Setting the Record Straight on Pre-Existing Conditions

Note: an earlier draft of this article was accidentally sent out late last week, before final proofs were made by both parties. I regret the error, but appreciate Mary working with me in good faith to address an important issue for the district. Thank you!

At a legislative forum in September this year, a statement that I made about pre-existing conditions was misunderstood and has since been publicized throughout the district. I would like the chance to clear up this misunderstanding. Following is a press release that I wrote with Mary Hoeft clarifying what I meant.

Mary Hoeft: 

Americans with pre-existing conditions have reason to be afraid. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, they may soon face exorbitant premiums that make the purchase of health insurance impossible. Republicans and Democrats must work together on the issue of affordable insurance. The common good of the people of Wisconsin must take precedence over party affiliation.

At a forum at the UW-Barron County, I asked Representative Romaine Quinn to promise he would fight to guarantee affordable insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. Romaine paused before responding “NO.” A sigh of disbelief went through the audience as Romaine explained that everything would depend on how much federal money states received from the government.

I wrote about Romaine’s response in an article that appeared in newspapers throughout the district. Romaine read my article and called to say the audience had misunderstood him.

Romaine was my student at the university and he is my friend. In a bipartisan spirit, we decided to write this joint letter.

The legislation Rep. Quinn references below, AB365, does not address the issue of affordability. Representative Quinn and all Republicans in the State Assembly voted “No” on a bill introduced by Rep. Reimer (D) that offered such assurance. And so I ask, one more time, “Romaine, will you work, in a bipartisan manner, to gain support for legislation that offers affordable insurance for those with pre-existing conditions?”


Romaine Quinn:  

When Mary asked her question, I should have said, “I already voted to protect people with pre-existing conditions.” In June, the Assembly passed an amended version of AB 365. As passed, AB 365 prevented health care companies from imposing a pre-existing condition exclusion. It also instructed the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance to assist individuals with pre-existing conditions in finding coverage. This is an important first step to ensuring folks are able to maintain coverage.

Before I vote on legislation or make a promise, I need to be able to evaluate its impact. I can’t commit myself to legislation or possibly a potential solution before being able to examine all the details. Until the federal government finalizes its changes to our healthcare system, I am unable to guarantee the state’s role.

Mary is a Democrat. I am a Republican. We are writing this letter together because we agree that health care is crucial. As your representative, I will work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect people with pre-existing conditions from exorbitant costs. If the Affordable Care Act is not repealed, we must also work to lower the costs for people who have seen their premiums skyrocket since its passage.

Like many of you, I have family and friends with pre-existing conditions. I want nothing more than for them to be able to get the care they need at an affordable price. Unfortunately, various groups have taken my answer as an opportunity to characterize me as heartless. I want to thank Mary for working with me on this issue.

Listening Sessions

I will once again be holding listening sessions in the district to get your input on issues facing the legislature and district. We had some great discussions earlier this year and I hope everyone will join me to discuss legislative goals they'd like to see for the New Year.

The sessions will be:

  • December 8, 5:30 - 6:30 pm at the Birchwood Senior Citizen Center (110 Euclid Avenue, Birchwood)
  • December 9, 10:00 - 11:00 am at the Turtle Lake Village Hall (114 Martin Avenue East, Turtle Lake)


Want a Blue Book?

Blue Books 2017.jpgWe have lots of Blue Books and road maps in my office - would you like one? Blue Books are full of great information about state government: biographies of legislators, information on state agencies, and more! I'm happy to drop one off with you personally. To request either a Blue Book or map, please call my office phone toll-free at (888) 534-0075 or email rep.quinn@legis.wisconsin.gov.

Thank you to all who have written or called to voice their opinions or ask questions. My office is always open, and your feedback truly helps guide my thinking.

State Capitol Room 323 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708

(888) 534-0075

Email: Rep.Quinn@legis.wisconsin.gov

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