[UPDATE: This press release has been updated, today, December 3, 2017, after DrydenWire.com received a newer version]

The following press release is from Rep. Romaine Quinn. It is a joint Op-Ed with Mary Hoeft, regarding Mary’s recent comments on Romaine’s September listening session.]

Mary Hoeft: Americans with pre-existing conditions have reason to be afraid. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, they may soon face exorbitant premiums that make the purchase of health insurance impossible. Republicans and Democrats must work together on the issue of affordable insurance. The common good of the people of Wisconsin must take precedence over party affiliation. 

At a forum at the UW - Barron County, I asked Representative Romaine Quinn to promise he would fight to guarantee affordable insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. Romaine paused before responding “NO.” A sigh of disbelief went through the audience as Romaine explained that everything would depend on how much federal money states received from the government. 

I wrote about Romaine’s response in an article that appeared in newspapers throughout the district. Romaine read my article and called to say the audience had misunderstood him. 

Romaine was my student at the university and he is my friend. In a bipartisan spirit, we decided to write this joint letter. 

The legislation Rep. Quinn references below, AB365, does not address the issue of affordability. Representative Quinn and all Republicans in the State Assembly voted “ No ” on a bill introduced by Rep. Reimer (D) that offered such assurance. And so I ask, one more time, “Romaine, will you work, in a bipartisan manner, to gain support for legislation that offers affordable insurance for those with pre-existing conditions?” 

Romaine Quinn: When Mary asked her question, I should have said, “I already voted to protect people with pre-existing conditions.” In June, the Assembly passed an amended version of AB 365. As passed, AB 365 prevented healthcare companies from imposing a pre-existing condition exclusion. It also instructed the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance to assist individuals with pre-existing conditions in finding coverage. This is an important first step to ensuring folks are able to maintain coverage. 

Before I vote on legislation or make a promise, I need to be able to evaluate its impact. I can’t commit myself to legislation or possibly a potential solution before being able to examine all the details. Until the federal government finalizes its changes to our healthcare system, I am unable to guarantee the state’s role. 

Mary is a Democrat. I am a Republican. We are writing this letter together because we agree that health care is crucial. As your representative, I will work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect people with pre-existing conditions from exorbitant costs. If the Affordable Care Act is not repealed, we must also work to lower the costs for people who have seen their premiums skyrocket since its passage. 

Like many of you, I have family and friends with pre-existing conditions. I want nothing more than for them to be able to get the care they need at an affordable price. Unfortunately, various groups have taken my answer as an opportunity to characterize me as heartless. I want to thank Mary for working with me on this issue. 

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