The Wisconsin Hospital Association along with hospital and health system leaders were in Washington, DC May 9 and met with both of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators. The focus of discussion was the House-passed version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the need to make key improvements in the Senate to protect Wisconsin’s coverage gains.
“With recent House action on the AHCA, we now look to the Senate to correct the inadequacies of the House-passed bill,” said WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “Bringing stability to the insurance market, ensuring coverage for hundreds of thousands of older, sicker or poorer Wisconsinites and recognizing the unique Wisconsin Model for coverage expansion all need to be addressed before moving forward.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, part of the group of Republican senators put together by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to discuss Senate changes to the AHCA, indicated Congress should focus initially on stabilizing the insurance market and repairing the damage done by ObamaCare.
“Congress must ensure that coverage is available and affordable to Wisconsinites, and we agree with Senator Johnson that a good first step is to stabilize the insurance market. One way to begin doing so is by funding the cost-sharing reductions that have been available on the federal exchange,” said Borgerding, referring to a provision that is currently in limbo due to a Republican lawsuit and which continues to roil the insurance market. “As deliberations move forward in the Senate, WHA will continue to work with Senator Johnson and provide him with the data, modeling and information he needs.”
WHA and hospital leaders also met with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin during their time on Capitol Hill. Baldwin indicated the health care system needs “constant tending” and that the House and the Senate should always be looking at ways to constructively improve the system. However, she indicated if the Senate chooses to move forward with the AHCA as passed by the House, this is a non-starter.
With respect to the AHCA, Baldwin highlighted not only do these changes impact people and their health care, but impact communities, the economy and jobs.
“We appreciated the opportunity to talk with Senator Baldwin and hear her strong support for Wisconsin’s health care delivery system,” said Borgerding. “We look forward to working with her on this and other important health care issues.”