Assembly Republicans to amend pre-existing conditions bill to ban annual and lifetime limits

QUORUM CALL

Assembly Republicans are planning to introduce an amendment to the pre-existing conditions bill that “mirrors” the Affordable Care Act’s provisions banning annual and lifetime caps, according to the bill’s authors.

But the amendment won’t include language on essential health benefits, a change Gov. Tony Evers pushed for in a meeting with GOP legislative leaders last week.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, told reporters ahead of the chamber’s first floor period of the session the topic falls outside the focus of the pre-existing condition legislation.

“We’re trying to listen, we’re trying to accommodate where we can, but also stick to our principles, which are focusing on just the topic that we all campaigned on and then trying to make sure we address the problems that are real,” he said.

Vos’ comments came after he and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, met with Evers last week to discuss potential changes to the legislation. The guv sent out a series of tweets following the meeting highlighting changes he wants to see to the bill, including language covering essential health benefits and addressing annual and lifetime limits.

He also wrote he’d refuse to sign a bill “that fails to fully protect Wisconsinites like me who have pre-existing conditions.”

Vos said he hasn’t had a chance to hold a follow-up meeting with Evers to discuss the amendment, but added he and Fitzgerald, as well as the bill’s authors from both chambers, have discussed the language.

Evers’ spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a request for comment about the amendment.

The pre-existing conditions bill cleared an Assembly panel last week with Dem support. But committee members didn’t consider any amendments to the legislation in order to give Evers and GOP legislative leaders a chance to consider potential changes.

Vos also told reporters today Republicans will give Evers until Feb. 28 to release his budget. The guv had asked lawmakers to give him until March 5.

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