Washington DC — Tonight in Milwaukee, Leah Vukmir, a pro-repeal Republican who supports ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions will debate Senator Tammy Baldwin. Vukmir has earned the nickname ‘Nurse Ratched’ by fellow Republicans due to her extreme positions on health care and multiple attempts to block Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin. Ahead of the debate, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:
“After years of attempting roll back protections for millions of Wisconsinites, Leah Vukmir is touting her experience as a nurse to try to convince us that her record on health care isn’t as bad as it is. But the truth is, in addition to supporting a full repeal the ACA, Vukmir wants to dismantle Medicaid and even voted against protections for Wisconsin kids who need cochlear implants. Vukmir’s record on health care is as extreme – far too extreme for Wisconsin – as it is cruel.”
Vukmir Supports Repealing The ACA And Its Protections For 2.4 Million Wisconsinites with Pre-Existing Conditions
Vukmir “Supports Full Repeal Of Obamacare. Period.” “Leah understands why people are upset with Republicans who promised to repeal Obamacare and didn’t deliver. She supports full repeal of Obamacare. Period. And she won’t stop pushing for full repeal in Congress.” [LeahVukmir.com, accessed 6/12/18]
What would full repeal of the Affordable Care Act mean for Wisconsin? ?
- Elimination of protections for 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, if they buy coverage on their own
- Elimination of improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
- Ending allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
- Elimination of ban on annual and lifetime limits
- Elimination of ban on insurance discrimination against women
- Elimination of a limit on out-of-pocket costs
- Elimination of the Medicaid expansion, currently covering 15 million people
- Elimination of rules to hold insurance companies accountable
- Elimination of small business tax credits
- Elimination of marketplace tax credits and coverage for up to 215,000 Wisconsinites
Vukmir Supported Scott Walker’s Plan To Convert All Health Care Programs To Block Grants: “A Successful Repeal Of Obamacare Begins With The Federal Government Handing Over The Reins To The States.” “State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R–Brookfield, Tuesday endorsed Gov. Scott Walker’s request of the White House and Congress to send states block grants, giving them full responsibility for health care programs. ‘Healthcare is very personal,’ said Vukmir, chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. ‘That’s why those closest to our constituents, not Washington bureaucrats, should be responsible for tailoring our programs to fit Wisconsin’s needs. A successful repeal of Obamacare begins with the federal government handing over the reins to the states.’” [State Senator Leah Vukmir Press Release, 8/22/17]
- Converting health care programs to block grants was the core of what the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have done. Multiple independent analyses agreed that the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have cut federal funding to states including a $29 billion cut over two decades to Wisconsin.
Vukmir Is Hostile Towards Medicaid
Vukmir “Would Support Efforts To Send Medicaid Dollars To States In The Form Of A Block Grant.” “Finally, Leah knows from her experience dealing with Wisconsin’s Medicaid program that states truly are laboratories of innovation, which is what our founders intended. Leah supports more flexibility for states when it comes to Medicaid spending, and would support efforts to send Medicaid dollars to states in the form of a block grant – allowing states more flexibility to design their own plans and save taxpayers billions of dollars.” [LeahVukmir.com, accessed 6/12/18]
- The Graham-Cassidy bill would have enacted Vukmir’s plan to convert Medicaid into a block grant, meaning the 1,037,795 Wisconsinites who are enrolled on Medicaid would have their care jeopardized. Medicaid disproportionately helps children, seniors in nursing home care and people with disabilities. A study by Avalere found that a Graham-Cassidy-style plan would cut funding for people with disabilities by 15-percent and 31-percent for children by 2036.
Vukmir Opposed Medicaid Expansion In Wisconsin. “State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R–Brookfield, issued the following statement Friday after seeing recent news reports from states that accepted Medicaid expansion dollars and are now facing major problems with their budgets: ‘Recent reports from states across the U.S. are confirming our prior expectations, proving what we’ve known all along: Increased expansion is not financially feasible.” [State Senator Leah Vukmir Press Release, 4/22/16]
- Medicaid is not only a lifeline for over one million Wisconsinites, it strengthens our communities and is supported by 74 percent of Americans. By not fully expanding Medicaid, Wisconsin has restricted its Medicaid program such that only Residents earning up to 100 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible to enroll in Medicaid. If Wisconsin expanded its program, 119,000 more adults could gain coverage through Medicaid.
Vukmir Supports Drug Testing For Medicaid Recipients. “Gov. Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin the first state in the country to require able-bodied, childless adults applying for Medicaid health benefits to undergo drug screening, a move that could serve as a national model. […] Republican backer, Sen. Leah Vukmir, defended the approach, saying: ‘We know what to do. We know how to take care of our own.’” [Associated Press, 5/25/17]
- Drug-testing Medicaid recipients hurts the people who need help the most. People with substance abuse disorders will be reluctant to disclose that they use drugs for fear of legal or medical retribution. Making it easier, rather than harder, for those who need substance abuse treatment to access that coverage through Medicaid will help combat the opioid crisis and halt the spread of conditions like HIV and Hepatitis which are spread via intravenous drug use. Drug tests are also a waste of state resources. One study from Florida found that of 4,086 applicants tested over four months, only 2.6 percent failed a drug test. Over four months, this testing regime cost the state $45,780.