Kim on the issues

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9/21/2018

I will work for everyone to bring affordable, accessible health care to Northwest Wisconsin

...and in fact, Governor Walker’s Attorney General Brad Schimel is involved in a lawsuit to eliminate the Pre Existing clause. Governor Walker’s plan to cover pre-exisiting conditions falls short of the mark according to numerous sources.

Everytime I read that Washington or Madison is trying to mess with my healthcare, my blood pressure rises. Healthcare is a deeply personal issue for me. As a mom, a co-owner of a small business, and a cancer survivor, I’ve been navigating this complex issue for decades. After living in the highly regulated state of Minnesota, we moved to Wisconsin 17 years ago and watched our premiums almost double, while coverage for many things I needed like prescriptions, asthma, and allergy treatment was no longer paid for. But I was lucky - my expensive Wisconsin insurance did cover me when I was diagnosed with Stage 3C breast cancer in 2006 (Stage 4 is Terminal.) I didn't need a Spaghetti fundraiser, but we watched the bills roll in. $6,000 for a shot I needed every two weeks, many hundreds of thousands of dollars for chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries. I am so thankful: thankful that I survived to see my children reach high school, and now start moving towards college, that we had the insurance to pay for my treatments, that I was able to drive myself to the Cities for radiation every day for 6 weeks - not all rural women can. But as my hair grew back, so did our premiums. I was denied coverage and ended up in the State’s High Risk pool. My kids went on Badgercare, and my husband found a cheap policy for himself. 3 policies for a family of 4! I have spoken to voters with similar cobbled-together insurance plans. This is no way to live.

Then the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare came along. My premiums actually dropped and suddenly I had coverage for prescriptions, asthma visits, allergy testing. Yes, I have since seen our premiums rise, but knowing that I won't be dropped is peace of mind for me and millions of other people. Knowing that my kids won’t be tainted for the rest of their young lives by a childhood condition is peace of mind. The ACA is not perfect - we can blame insurance company lobbyists for that. But like most Wisconsinites, I believe we need to fix it, not throw it out. I know people are struggling with high premiums, but we haven’t seen a credible alternative from Washington or Madison, and in fact, Governor Walker’s Attorney General Brad Schimel is involved in a lawsuit to eliminate the Pre Existing clause. Governor Walker’s plan to cover pre-exisiting conditions falls short of the mark according to numerous sources.

I am running to try to ease this stress for Wisconsin families. I want to open up Badgercare as a buy-in option for everyone. I’ve read this could save us up to 25% on monthly premiums. Thousands of people moving into Badgercare could bring down prices of other insurance plans. I’d like to eliminate the zip code prejudice that we face in our district. A few years ago, I ran my numbers through the online Marketplace, and realized I’d pay $400 a month less if I moved to Madison. In the 28th, we pay some of the highest rates in Wisconsin. We also depend heavily on subsidies that Sean Duffy and the Republicans have tried to eliminate. I would also like to create exchanges for small businesses to band together to enable them to provide affordable healthcare for their employees. Like Minnesota, I would like to take the Federal Medicaid expansion money. This was an additional 1.7 billion dollars that Governor Walker left on the table.

Mental health care resources are severely limited in our District. There are no psychiatric beds, and police are tasked with driving people in crisis situations all the way to Winnebago County. Appointments for therapists aren’t available for months at some hospitals. Teen suicide is almost epidemic in Polk County. I did the Polk County Suicide Awareness Walk and it was heartbreaking to see the faces of so many young people, some of whom we knew from school. Substance abuse issues are often the result of mental health problems, and need treatment, not punishment. We need to increase education funding so our schools can afford psychologists and social workers, to identify kids who need treatment, and get them the help they need. I hope to work as an ally with our State Senator Patty Schachtner, who is a big advocate of mental health care and treatment options, to bring more mental health resources to our district. With more, targeted funding we can bring more dollars to this neglected part of the state. I hope to be able ease the stress of health care for people in the 28th district, with concrete ideas, supported by many Democratic candidates.

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