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FACT SHEET: Senator Ron Johnson’s Abysmal Record On Health Care and Covid-19 Disqualifies Him For Another Term in the Senate

By January 10, 2022No Comments

Senator Ron Johnson’s record on health care and fighting COVID-19 is as abysmal as they come and disqualify him for another term in the U.S. Senate. Over the years, Ron Johnson voted to rip health care coverage from 416,600 Wisconsinites and strip protections from 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. Senator Johnson opposes provisions before Congress that would lower drug prices, expand coverage, improve care for seniors, and level the playing field for working families — policies that are supported by Wisconsonites from all walks of life. Senator Johnson has repeatedly spread disinformation about vaccines and undermined our response efforts. Republicans like Senator Johnson are completely out of touch with the economic and health worries that keep families up at night as they continue to put industry profits ahead of their constituents. Wisconsin voters are sick and tired of Ron Johnson’s dangerous antics.

Blocking Health Care And Relief for Wisconsinites

Senator Johnson Is In The Pocket Of Big Pharma. It is no wonder why Senator Johnson is so opposed to Build Back Better, which includes historic provisions to rein in pharmaceutical companies and lower the cost of prescription drugs for millions of Americans. Since taking office in 2011, Ron Johnson has received $250,464 in contributions from pharmaceutical PACs and executives. 

Senator Johnson Was A Leader In Efforts To Repeal The Affordable Care Act. In 2017, Senator Johnson co-sponsored the Cassdiy-Graham-Heller-Johnson bill which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act, and was widely considered to be the worst of the repeal efforts. Had Senator Johnson been successful, his bill would have dismantled Medicaid expansion, eliminated the Affordable Care Act tax credits, capped and cut Medicaid funding — permanently transforming the program into a per capita program, and caused millions of Americans to lose coverage and protections for pre-existing conditions. 

Senator Johnson’s Reckless Policies Would Have Harmed Wisconsinites. Senator Johnson repeatedly voted to rip coverage from 416,600 Wisconsinites who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act. His actions would have also stripped protections from 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions.

Senator Johnson Has Been Front And Center On The Most Outlandish ACA Attacks. In 2014, Senator Ron Johnson filed a lawsuit challenging a rule allowing lawmakers and their staff to continue to receive a government contribution toward premiums, but only if they enroll in a specific ACA plan. The Justice Department asked that the lawsuit be dismissed due to the fact Johnson was not “directly injured” by the regulation and therefore had no legal standing to sue. Johnson continued with the suit despite pleas from the Republican delegation in his own state to stop the scarade. Johnson also disclosed that he was planning to use his campaign account to raise funds for the suit, clearly demonstrating the political motive driving his actions. 

Even After The Republican Party Moved On, Senator Johnson Refused To Stop ACA Repeal Efforts. Senator Johnson has repeatedly demonstrated that he is an extremist within his party, refusing to move on after defeat. After Republicans could not muster the votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017, Senator Johnson said he remained hopeful that the Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson bill would pass. 

Senator Johnson Prioritized Eliminating Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. Senator Johnson was determined to eliminate one of the most popular aspects of the Affordable Care Act — its protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions — arguing that insurance companies should not be forced to cover people regardless of their health status. Johnson even went so far as to claim covering individuals with pre-existing conditions would collapse the health care system, stating, “We know what caused premiums to increase…th[e] guaranteed issue [of health insurance] collapses markets.”

Senator Johnson Has Fought To Cut Health Care For The Elderly, Disabled, And Children. In 2017, Senator Johnson claimed that Medicaid expansion put at risk “traditional Medicaid for the elderly, disabled and children.” The real threat to traditional Medicaid existed in the years-long Republican repeal efforts which worked to gut the program and turn it into a “per capita” program. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found the Senate repeal bill Johnson backed would have cut Medicaid by $756 billion over the following decade, and another estimate found it would have cut Medicaid by more than $2 trillion over the following 20 years, or more than one-third. 

Senator Johnson Voted Against The American Rescue Plan And Relief For Thousands Of Wisconsin Families. Alongside all of his Republican colleagues, Ron Johnson voted against the American Rescue Plan, historic legislation which provided measures to expand coverage and to dramatically lower health care costs for thousands of Wisconsin families. In addition to providing critical pandemic relief, the ARP lowers premiums for people purchasing coverage through the marketplaces and expands access to financial assistance for more middle-class families.  

Senator Johnson Tried To Blame The Opioid Crisis On The Affordable Care Act. Stooping to a new low, Senator Johnson claimed that Medicaid expansion created the opioid epidemic. Despite the fact that the CDC declared the opioid crisis an epidemic in 2011, three years prior to Medicaid expansion, Johnson attempted to draw a nonexistent connection between affordable health care and increased substance abuse. 

COVID-19 Misinformation

Senator Ron Johnson Downplayed Vaccines Against Natural Immunity, Asking Why We Think We Science Could Make Something Better That Works Better Than God. The latest in a series of highly bizarre and scientifically dubious comments from Senator Johnson came last week on the Vicki McKenna radio show. Senator Ron Johnson asked, “Why do we think that we can create something better than God in terms of combating disease? Why do we assume that the body’s natural immune system isn’t the marvel that it really is?” When the comments drew sharp criticism, Senator Johnson responded, saying “I won’t apologize for being in awe of creation or for the assumption that immunity from COVID infection might outperform immunity created in a lab. Unfortunately, the vaccines aren’t as safe or effective as we hoped.”

Senator Johnson Falsely Claimed Unvaccinated People Are Being Put Into ‘Internment Camps’. In yet another disingenuous attempt to misrepresent COVID-19 safety measures, Senator Johnson recently said “I’m going to actually utilize my own freedom, my own health autonomy, and I’m going to choose not to get the vaccine, and now we are demonizing those people. Around the world, they’re putting them basically into internment camps. What is going on?’…When Johnson was asked to clarify this claim, his office said he was referencing a COVID-19 quarantine site in Australia that requires residents returning from international travel to quarantine for two weeks and produce a negative COVID-19 test. 

Senator Ron Johnson Has Refused To Get Vaccinated And Continues To Spread Disinformation. Senator Johnson has become notorious over the course of the pandemic for making outrageous, misleading, and blatantly false claims about COVID-19, even going so far as to accuse public health experts of withholding information about the ‘dangers’ of COVID-19 vaccines from the American people. “But the information he provides in media appearances, ostensibly to fill in the gaps, is highly suspect. Take this interview with a conservative radio host in Wisconsin. The senator was asked how many people have died after getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19. He cited data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and suggested the death count was above 3,000. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says this data does not establish cause and effect between coronavirus vaccinations and reported deaths. A range of experts on immunology told [The Washington Post] Johnson was misusing the data and exaggerating the known risks of getting the shot.”