By Mrinal Gokhale
Vice President Mike Pence visited Milwaukee and promised to repeal Obamacare for what he believed to be for the better. But, Citizen Action of Wisconsin disagreed and held a rally on this day to advocate for Obamacare.
Pence and Governor Scott Walker visited Direct Supply, on Sat., Jun 10. The large corporation provides equipment and services to senior living facilities. They both told the crowd why they felt Obamacare was necessary to repeal.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s pre-rally conference began at about 11 a.m. in their Milwaukee office (221 S. 2nd Street, Ste 300). About 15 people attended and held signs with phrases like, “All Health Benefits Are Essential,” and “Save Our Care.” These rally participants stood behind some speakers who stood at a podium in front of news cameras.
Kevin Kane, Executive Director of Citizen Action, spoke first. He stated that residents of both Milwaukee and Wisconsin would have a more difficult time affording health insurance with no Obamacare.
“Milwaukee is one of the most expensive metros in the country, and Wisconsin is the second most expensive state after Alaska when it comes to providing healthcare,” Kane said.
Another factor brought to question was whether people who had pre-existing health conditions could be denied coverage if Obamacare was repealed. Kane stated that by age 54 to 64, half the population already had a pre-existing condition.
“We think it’s important to note that when Pence and Governor Walker go to Direct Supply, a company that helps older Americans access long term care, that we’d ask ourselves, ‘If he’s here talking about healthcare, what quality of life are we delivering to families who take care of older adults?’”
Though Pence promised that all pre-existing health conditions will be covered even without Obamacare, not everyone is convinced.
Sophie Kramer, an internal medicine doctor at Columbia St. Mary’s in Milwaukee, stated that she has helped many older adults throughout her 31- year career. She provided examples of patients she met in the past who struggled to pay their high premium rates under HIRSP (Health Insurance Risk Caring Plan) of Wisconsin, a former pre-existing condition programs.
“Due to underwriting changes issued by the ACA, all pre-existing condition programs in the U.S. have closed. Now, Vice President Pence proposes we bring back HIRSP,” she said.
A rally participant named Anita Abraham spoke last. She stated that she and her husband fear of losing their Medicaid insurance and medication without the ACA, as well as their mental health support services.
“My husband and I are both disabled and senior citizens. We work for our insurance under a state program called MAPP to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in exchange for health insurance,” she said.
She added that both she and her husband have mental health challenges, and they receive support services through Medicaid that is provided by MAPP.
The press conference ended before noon. The group began the rally at about noon and went to Pence’s listening session to ask questions regarding how “Trumpcare” will affect Americans.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin is an activism based coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to social, environmental and social justice.