The Problem: The Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, dramatically raised
prices for health insurance and increased taxes. When Republicans like Senator Ron
Johnson and conservative legal foundations pushed to repeal Obamacare or its most
harmful provisions, Democrats attempted to scare voters by saying this would also
eliminate the most popular provision in Obamacare – the ban on insurance companies
denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. According to the Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel, “Evers campaigned heavily against former Gov. Scott Walker’s
authorization to join a federal lawsuit to overturn the federal law, and attributes the issue
to his win over Walker,” despite Governor Walker’s support for legislation protecting
people with pre-existing health conditions.

The Solution: In 2019 and 2021, Assembly Republicans passed state legislation to
protect insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The bills would have
required health insurers to cover pre-existing health conditions and ban them from
dropping coverage for those who exceed caps on annual or lifetime coverage amounts.
The law would have been triggered if Congress or the courts overturned Obamacare.
Governor Evers threatened to veto the Assembly Republican legislation if it reached his
desk and the Senate chose not to forward the bills. Assembly Bill 1 in 2019 passed the
chamber on a 76-19 vote with 16 Democrats joining Republicans in advancing the bill.
In the 2021 session, the vote in the Assembly on AB 34 was unanimous even though
Governor Evers again threatened to veto the legislation. It seems that the Governor is
more interested in maintaining his ability to scare voters for political advantage than in
solving the problem. In 2023, the legislature and a new Governor should put this
concern to rest by passing legislation protecting coverage for people with pre-existing
health conditions.

 

Resources:
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/22/wisconsin-legislature-pre-existing-conditions-bill-set-vote/2636917002/

https://madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/wisconsin-lawmakers-ok-bills-on-holocaust-education-sex-assault-kits-vaccine-administration/article_f0a04132-8da8-5f4d-b72d-3d3b444a8817.html

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