Wisconsin Bill Does Little to Protect People with Preexisting Conditions

Monday, June 26, 2017 at 5:54 PM by

Bill Passed by Assembly Fails to Close a Huge Loophole Proposed by Republicans in Congress

One of the many problems with the bill to repeal and partially replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that it would seriously erode the current protections for millions of Americans who have preexisting health conditions. That’s a very unpopular part of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican health care bill, but there’s a lot of confusion about how it undermines coverage for people with chronic health conditions.

The confusion was evident during a late night debate in the Wisconsin legislature last week, when the Assembly passed a bill that would purportedly protect people with preexisting conditions, but which largely misses the mark because it fails to address a huge loophole contained in AHCA. The muddled debate after midnight on June 22nd is a great example of why there needs to be a longer and more open debate about the version of AHCA that was developed behind closed doors in recent weeks. Read more

President Trump’s Budget Would Make it Harder for Wisconsin to Strengthen its Workforce

Monday, June 19, 2017 at 10:49 AM by

President Trump visited the Milwaukee area last week, tweeting that he was “heading to the Great State of Wisconsin to talk about “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” Expanding opportunities for workers and developing the state’s workforce should be a top priority for policymakers at both the state and federal levels, but President Trump’s rhetoric doesn’t match his actions on this issue. His proposed budget makes deep cuts to the federal resources that Wisconsin uses to develop the state’s skilled and work-ready labor force.

Trump jobs tweet

In his visit to Waukesha County Technical College, President Trump emphasized the importance of developing a skilled workforce, declaring that “America must not only teach, but celebrate skilled labor.” But the 2018 budget he proposed would deeply cut federal funding for programs and services that states deliver that are critical for the development of a healthy, well-educated workforce – programs like Medicaid, which helps people with low incomes see a doctor when they need one, and SNAP (previously known as food stamps), which helps people with low incomes put food on the table. Read more

Efforts to Repeal and Replace the ACA Boost the Current Law’s Support

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 5:23 PM by

Polling Shows Public Opposition to House Bill and to Medicaid Changes

The more that Congress extends the debate about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the stronger support gets for the existing law. And as people learn more about the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which is the bill the House passed last month that would repeal and replace the ACA, the more they dislike the House plan.

The latest survey results from the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll show that the majority of Americans, 55 percent, are not pleased with AHCA.   The poll also found that:

  • 55% of the public want the Senate to make major changes to the bill or just not pass it all.
  • Only 31% view the AHCA favorably, vs 49% who view the ACA favorably.
Read more

For Wisconsin, Trump Budget Would Result in an Enormous Cost Shift

Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 12:41 PM by

In addition to making deep cuts in public services, President Trump’s budget would also shift massive costs to Wisconsin at a time when our state is already struggling to meet needs for education, transportation, and other services Wisconsin residents rely on. Wisconsin likely would not be able to take on all the new costs without raising taxes, and would instead cut key investments and services that help Wisconsin families thrive.

The Trump budget would push costs onto Wisconsin for:

SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Last year, SNAP helped 1 million Wisconsin residents – including more than 400,000 children – get enough to eat. One out of every six Wisconsinites got assistance from SNAP last year to put food on the table.

Trump’s budget proposal would make cuts to SNAP that would reduce benefits for some and eliminate them for others. His budget would also push 25% of SNAP benefit costs onto states, a change from the current full federal funding of benefits. Read more

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Trump Budget Demonstrates the Perils of Changing Medicaid

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 5:39 PM by

Medicaid Cut Projected to Be 45% in 2026, and More in Future Years

In order to pay for huge tax cuts for corporations and wealthy Americans, the President is proposing massive Medicaid cuts – far beyond the amounts contained in the House plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Whereas the House-passed bill is now projected to cut Medicaid by $834 billion over the next 10 years, the Trump budget unveiled this week would cut Medicaid by about $1.3 trillion, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).  The following bar graph illustrates how those cuts would get deeper over time. Read more

Negative Effects of the House Health Care Bill Keep Expanding

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 3:17 PM by

[UPDATE — This post was revised on May 3 to reflect the new position of Congressman Fred Upton, who has authored an amendment that might secure enough votes for House passage of the bill on May 4.]

Passage of the House plan to repeal and partially replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would make sweeping changes that negatively affect most Americans. Yet some opponents of the ACA have made the mistaken or disingenuous argument that few people would be affected.

Governor Walker, for example, told reporters on March 8 of this year that repealing and replacing the ACA with Speaker Ryan’s plan would only affect a small percentage of Wisconsinites:

“Most people aren’t going to be affected by this no matter what happens because if you get your health insurance from your employer, which is almost everybody here and almost everybody in this state, nothing changes.”

That assessment was flawed at the time, and since early March it has steadily become more apparent that most Wisconsinites could be adversely affected. Read more

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Wisconsin Schools Benefit Greatly from Federal Medicaid Funds

Monday, April 24, 2017 at 4:02 PM by

House Plans to Cut Medicaid Would Jeopardize Critical Health Services for Students

Wisconsin schools have a lot at stake in the debate about federal support for Medicaid. Even though Wisconsin ranks 19th nationally in the size of its school-age population, our state ranks 7th highest in federal funding for Medicaid services provided by schools.

According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Wisconsin schools received more than $187 million for Medicaid services in 2015, including more than $107 million in federal Medicaid funds. That amount is higher than in all but six other states, despite the fact that Wisconsin ranks near the bottom in total Medicaid spending per child. These figures indicate that Wisconsin schools have done a good job of utilizing federal assistance to support school-based health services.

Medicaid provides health care for more than 1.1 million Wisconsinites, including about 500,000 children, but many people are unaware of its significance for schools. Read more

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Five Ways Trump’s Budget Proposal Would Harm Wisconsin

Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 12:27 PM by

President Trump has released an outline of a federal budget that would make it harder for Wisconsin families to make ends meet, harm the environment, and make it less likely for students to graduate –  leaving the state on the hook to make up some of the difference. His budget won’t do much to “make America great again,” but it would harm Wisconsin residents in very specific ways. Here are five of them:

1. By making it harder for Wisconsin residents to stay warm in the winter. President Trump’s budget eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people with low incomes heat their homes. In 2016, 199,190 people in the state received federal heating assistance to keep their homes heated through the cold Wisconsin winter. President Trump’s budget proposal eliminates that assistance.

2. By making it more difficult for struggling students to keep out of trouble and stay in school. Read more

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Wisconsin Lawmakers Set to Consider Radical Proposal to Amend U.S. Constitution

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 6:28 AM by

State lawmakers in Wisconsin are seeking to pass a resolution that calls for a convention to make drastic changes to the U.S. Constitution. If enough states join this effort, delegates to such a convention could have wide-ranging authority to make amendments to the constitution with very little in the way of external controls on what they are enabled to do.

The idea of a Constitutional Convention sounds far-fetched. After all, the last time there was a similar convention was in 1787, when delegates who were charged with amending the Articles of Confederation instead wrote an entirely new government document. But groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are pushing for a convention, and in the past few years several states have adopted resolutions calling for one. Resolutions in 34 states are needed for a convention to be called, and so far 29 states have passed some version of a resolution. Read more

Federal Cuts Could Harm Wide Array of Wisconsin’s Critical Public Services

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 10:59 AM by

When Wisconsin residents drive on the highway, send their child off to school, or go to the doctor, they are benefitting from federal money spent in Wisconsin that supports a broad range of services. Under a new Congress, Wisconsin may be at risk of losing some of that federal money, making it more difficult for Wisconsin to provide the services that make the state a great place to live, work, and do business.

Wisconsin’s two-year budget that runs from July 2015 to June 2017 includes $21 billion in federal spending. In fact, out of every dollar the state spends in the budget, 29¢ comes from the federal government. Keep in mind that amount, though significant, understates the importance of federal money coming into the state. That’s because that $21 billion figure doesn’t include billions in federal resources that are delivered directly to Wisconsin residents or companies, such as Social Security payments, defense contracts, and the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Read more

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