Following last week’s Supreme Court decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, Gov. Scott Walker announced his refusal to implement any provisions of the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin.
In the news conference Walker stated, “While the court said it was legal, that doesn’t make it right. For us to put time and effort and resources into that doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Walker’s statement that he will refuse to implement the Affordable Care Act highlights the partisan politics game republican lawmakers have continued to play in order to maintain control of the state. It is especially disconcerting that Walker chooses to single out women’s health as one of the primary pawns with which he uses to maintain this control.
Obama’s Affordable Care Act will mandate all Americans to carry health insurance subsequently providing health care to 30 million people across the U.S. In addition to the provisions of the act that allow children to stay on their parents insurance plan until age 26 and prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, the act also makes significant strides in the area of women’s health.
According to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, 413,000 women in Wisconsin will be covered for preventative services such as cancer screenings and STD testing through this Act. What’s more, pregnancy and cesarean sections will no longer be classified as preexisting conditions, therefore making it illegal for insurance companies from using such conditions as grounds to deny coverage.
Protections to ensure women can pump their breast milk at work, visitation programs for new mothers are implemented, and initiatives to strengthen Badger Care coverage for children are among many other important advances in women’s healthcare this act will provide.
Since he took office, Gov. Walker has made it a point to marginalize women, making it increasingly hard to obtain access to quality healthcare. In his 2011-2013 State Budget he banned insurance coverage of abortions, ended a ban on abstinence-only education, repealed Wisconsin’s equal pay law, and severed a state contract with Planned Parenthood that ensured multiple sclerosis and cancer screenings were available to low-income women in four high-need counties.
While the insurmountable benefits of the Affordable Care Act may not “make a lot of sense” to Governor Walker given his track record with women’s health initiatives, it’s implementation does make sense to the nearly 200,000 uninsured women across the state. What doesn’t make sense is the partisan politics game Walker continues to play with the well-being of Wisconsin Women.