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WisDems: So, Leah Vukmir wants to be on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
Vukmir’s record on Wisconsin’s Assembly and Senate Health committees shows that she’s always put powerful insurance companies and corporate special interests over everyday Wisconsinites
MADISON — Last week, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir announced that, if elected to the Senate, she would like to serve on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), because of its oversight of matters of health care and education, adding, that they are “probably my two passions.”
Though that should be a cause for concern for every Wisconsinite given Vukmir’s legislative record, there’s little doubt that powerful insurance companies would be elated to have Vukmir representing their interests on the HELP Committee, as Vukmir has consistently worked to let insurers deny coverage to Wisconsinites in need.
With that in mind, here’s a look at a sampling of Vukmir’s actions on Wisconsin state Assembly and Senate Health Committees that she believes have earned her a promotion to the U.S. Senate’s HELP committee:
- Vukmir blocked oral chemotherapy coverage bill — In 2011, Vukmir, as Senate Health Committee chair sided with insurance companies in refusing to hold a hearing or vote on bill requiring insurers to cover oral chemotherapy. In 2014, Vukmir again sided with insurance companies, as the only Senator to twice oppose a bipartisan, Gov. Scott Walker-signed bill that required insurance companies to cover Wisconsinites’ oral chemotherapy treatments.
- Vukmir blocked multiple bills to improve and increase funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia care, treatment, and research — During the 2015-2016 biennial, Vukmir, as chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, allowed multiple bills to die in her committee, without holding a hearing or vote, including 2015 Assembly Bill 283, 2015 Assembly Bill 785, 2015 Assembly Bill 788, 2015 Assembly Bill 791, and 2015 Assembly Bill 284.
- Vukmir blocked at least 3 bills to expand mental health and substance abuse coverage — During the 2007-2008 biennial, Vukmir, then chair of the Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform, blocked at least three mental health and substance abuse coverage expansion bills, letting them die in her committee and refusing to so much as hold a public hearing for two of the three measures.
- Vukmir blocked bill to ban conversion therapy — Vukmir, as Health and Human Services Committee chair, during the 2017-2018 biennial refused to hold a hearing or vote on a bill banning harmful and widely discredited conversion therapy for people under the age of 18.
- BONUS: It isn’t a Senate or Assembly Health Committee, but Vukmir skipped 70% of Opioid Task Force Meetings — As a member of the Governor’s Opioid Task Force, Vukmir failed to attend all but 3 of 10 meetings (attending two others via phone, but failing to substantively participate). Vukmir’s excuse? We’re still waiting on that.
- ALSO OF NOTE: Where “Labor” in HELP is concerned, Vukmir has been a leader in undercutting Wisconsin working families — Vukmir has opposed minimum wage increases, fought to reduce Wisconsin workers’ wages, opposed equal pay laws, and championed Wisconsin’s right-to-work-for-less law, among other things.
Health care is on the ballot this November, and Leah Vukmir has consistently sided with her corporate special interest backers over everyday Wisconsinites. Vukmir would vote to let insurance companies write their own rules, and she’d be the deciding vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut protections for Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. Leah Vukmir is not on our side.