Washington DC — Tonight in Wausau, health care champion, Senator Tammy Baldwin will debate Leah Vukmir, a repeal crusader who supports ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions for the second time. Tonight’s debate will confirm what Wisconsinites already know, Leah Vukmir’s career as a nurse cannot conceal 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:
“Let’s be clear, Leah Vukmir will not defend Wisconsinites’ health care. Although Vukmir claims she supports keeping protections for people with pre-existing conditions, she has turned her back on Wisconsinites at every opportunity to do so. Whether it’s supporting the Trump-GOP lead lawsuit to gut protections for pre-existing conditions, refusing to take action at the state level against the Trump administration’s junk plan rule or opposing Medicaid expansion, Leah Vukmir’s extreme views would be a disaster for the health care of Wisconsinites.”
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]
Though Leah Vukmir claims she supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions, saying “patients with pre-existing conditions should be covered,” she has turned her back on Wisconsinites at every opportunity to do so.
- Vukmir refuses to stand against a lawsuit designed to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This summer, the Trump Administration refused to defend against a lawsuit brought by twenty conservative states aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Leah Vukmir refuses to speak against this lawsuit, instead calling it a “necessary step.”
- Vukmir refuses to take action at the state level against the Trump administration’s junk plan and association plan rules that let insurance companies discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. This summer, the Trump Administration finalized a junk plan rule and an association plan rule that allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Experts warn that these moves will only increase the cost of comprehensive care, ultimately making it even harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get the care they need. Twenty-one states have taken or are taking action to limit the harmful effects of these junk plans, but Vukmir refuses to do the same for Wisconsin.
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]