MILWAUKEE -- President Barack Obama was in Milwaukee on Thursday, March 3rd to tout his signature Affordable Care Act health care law, and celebrate Milwaukee winning the "Healthy Communities Challenge," a challenge that involved getting people signed up for health insurance. Milwaukee beat out 19 other cities to win the challenge. As you may expect, opponents of Obamacare have strong opinions about the law.
All of the Republican presidential contenders say if elected, they will repeal the Affordable Care Act.
President Obama's health care law is a contentious issue -- but there were no protesters outside of the Bruce-Guadalupe School/United Community Center, where President Obama delivered remarks on Thursday afternoon.
Instead, the voices of opposition came from Madison.
Republican lawmakers say they don't believe anyone here in Milwaukee/Wisconsin has won anything -- despite President Obama visiting the city to celebrate Milwaukee winning the "Healthy Communities Challenge."
"I find it very offensive we have to have a kumbaya moment with the mayor and the president, and you actually have to have a contest to get people into the plan. If it was such a great plan, people would be jumping through hoops to be a part of it. We have 600 fewer plans to consider in the state of Wisconsin, and the cost of those insurance premiums have gone up. The one size fits all just isn't cutting it and it's costing people a lot of money," Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) said.
From Madison, Vukmir, a former nurse, said there's nothing affordable about the Affordable Care Act.
"It's unfortunate though that individuals are losing the opportunity to stay with doctors and plans they found affordable and now are having difficulty paying for those plans," Vukmir said.
According to "Freedom Partners," a conservative, non-profit organization, average deductibles in Wisconsin have gone up $477 under the Affordable Care Act. Premiums are up 6.5 percent, the group says.
"What we hear routinely from small business owners and farmers across the state is that it is anything but affordable," Governor Scott Walker said.
Walker, who was criticized by President Obama Thursday for refusing to take federal money to help more people afford health care told reporters on Wednesday he fears Obamacare will fail, and promises won't be kept.
"We'll be one of the states that will not be jeopardized by them pulling the rug out," Walker said.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel issued this statement on President Obama's visit:
“Wisconsinites should not be fooled by President Obama’s rhetoric and pageantry. Significant aspects of Obamacare are unlawful. While President Obama is celebrating what he perceives as a measure of success of his healthcare program, I am fighting vigorously against its attack on religious liberty, and the unlawful mandates, fees, and restrictions it imposes on taxpayers, employers and our state. I’m proud to lead Wisconsin in upholding the rule of law and battling against the federal government’s unconstitutional intrusion into the affairs of our state and private citizens.”
This issue will be on the minds of voters come November, as it relates to what the legacy of the Affordable Care Act will be.
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