Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin opposes health care bill
MADISON, Wis. — The Latest on Wisconsin reaction to the new federal health care bill (all times local):
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin says the proposed federal health care law would "devastate essential health care access" both in the state and across the country.
The House Republican proposal denies federal funding for one year to Planned Parenthood, a major provider of women's health services, including abortion.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin lobbyist Nicole Safar says in more than half of the communities where Planned Parenthood is located in Wisconsin there are no alternative providers. She says, "Our patients deserve better than this from our Congress."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Janesville, has said that other providers could provide services other than abortions that are offered by Planned Parenthood.
Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he's "worried about what the fallout will be" for Wisconsin and other states under the proposed changes to the federal health care law.
Fitzgerald commented Tuesday as state lawmakers are trying to understand the changes as proposed under the House Republican bill.
One of the biggest things the proposal would do is overhaul the framework of Medicaid, ending its open-ended federal financing. Starting with the 2020 fiscal year, each state would receive a limited, per-beneficiary amount based on enrollment and costs.
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he supports awarding Medicaid funding on a per-capita basis. But Vos, like Fitzgerald, says he hasn't seen many details of the bill.
Gov. Scott Walker is calling the federal health care overhaul bill "an important first step."
But Walker signals in his first comments on the proposal Tuesday that it remains a work in progress.
Walker says, "We will continue working with the Trump Administration, the Congress, and governors across the country." Walker is chairman of the Republican Governors Association and has been trying to balance competing needs of GOP governors who want to protect certain elements of the current law.
Walker says the bill unveiled Monday is a step toward lowering costs and increasing choices for health care. He says the goal is a "personalized, patient-centered plan that treats people as humans and not like numbers."
An advocate for low-income people seeking health care in Wisconsin says the proposal overhauling the federal health care law is "not as bad as it could be, but it's pretty bad."
Bobby Peterson is executive director of ABC for Health, a nonprofit Madison law firm that helps people get health care.
Peterson said Tuesday that one of the most concerning elements of the bill is that it would limit total federal Medicaid funding to a formula taking into account enrollment and costs in each state.
Peterson says, "I see health care rationing and health care segregation."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Janesville, says the bill will "drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance."
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been working closely with the White House and Republican leaders in Washington on the proposal replacing the federal health care law.
But Walker has been silent since the bill was unveiled late Monday.
Walker's position on changes in the legislation carries weight beyond the borders of Wisconsin. He's chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a group with differing views on what changes were needed to the law.
Walker has been advocating for a national approach that mirrors what he did in Wisconsin. He rejected the federal Medicaid expansion money, but extended coverage to everyone at or below the poverty level.
State lawmakers are also reviewing the federal proposal to see how it will affect Wisconsin's budget.