Contact: Joe Zepecki
WISCONSIN — Today, Governor Tony Evers joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin for a virtual discussion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the 11th anniversary of it being signed into law by President Barack Obama. Evers was joined by speakers from La Crosse, Green Bay and Milwaukee who have benefitted from the ACA. Speakers also noted the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan, which includes historic measures to further expand access to quality, affordable health care, building upon the foundation of the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act was built to make health care more accessible, and more affordable. Major provisions of the law included establishment of the online marketplace to shop for health insurance, an end to discrimination in health care against those with pre-existing conditions, and an expansion of Medicaid. Wisconsin is one of only 14 states that has not yet accepted the Medicaid expansion, which would extend coverage to more than 90,000 Wisconsinites and save the state more than $1 billion over the next biennium.
The American Rescue Plan is the boldest expansion of health care in a decade in order to lower health care costs, expand coverage, and address inequities in care, and offers additional incentives to states like Wisconsin to finally accept the expansion of Medicaid.
As Governor Evers noted during today’s event:
“Under the ACA, Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin would result in tens of thousands of families being eligible for coverage. Not only that, but expanding BadgerCare in the state would result in a savings of $1.6 billion over the next two years. An overwhelming majority of folks in our state support this expansion. They agree health care shouldn’t be a privilege afforded only to the healthy and wealthy. It’s time to get this done.”
Tina P. of La Crosse Wisconsin, who has Lupus and Antiphospholipid Syndrome – autoimmune disorders, was among the panelists who shared her story:
“To keep these illnesses under control I take over 20 medications, including immunosuppressants, and rely on Medicare & Badger Care to help me afford my life sustaining medicine. Without the coverage I receive, and without the protections for my pre-existing conditions I have thanks to the Badger Care and Medicare, my medicine would cost thousands of dollars a month.”
Alex T. of Green Bay was uninsured until the establishment of the online ACA marketplace. She noted improvements that have been made to the site in the 10 years since she was first able to secure coverage. More than 200,000 Americans have enrolled in marketplace plans since President Biden created a special Open Enrollment period.
Julie B. from Milwaukee requires weekly injections that cost nearly a million dollars a year to treat myasthenia gravis – a rare condition that affects her and both her daughters. In the years before passage of the Affordable Care Act annual and lifetime caps on their insurance were a constant concern.
“Prior to the ACA we were paying co-pays for everything, every doctor visit, every medication. Between the two girls and I we were at the doctor three or four times a week. We were going bankrupt prior to the ACA.”