By Caroline Kubzansky
Former second lady Jill Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris condemned the Trump administration’s efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act on a Zoom call today.
The two reaffirmed Democratic support for the ACA on behalf of the presumptive Dem presidential nominee Joe Biden. State Rep. Robyn Vining, D-Wauwatosa, joined Harris and Biden on the call, where they listened to two Wisconsin women’s experiences with the program.
The call, advertised as a Milwaukee event, underscored the importance of the ACA, a flagship achievement of the Obama administration, to the 2020 campaign. It also signaled Dems’ eagerness to engage Wisconsinites in Biden’s 2020 operation, which has set its sights on Wisconsin as an essential state to win come November.
Harris, D-Calif, also slammed Attorney General William Barr’s recent move to file briefs against the ACA with the Supreme Court as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on.
“People are dying, but Donald Trump is prioritizing his political prospects and playing games,” Harris said. “Americans are counting on the ACA to protect them in the pandemic.”
Speaking on the call, Wisconsinite Julie Buckholdt said she takes 19 medications to manage her various autoimmune conditions, including lupus. One of those medications costs $16,000 each week, she said.
“We were worried about the lifetime cap; we would have gone bankrupt [without the ACA],” she said.
The former second lady told Buckholdt to “hang on” for the last four months before the election, and that Biden would make sure the ACA endured to cover her medical costs.
Jennie Neary discussed how the ACA helped her family care for her son when he underwent chemotherapy in 2016 for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Neary recalled her rage and anxiety in 2016 at the triumphs of President Trump and other lawmakers who promised to dismantle the ACA, including her own U.S. senator.
“Ron Johnson had the audacity to compare my son to a wrecked car,” she said, referring to Johnson’s comment that insurance companies shouldn’t have to cover people with preexisting conditions. “My son is not a wrecked car. He is a survivor, and that should be celebrated, and not punished.”