professionals explain why the the Governor’s Safer at Home order is an essential measure for containing COVID-19, creating conditions to gradually and safely reopen the economy
This morning, Friday, April 24th, before scheduled State Capitol protests against Wisconsin’s most effective COVID-19 containment measure, public health professionals taped brief video interviews to discuss the situation. These dedicated caregivers hope by offering this testimony to counteract the disinformation being spread through social media and irresponsible national media outlets to mobilize opposition to social distancing. The health professionals explained why maintaining social distancing is essential for saving lives, protecting front line caregivers and other essential workers, and slowing the virus enough to safely reopen the economy.
Elizabeth Riley: Elizabeth is a nurse who recently returned to Wisconsin after spending several weeks working in a Brooklyn, NYC Intensive Care Unit. She describes the horror of the ICU, the horrible and lonely deaths of her patients, and her dread that Wisconsin could become like New York City if the Safer At Home order were lifted.
Jeff Weber: Jeff is the President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. He worries about Wisconsin hospitals’ capacity being overrun with a surge of COVID-19 cases resulting from these protests and premature lifting of the Safer At Home order. He states we need two weeks of sustained decline in new cases before lifting the order.
Lynn Carey: Lynn is a nurse practitioner, educator, and PhD as well as a double lung transplant recipient. Her advice for beating this virus: “stay home!”
Victoria Gutierrez: Victoria is a frontline nurse in Madison. She is concerned that the capitol protest will cause an increase in COVID-19 cases and put strain on the already short supply of personal protective gear used by nurses.
Mary Milton: Mary is a frontline nurse in Milwaukee. She monitors the protective gear used by her hospital’s workers. She says she has “never seen such suffering” as that of her COVID-19 patients.
Emily Siegrist: Emily is a nurse and nurse educator from the Milwaukee area. She is worried about the lack of support for frontline health care professionals and that protesters today will not take protective measures.
“Front line health professionals, many of whom are risking their own health treating the victims of COVID-19, are urging the people of Wisconsin to maintain social distancing as the best way to contain this deadly pandemic,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “If we are going to pull together and meet this challenge, we need to start listening to the scientists and the front-line caregivers, not the cynical politicians and billionaires seeking to exploit the crisis for their own purposes.”
The State of Wisconsin’s unique “Work Sharing” program can help people keep their jobs and healthcare, reduce unemployment and offer relief to small businesses during the COVID19 outbreak.
One of the major parts of Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s people power COVID19 relief program takes advantage of Wisconsin’s unique “work sharing” program. This program allows employers to opt into a program so they can offer unemployment benefits to employees who have their hours cut without paying more in unemployment insurance. This program will compensate employees, allow them to keep their jobs, keep their health insurance AND be eligible for the federal unemployment benefit of $600 in addition to unemployment and pay for hours worked.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is working to get as many employers as possible signed up for this program as possible to prevent layoffs and guarantee people have a job to return to while still being able to pay their bills through this crisis. If you know any business owners or employees who could benefit for this program please direct them to this link
TAKE ACTION: Contact Governor Evers and the State Legislature in Support of Citizen Action’s COVID-19 Response Platform
Citizen Action members are writing, calling, emailing, tweeting, and messaging our elected officials asking for free Covid-19 testing and treatment for all Wisconsinites. Get started HERE
Governor Evers and state officials moved decisively to mandate social distancing and Stay at Home, so we have a much better chance of slowing the pandemic and preventing our hospitals from being overwhelmed.
The next critical thing Wisconsin can do is universal COVID-19 testing and treatment. This is the only way to identify everyone who has been infected, and interrupt the deadly chains of disease transmission. We need to start by testing and treating everyone with symptoms, and then test community-wide to identify seemingly healthy people spreading the infection.
First, we must make cost-free all medical follow up and treatment that results from seeking a test, both for COVID-19 and any other urgent medical issues that are discovered. Second, we must make it crystal clear to the public that they will receive no medical bills. This is the only way to assure that hard pressed working and middle class Wisconsinites are not deterred from testing and treatment by ruinous costs.
1) Use emergency powers granted by the federal government to deploy BadgerCare to guarantee that everyone has health coverage during the pandemic. These powers include removing all barriers to quick enrollment, cost sharing, and work requirements, suspension of cancellation, eliminating cost sharing and work requirements, and allowing medical providers to presume that uninsured people are eligible.
2) Immediately expand BadgerCare by accepting the Medicaid Expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act. This would both cover at least 75,000 more people, and free up $340 million that can be immediately deployed in the fight to contain COVID-19, including Wisconsin getting its fair share of testing kits and critical medical supplies.
3) Mandate that health insurance plans pay fully for all treatment resulting from seeking medical attention for COVID-19. So far, Wisconsin has only recommended that insurers suspend copays and deductibles. If this creates too much of a burden on health insurers, Wisconsin can suspend hospital price gouging by requiring them to accept Medicare rates for all treatment that results from a COVID-19 test.
Send an email today to Governor Evers and state legislators.
Driftless co-op COVID19 relief planning town halls
The Citizen Action of Wisconsin Driftless Co-op is hosting a series of planning town halls to craft a relief effort during Wisconsin’s COVID19 outbreak. We are building a plan to address concerns around healthcare, utilities, mortgage/rent payments, and small business relief. We would like to hear from you as we build these plans. Please RSVP to join one of these upcoming town halls co hosted by Driftless co-op members.3
Lewis Kuhlman COVID19 relief planning town hall 4-28, 6:00 to 7:00 (shared with La Crosse DSA members) More Information.
Joni Anderson COVID19 relief planning town hall 4-29, 3:00 to 4:00 More information.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is leading a people powered COVID19 relief effort
Citizen Action of Wisconsin has been crafting a response to the COVID19 crisis that will help put money in people’s pockets, reduce unemployment, reduce utility costs, help small businesses, expand healthcare, fight climate change and protect Wisconsin’s green business sectors. You can learn more about the relief package we are working on by viewing this PowerPoint.
Some of our programs might be able to help you right now! Please use fill out this survey to find out if our programs can help you. Please feel free to share this survey with anyone struggling during this time.
Help Elect Tricia Zunker for Congress, Tuesday, May 12th
If you live in CD 7 you should apply today for your absentee ballot!
The 2020 election fight continues in the 7th Congressional District where Citizen Action co-op member Tricia Zunker, is running to replace Sean Duffy. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12th.
We need your help making calls! Please contact your regional co-op organizer to get involved from home.
Candidate town hall with Co-op member and Congressional candidate Dr. Mark Neumann
This past week the Driftless co-op hosted a candidate town hall with Dr. Mark Neumann who is running for Congress in Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district. Topics included the need for single payer healthcare, Israel and Palestine, environmental concerns, how to work with those with a different political viewpoint and the need for radical empathy in American Politics. You can view a recording of the town hall at this link. Citizen Action will be reaching out to Congressman Ron Kind, Mark’s primary opponent to offer the opportunity for a town hall as well.
Citizen Action in the News
Citizen Action Director Robert Kraig discussed the social distancing protests, and the COVID-19 situation in Wisconsin for an hour on the Earl Ingram Radio Show. Listen here.
Two Citizen Action members were highlighted for their role in the Milwaukee City-County Climate & Economic Equity Taskforce in the Shepherd Express. The task force is the centerpiece of Citizen Action’s strategy to initiate a just and racially equitable climate transition in Southeast Wisconsin.
Citizen Action Director Robert Kraig discussed why conservatives are ideologically blind on COVID-19, and how the Biden campaign can be made more progressive, for an hour on the Jeff Santos Radio show. Listen here.
“Capitol COVID crisis” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
The GOP war on public health continues in Wisconsin with Republican legislative leaders appealing to the right-wing Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the Governor’s stay at home order and inciting dangerous protests at the state capitol scheduled for Friday. We welcome attorney Mark Thomsen, who specializes in medical malpractice and nursing home neglect, to discuss Speaker Vos’s repugnant amendment to COVID-19 relief legislation which could make it impossible to sue for any kind of nursing home abuse. The amendment was shamefully introduced on behalf of the WI Hospital Association, WI Medical Society, and WI Assisted Living Association. We close with a look at this fall’s state legislative elections and why they are so important to the healthy and prosperity of Wisconsin.
Facebook post of the week