November 20, 2013
Legislatively Speaking: Moving Forward with Obamacare
By Senator Lena C. Taylor
On November 19th, I hosted a town hall meeting regarding the Affordable Care Act. My mission was to help my constituents work through their problems and frustrations regarding their enrollment in the national program. At the town hall meeting, I got the opportunity to hear my constituents out; I understood their frustrations and concerns, and sympathized with them. At the town hall meeting, I addressed the importance of the ways in which we carry forward. The people of Wisconsin deserve health care; we must remain positive- we cannot give up on the affordable care act!
Make no mistake; there are still powerful opponents to the Affordable Care Act, including Governor Walker. Governor Walker has spent the least amount of money out of every state to promote the act; The Governor has gone so far as to even decline federal funds for Medicaid that would strengthen Badger Care. Had Walker accepted those funds, Wisconsin would be able to insure over 100,000 more people than under the plan he continues to push. Governor Walker has chosen to put his dissimilar views with the President ahead of what is best for his people; he has chosen to reject federal funds instead of saving taxpayers $120 million dollars and creating 10,000 jobs in our state. Walker boasts about his property tax cut bill, yet fails to bring further tax breaks when it comes to healthcare! Wisconsin taxpayers should not have to cough up their well-earned money over Governor Walker’s reckless and politically motivated decisions.
The federal funds Governor Walker could have accepted would save thousands of families from being dropped by Badger Care. Governor Walker claims he is “fixing” the health care crisis in Wisconsin by extending Badger Care termination dates to 2014, so those affected have time to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. Extending Badger Car does not “fix” anything; it merely delays kicking nearly 90,000 people off of their health care plans, costs the people of Wisconsin more, and insures fewer. Had Governor Walker accepted federal funds from the beginning, there would be no crisis for thousands of Wisconsin families! When you do the right thing the first time, you don’t have to fix anything.
Do not forget that just last month, the Republican Party was willing to shut the government down and threaten our economy to kill the Affordable Care Act. Governor Walker’s irresponsible decisions reflect his attachment to the Republican Party over the people of Wisconsin. Governor Walker needs to reassess his loyalties; it is disappointing the governor of our state is choosing the Tea Party over the people in his budget.
On a more positive note- I hold hope in the moral integrity of the Democratic Party. Democratic senators and representatives alike persist to fight for the progression and equality of health care in America despite the many attacks from the right. We do this because we know better. We know that over 43,000 young people in Wisconsin have been able to stay on their parents insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, and that our parents and grandparents on Medicare have already saved over $125 million on prescription drug costs in Wisconsin. We know that over 2 million people in Wisconsin have some type of pre-existing condition- and next year- the insurance companies will no longer be able to charge us more because we have a pre-existing condition.
I understand my constituents concerns and know that the best way to get through this crisis is by sticking alongside the Affordable Care Act. With any big transition, challenges will arise. We need to get through these challenges because health care is important. Going forward, I hope I can be a resource to help facilitate this transition and combat the unforgiving choices of Governor Walker. When the Wisconsin Legislature goes into special session, I will once again ask the Governor to put the people first, and accept the expansion of Medicaid to strengthen Badger Care! The people of Wisconsin must get the coverage they need and deserve. "He who is faithful in a very little thing, is also faithful in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing, is also unrighteous in much” (Luke 16:10). As always, I am here to serve!