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

By August 23, 2022No Comments

As part of week one of the Inflation Reduction Act themed weeks, Protect Our Care is highlighting GOP lawmakers that are fighting against reforms to lower health care costs for the American people. Senator Ron Johnson’s record on health care is as abysmal as it comes, and it disqualifies 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, and he still thinks that Republicans should repeal the ACA if they’re given power again. His latest rantings include stripping mandatory funding for essential government programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. Senator Johnson voted against the Inflation Reduction Act which lowers drug prices and expands coverage — policies that are supported by Wisconsonites from all walks of life. 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 Voted Against The Inflation Reduction Act. Alongside all of his Republican colleagues, Ron Johnson voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant piece of healthcare legislation since the passage of the ACA. The bill extends enhanced premium tax credits through 2025 and drives down prescription drug prices by giving Medicare the power to negotiate, capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for drugs at $2,000 per year, limiting insulin costs, and stopping Big Pharma’s egregious price hikes. Johnson even went out of his way to strip out a critical health care provision of the Inflation Reduction Act, which would have capped insulin at $35 a month for millions of diabetics with private insurance. This ‘no’ vote comes on the heels of Johnson’s refusal to support 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 lowered premiums for people purchasing coverage through the marketplaces and expanded access to financial assistance for more middle-class families. 

Senator Johnson Still Wants To Repeal The ACA. As recently as March of this year Ron Johnson said that if Republicans control Congress and the White House in 2024, they’re going to repeal the ACA. According to Johnson, “If we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare — I still think we need to fix our health-care system — we need to have the plan ahead of time so that once we get in office, we can implement it immediately, not knock around like we did last time and fail,” Johnson also supports Senator Rick Scott’s disastrous plan that would “sunset” the ACA, Medicare, Social Security and other vital federal health laws every five years. And 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 even after the rest of the GOP conceded defeat. 

Senator Johnson Is Fighting To End Medicare, Medicaid, and The Affordable Care Act. In August of 2022, Johnson built off a proposal originally put forth by Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) to sunset all federal programs every five years, by suggesting that Medicare funding should be solely discretionary and approved by Congress on a yearly basis. Appearing to support ending the Medicare program to reduce the national deficit, Johnson said,  “If you qualify for the entitlement, you just get it no matter what the cost [a]nd our problem in this country is that more than 70 percent of our federal budget, of our federal spending, is all mandatory spending…What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending…” This is a continuation of Johnson’s outlandish proposals to upend American health care. 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 Is 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 Are A Threat To 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. 

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 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 Is In The Pocket Of Big Pharma. It is no wonder why Senator Johnson is so opposed to efforts 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 $270,244 in contributions from pharmaceutical PACs and executives. 

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.