WisDems: Scott Walker’s phony promise on health care shows he’s flailing down the home stretch

Contact: Alex Japko, alexj@wisdems.org

Scott Walker’s long strange trip on health care reached an absurd conclusion yesterday.

After weeks of squirming on the issue of pre-existing conditions coverage, and eight years of vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act “lock, stock, and barrel”, Walker inexplicably said that he supported enacting a state-level law that had the “exact same language” as the Affordable Care Act on pre-existing conditions. Or maybe it’s not so inexplicable when you remember that’s he’s a typical politician desperate to save his political career and distract from his long record of undermining access to health care.

Here are just a few of the major problems with Walker’s sudden empty promise:

  • He is still suing to end the ACA and its protections for pre-existing conditions: Wisconsin is still part of the lawsuit to end federal protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Walker has repeatedly refused to pull out of the lawsuit despite multiple challenges from Tony Evers to do so. Walker has not explained why he must repeal the ACA only to reinstate it at the state level–because it’s nothing more than a last minute flail from a typical politician.
  • He has a loooong record of opposing every part of the ACA, including these protections: Walker called the ACA a “disaster” that should be repealed “lock, stock, and barrel.” During his short-lived presidential bid, he promised to repeal the ACA on day one. Watch a highlight reel of his criticism here.

  • A state-level plan wouldn’t actually protect everyone: Federal law prohibits states from regulating private self-insured plans. Removing the ACA would exempt those plans from requirements to cover pre-existing conditions.

  • He can’t get the plan passed: Walker already failed to get a much less comprehensive plan passed last spring. Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald cast serious doubt about the passage of the skimpier plan just a few weeks ago. Both Fitzgerald and Assembly Leader Robin Vos refused to comment on the ability to push through the new broader plan. Not an auspicious sign.

  • It would cost Wisconsin more: Instead of getting federal subsidies to help keep the cost of covering pre-existing conditions lower, Wisconsin would have to spend its own tax dollars. Experts have said that would be “a heavy lift.”

  • He didn’t even tell his own running mate about it: Just hours before Walker’s comments, his running mate, Rebecca Kleefisch was toutingthe failed bill from last spring as Walker’s plan for pre-existing conditions. Walker was even at the event with her. And just hours later, Walker was telling reporters he had a completely different plan. Either Walker had not really planned to change policies, or he’s keeping his running mate in the dark about his plans. Neither scenario inspires a lot of confidence in their leadership going forward.

With so many problems and contradictions, it’s clear for Walker, this is a last ditch, poorly executed effort to stop the bleeding on the top issue in this race. It’s days like yesterday that are exactly why this week’s Marquette poll showed Walker losing by thirty points with voters who say health care is their top issue.

“Scott Walker’s last-minute empty promises and lies simply underscore how Wisconsin families cannot trust him to protect their health coverage or protections for pre-existing conditions,” said DPW spokesperson Alex Japko. “If Walker actually cared about protecting the people of his state more than his own political ambition, he’d pull the state out of the lawsuit that guts pre-existing condition protections today. He has no credibility on this issue, and Wisconsin voters will see through his desperate flailing.”

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