Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by

Trump called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “a complete and total disaster”, issuing a decree to begin unraveling the ACA. Then Trump’s henchmen reduced enrollment advertising and publicity. All the while Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker kept up his relentless drumbeat to discredit and repeal the ACA. Paul Ryan joined the confab, saying the ACA was in a “death spiral”. Bottom line – Trump, Walker and Ryan want to keep their taxpayer supported health care coverage, while repealing the ACA and throwing the sick onto the streets. Nearly 30 million regular folks, including 431,000 Wisconsinites, would lose health coverage (Urban Institute).

Despite GOP deceptive opposition and roadblocks the ACA continues to enroll millions. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released near-final ACA enrollment figures for 2017: 9.2 million, including 242,863 Wisconsinites, on the federal marketplace, while incomplete tabulation shows nearly 3 million on the 11 state marketplaces. Total – 12 million. It gets better: Green Bay / Appleton – 50,734; La Crosse / Eau Claire – 20,044; Madison – 36,958; Milwaukee 95,195; and Wausau / Rhinelander – 22,576 (thank you Dave Obey).

All the lies and misinformation pitched about the ACA can’t hide its success. Moreover, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office came to the same conclusion as the Urban Institute: ACA repeal will result in a catastrophic rise in the uninsured. All the GOP talk about “replacement” of the ACA is hot air. There is no GOP plan to keep affordable quality coverage for the millions who have it under ACA. What is this all about?

Democracy cannot function let alone survive without objective and trusted information. Trump and Walker (enabled by Ryan) act as if deception is equivalent to reality. More to the point pathological lying – compulsive and habitual – is the norm for Trump and Walker (I put Ryan in the boyish, disingenuous category). But pathological liars are not common, so most are not prepared upon meeting the real deal.

No wonder Trump and Walker have bamboozled voters. Trump is a loud-mouthed showman who lies about everything, e.g., saving jobs at Carrier, “draining the swamp” with his plutocratic cabinet appointments, winning the popular vote (“illegals” voted for Clinton) and being on the cover of Time magazine more than anyone else. Walker, a low-key smooth talker, is just as much of a faker, e.g., pretending that he campaigned in 2010 to end collective bargaining for public employees (despite a video contradicting him), enacting a so-called right-to-work law after claiming he would not (now he wants to work with Trump on taking Act 10 and right-to-work national) and remember Walker’s acting as if he didn’t know Obama is a Christian.

But voters are looking behind the curtains. Opposition is building against Trump and Walker. A little advice: build a “big tent” progressive Democratic party, don’t emulate Trump and Walker by hating or lying, listen to rural Wisconsinites, run for office, give money to candidates and most of all, vote in 2018. It’s our best chance to save Wisconsin and the nation.

Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

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