UpFront: Nygren expects lawmakers to take up pre-existing conditions protections in ’19

The Assembly co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee said he expects lawmakers to take up a health care bill in 2019 that could implement some key protections currently available under Obamacare

“I believe it will be one of the first things out of the gate,” state Rep. John Nygren said in an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

The Marinette Republican said the bill — being written by a lawmaker he did not identify — could address some concerns of people worried they might lose coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

A federal judge in Texas this month struck down the entire ACA in a lawsuit Wisconsin joined under outgoing GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel.

Nygren said the Wisconsin bill could address popular ACA provisions such as young people being able to stay on their family’s insurance until they turn 26.

“This is something we should find some common ground on, as Republicans and Democrats, and address for the people of Wisconsin,” he said.

Nygren, who serves as co-chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, also said lawmakers writing the state’s next biennial budget might not necessarily work from the budget Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers submits to the Legislature.

“I think Tony Evers will have the opportunity to make the case for his budget, travel the state and promote it, and the Republicans in the Legislature will have the exact same opportunity,” Nygren said.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to have to negotiate to be able to pass something,” he said.

Also on the program, Racine Mayor Cory Mason said he thinks some critics of Foxconn might come around to the development as it moves forward and provides jobs in Wisconsin.

“As time goes by, the project gets built out, people start to see it go up, I think you are going to see people change their opinions about it,” Mason said.

Many Wisconsin Democrats opposed the state’s nearly $3 billion deal to bring the Taiwanese tech giant to Racine County. The company is building a huge campus in Mount Pleasant that eventually could employ up to 13,000 people.

Mason, a Democrat, voted for the deal when he served in the Assembly. He said it will be “transformative” for Racine.

In another segment, Milwaukee Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Polenske said ridership on the city’s new streetcar system has surpassed projections and The Hop, as it’s known, is “off to a very good start.”

Polenske said initial estimates projected an average of 1,800 riders per day. Since the streetcar started operations in early November, ridership has averaged nearly 2,300 people per day, he said.

“There’s still a sense of newness. People are coming down to see it, and ride it, kind of better understand it,” he said.

See more from the program.