Just one day before the Senate version of Trumpcare is released to the public, after weeks of being drafted in secret, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, Rep. Chris Taylor, and Wisconsin health insurance consumers held a press call to discuss the high cost of repealing the Affordable Care Act and the life-saving benefits the come with it.
“Tomorrow, supposedly, a revised version of this bill will finally be revealed publicly for the first time. Because it’s really been hatched behind closed doors – the public has not had a chance to participate, there have been no hearings, no input from experts, there’s been no testimony by those most impacted, and the full Senate is expected to vote on this secret bill in about a week,” Representative. Chris Taylor said on this morning’s call.
“Members of the GOP preparing to run for U.S. Senate have almost universally stayed silent on this issue. Only hedge fund manager Eric Hovde has openly said he would have voted for the House bill. Just like Hovde, all of those considering a run for U.S. Senate should have to tell the voters now whether they support the House plan. Do they stand with Wisconsin’s own Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill?”
The Senate version of Trumpcare, based on the version that passed the U.S. House, will likely still undermine protections for children and adults with pre-existing conditions, insure 23 million fewer people by 2026, force older Wisconsinites to pay an “Age Tax,” hurt service in rural areas, and fork over a massive tax giveaway to millionaires, billionaires, and corporations.
Naturally, with such a large threat to their health care looming, Wisconsinites are imploring Senate Republicans to keep the Affordable Care Act.
Denny Rauen, a small business owner from Milwaukee, started buying his own health insurance when he started a business 37 years ago. Denny never missed a payment but would have to change insurance carriers every two years to avoid rising fees and inflated rates. Denny had severe headaches and his doctor recommended a scan in case it was a brain tumor. After his scan revealed he did not have a tumor, his insurance company labeled his headaches a pre-existing condition and refused to cover his costs – forcing Denny to pay thousands out of his own pocket.
“At the end of the day I had to pay all those bills and to add insult to injury I still had to pay those monthly premiums. Once the ACA came along, insurance companies weren’t able to label me with a pre-existing condition,” said Denny. “I’m covered. If I have a headache or I need a brain scan I’m going to go in and it’s going to be covered.”
Molly Hilligoss from La Crosse
has a four-year-old son with a mild form of cerebral palsy. Molly’s son is able to function in is his everyday physical life, but still, he participates in physical therapy for the weakness and spasticity caused by cerebral palsy to help him with his everyday functionality.
“He has struggled to get dressed by himself, or get his shoes on, or pull his shirt over his head – and I think the work with his physical therapist really helps him gain those skills and the confidence to work on those issues,” said Molly. “The reason why he’s able to get the physical therapy is that there is a provision within the Affordable Care Act that mandates rehabilitative services. […] For any kid with special needs, I think rehabilitative care is probably the most important thing for families when they’re thinking about how their child is going to gain independence.”
Democrats will continue fighting to protect health care for all Americans while Republicans continue to play politics with people’s lives.
“If Republicans in the Senate and Gov. Walker actually think Trumpcare is a great idea for the rest of the nation, it’s incumbent upon the legislature to act as soon as we possibly can, if the Senate does pass this and it does become law, to protect Wisconsinites and ensure that everyone in our state can get the kind of care that they need and they deserve,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach.
The Health Care Protection Package co-sponsored by Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Daniel Riemer contains five proposals to protect care for children, families, and seniors. It includes:
- Prohibiting lifetime and annual limits under health insurance policies and plans;
- Prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusion and rate setting based on pre-existing conditions;
- Requiring coverage and prohibiting cost sharing for preventive services under health insurance policies and plans;
- Coverage of certain essential health benefits and;
- Maintaining access to reimbursements to family planning providers in the Medical Assistance Program