Will Kenneally contributed to this report
One of the measures codifies work requirements for childless adults to qualify for BadgerCare — the state’s medicaid program.
That’s a rule that president Donald Trump’s administration approved in October. This puts the plan into law, meaning Governor-elect Tony Evers won’t be able to easily remove it.
Many Republicans spoke up on the floor last night to say the work requirements will help people get back on their feet.
But critics say that the requirement is cruel, and that denying people healthcare won’t help them find work.
More than 30 healthcare groups signed a letter to lawmakers asking them to reconsider this measure and others that would limit the governor’s power on healthcare. Those groups include the Wisconsin Hospital Association and UW Health.
Another measure requires the legislature to approve any money that the state department of health services takes from the feds.
ABC for Health executive director Bobby Peterson says that’s an example of Republican lawmakers taking power from the executive branch. He says waivers are about experimentation and helping the state figure out what works and doesn’t work.
“In this situation the administration isn’t going to be able to say ‘we’ve tried this and it’s not working out,'” Peterson says. “They have to run it through the Legislature, which becomes a highly politicized process.”
Lawmakers failed to deliver on a Walker campaign promise to ensure that Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions could still be covered if Obamacare were repealed. The state Senate rejected the measure 16-17, with all Democrats and two Republicans voting against it.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says they’ll try to pass the measure again next year.
“I’m deeply disappointed,” Vos says. “I have a feeling that that will be either AB1 or darn close to it in the next session.”
But Peterson says the protections in the GOP bill pale in comparison to what’s already in the Affordable Care Act.
“It was junk,” Peterson says. “It was phony, it wasn’t a real pre-existing conditions bill.”
Both chambers also passed a measure barring the governor or attorney general from pulling out of a multi-state lawsuit attempting to repeal the ACA.