Local Health Care Advocates Join Protect Our Care to Call for an End to GOP Attacks on Wisconsinites’ Health Care

State Sen. LaTonya Johnson speaks in Milwaukee.

WISCONSIN – Today, Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour arrived in Wisconsin to call attention to the ongoing Republican war on health care. Joined by State Senators Chris Larson and LaTonya Johnson, State Representative Amanda Stuck, Assistant District Attorney Beau Liegeois, and cancer survivor Laura Packard, events in Milwaukee and Green Bay highlighted the actions Republicans are trying to harm Wisconsinites’ care and called on Attorney General Brad Schimel to work instead to protect our care.

“Not having health care is something that I know all too well. I didn’t have health care before being elected to the state legislature,” said LaTonya Johnson. “Six months after being sworn in, I was diagnosed with a tumor. Rather than being distraught about my medical diagnosis, I remember being so overly excited because I had health care – because had that happened six months earlier, I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor to find out what was wrong because I could not afford one more medical bill.

“Our Republican colleagues have done just about everything they can to sabotage the Affordable Care Act… It is time that we say enough is enough.”

State Senator Johnson’s comments were echoed by State Senator Larson and State Representative Stuck.

“Everyone has a health care story,” said Sen. Larson, who explained his inability to get coverage as a young man with asthma and the constant attacks Republicans have undertaken on those with pre-existing conditions. “Now that we’ve called them out on eliminating the vital protection that is ensuring people with pre-existing conditions get covered, now they’re saying, We’ll catch you, trust us. I don’t know about you, but I for one sure as hell don’t believe them, and I’m not willing to bet my life, my family’s life, my constituents’ life or the lives of my Wisconsin neighbors on it. That’s why we’re here. Unlike Attorney General Schimel and State Senator Vukmir, we want to make sure that no Wisconsinite ever has to lie in bed worrying about their health care and what tomorrow might bring.”

State Rep. Amanda Stuck speaks in front of Care Force One in Green Bay.

“This bill was a savior for so many people and made a difference in so many lives,” said Rep. Stuck about the ACA. “I’ve never had one constituent write or call me to say, Please take away my health care… We should be moving forward, looking at how we can cover more people, not going back in time.”

The stakes of the bus tour were made clear by Packard.

“I’m alive because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Packard. “I’m a stage four cancer survivor and I’m on this tour to defend our attacks against the GOP. President Trump may have blocked me on Twitter, but he can’t stop me and the American people from fighting to protect our care.”

State Senators Johnson and Larson, State Representative Stuck, and Packard were joined by Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action Wisconsin, who discussed the difficulties in obtaining care before the ACA was signed into law; Scott Trindl, who spoke of living with a pre-existing and what would happen if the lawsuit Attorney General Schimel is on seeking to overturn the law succeeds; and Assistant District Attorney Beau Liegeois, who spoke about the Republican health care sabotage campaign and what health repeal would mean for Wisconsinites.

At today’s events, Wisconsin residents, health care advocates, elected officials, and members of Protect Our Care detailed the numbers ways in which Republicans have attacked health care, and how these actions have cut coverage and increased costs for Wisconsinites. Because of the Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda:

  • Wisconsinites will see their premiums rise by an average of 3.5 percent next year. It’s expected that 40 year old Wisconsinites would face paying an extra $1,450 for marketplace coverage in 2019 because of sabotage of the ACA.
  • In Wisconsin, out of pocket costs for older people could have increased by as much as $12,249 by 2026 if the House-passed American Health Care Act had become law.
  • More than 80,000 Wisconsinites have been denied access to affordable health coverage through Republican state officials’ refusal to expand Medicaid.
  • 216,000 Wisconsinites who have obtained health insurance through the ACA marketplace could lose their coverage if a judge sides with Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, President Trump and the GOP in their lawsuit; and protections for 2.4 million Wisconsinites living with a pre-existing condition would be in jeopardy.
  • Hundreds of billions of dollars have been cut from Medicare.
  • Dozens of hospitals in rural areas, including Franciscan Skemp Medical Center (2011) in Wisconsin, have closed exacerbating the care and coverage gaps that exist for families in America’s rural communities.
  • Brad Schimel is a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act who has vowed to try to repeal the law. Although he claims to support protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Schimel was one of the first state attorneys general to join lawsuit that would roll back that coverage and eliminate the protections for pre-existing conditions that exist in the ACA. Schimel’s participation in the suit puts the health of the 2.4 million Wisconsinites living with a pre-existing condition at risk and would take us back to the days when insurers routinely denied coverage or charged unaffordable premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, including cancer, asthma, and hypertension.
  • Leah Vukmir supports a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Vukmir also supports the Trump administration’s lawsuit that could cause as many as 2.4 million Wisconsinites with a pre-existing condition to lose their care, calling it a “necessary step.

 

Tomorrow, “Care Force One” will head to Madison, where Protect Our Care will be joined by Mayor Paul Soglin, former State Representative Mandela Barnes, and State Representative Christine Taylor. For more information, please visit protectourcarebustour.com.