Changes to Wisconsin Healthcare Law

Healthcare was a major campaign issue during the recent November mid-term elections.  In particular, incoming Democratic Governor Tony Evers ran on a platform of overhauling healthcare delivery in the state and undoing some of outgoing Republican Governor Scott Walker’s signature health-care policy and proposals.

However, despite Evers’ platform, uncertainty continues to hang over healthcare in Wisconsin and how far he can take his proposed reforms.  That uncertainty has been compounded by the State Assembly and Senate “lame duck” sessions.

Some fundamental healthcare issues at stake include:

  • Allowing Republican lawmakers to push through Governor Walker’s proposal to impose work requirements on able-bodied citizens in return for receiving Medicaid, similar to Arizona. [1]
  • Governor-elect Evers ability to use additional tax dollars offered by the federal government to expand Medicaid, while outgoing Governor Walker rejected the opportunity to do so. [2]
  • In February this year, 20 states, including Wisconsin (with the full support of Governor Walker) filed a lawsuit with a federal judge in Texas alleging the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and should be invalidated. [3] In stark contrast, Evers has called on Walker to drop the lawsuit and is committed to expanding ACA coverage in Wisconsin. [4] & [5]

In mid-2017, Democratic State Representative Daniel Reimer and State Senator Jon Erpenbach introduced Assembly Bill 365 in an effort to “…protect the part of the ACA that prevents insurers from putting annual or lifetime caps on insurance coverage.” [6] However, the Republican majority amended AB365 at the procedural stage and morphed the Bill into something very different from what its Democratic authors had intended, to the potential detriment of those Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. [7]

Healthcare in Wisconsin remains contentious and subject to a partisan fault-line that seems to divide the state.

[1]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/12/able-bodied-adults-have-work-medicaid-under-plan-gov-scott-walker-trump/1026414001

[2]  https://www.wpr.org/can-wisconsins-incoming-governor-deliver-campaign-health-care-promises

[3]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/money/business/health-care/2018/09/10/wisconsin-and-other-states-argue-immediate-end-obamacare-least-protections-people-pre-existing-healt/1259251002

[4]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/09/17/tony-evers-calls-scott-walker-drop-obamcare-lawsuit/1333835002

[5]  https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/28/tony-evers-tour-state-he-makes-case-obamacare-expansion/2143408002

[6]  http://www.wisconsinbudgetproject.org/wisconsin-bill-does-little-to-protect-people-with-preexisting-conditions

[7]  http://kidsforward.net/without-the-affordable-care-act-promises-to-cover-pre-existing-conditions-are-not-enough

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