Obama for America Wisconsin and a group of officials and Wisconsin citizens celebrated the two-year anniversary of the passing of the Affordable Care Act by Congress on Friday.
In a conference call led by Obama for America National Campaign Co-Chair and former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, the group lauded the bill’s impact as beneficial to Wisconsinites in expanding easier access to health care.
Feingold said stronger Medicare coverage for seniors, easier access to mammograms for women and the coverage of pre-existing conditions for children as some of the benefits of the bill. Feingold said 1.7 million Wisconsin residents now have access to free preventive care.
“In two years, every single American, whether they want to change jobs, start a business or retire early, will have access to affordable quality health insurance,” Feingold said.
Candice Owley, President of Wisconsin Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, said although the law is still being phased in and will not be fully implemented until 2020, positive changes can already be seen because of the law.
Before the implementation of the law, Owley said insurance companies would run a computer program to detect minor health issues in women, and would then use those problems as a reason to cancel the coverage. He said the law fixes this problem and helps to combat health care provider discrimination against women.
“Not only is this an insult to these women diagnosed, but it is also deadly,” Owley said. “Health reform is finally putting an end to this discrimination. Now the insurance companies cannot deny the women the care they need at the very moment they need this care the most.”
The Republican Party of Wisconsin released a statement in response to the two-year anniversary. Party Chairman Brad Courtney said the bill constituted a “massive government takeover” of the health care system.
Courtney also said the bill is bad for small businesses and the regulations imposed by the law are economically harmful to Wisconsin families.
Steve Hughes, a University of Wisconsin senior who is affected by a health condition, said the bill has allowed him to stay on his parents’ health insurance even after he graduates. Hughes said he plans to participate in the Ironman triathlon this September.
“The impact of this legislation has been huge for my parents and me,” Hughes said. “But I know I’m not the only one. Twenty-eight thousand young people in Wisconsin are now covered by their parents’ insurance because of the president’s reform.”
The two-year anniversary of the law came just days before the U.S Supreme Court plans to start oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the law’s individual mandate, according to a statement from Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s office.
Van Hollen will be in Washington D.C. from March 26 to March 28 to hear the arguments, the statement said.
Van Hollen said in the statement that the individual mandate requiring all citizens to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, and he looks forward to the court striking it down.