MADISON, Wis.— As millions more Wisconsinites become eligible for the COVID vaccine, the same week Americans celebrated the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Opportunity Wisconsin and Protect Our Care Wisconsin sat down with two Badger State physicians on Facebook LIVE to discuss the progress being made in the fight against the pandemic and how the American Rescue Plan is making healthcare more affordable and accessible.
Dr. Julia Kyle, a pediatric and primary care physician at Confluence Healthcare in Eau Claire, talked about the healthcare savings many of her patients will see thanks to the American Rescue Plan: “It’s a make or break. That may be a month’s rent payment. That’s food for a couple of months. For a diabetic, that’s a couple months of insulin.”
Wisconsinites earning up to 150% of the federal poverty level can now access health care coverage with $0 premiums. Wisconsin workers on unemployment insurance at any point in 2021 will also have access to care for $0. Many other families will see their monthly insurance premium payments drop due to a new 8.5% cap on premium prices. For example, a 60-year-old couple with a household income of $75,000 could save $1,389 in monthly premiums.
Dr. Rachel Hughes, a Madison area emergency physician and Opportunity Wisconsin steering committee member, questioned how Senator Ron Johnson could claim to be focused on our economy while voting against the American Rescue Plan, “I don’t think anyone who’s opposed to this legislation could potentially be for the economy and the real economic situation Wisconsinites are facing right now…When we’re all suffering and we’re all dealing with this horrible healthcare emergency, it’s a very important time to look at the impact of healthcare on our economy.”
In 2017, Senator Johnson helped lead an effort in the Senate to strip healthcare coverage away from Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions which could now include people who survived the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, Senator Johnson voted against the American Rescue Plan which reduces healthcare costs.