Johnson wants to kill protections for patients with preexisting conditions

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WASHINGTON- Senator Ron Johnson has been one of the few Republican senators who has publicly announced disapproval of the Senate’s healthcare overhaul bill. At this news, one might have reason for happiness; perhaps Ron Johnson is finally standing up for Wisconsinites.

As it turns out, Johnson actually opposes the bill because it does not go far enough. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Johnson complains that “it [the bill] leave in place the pre-existing-condition rules that drive up the cost of insurance for everyone.”

For Senator Johnson, a good healthcare bill takes away care from the needy and the vulnerable, and uses the money to distribute tax breaks to wealthy people like himself.

Shawn Johnson at Wisconsin Public Radio reports:

In a New York Times op-ed and an interview with conservative syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt, Johnson said the bill endorsed by Republican leaders in the Senate did little to address the rising insurance premiums that had weakened the Affordable Care Act.

Johnson’s exchange with Hewitt was especially combative as the senator repeatedly that he was not ready to support the bill even as Hewitt pressured him to commit to voting yes.

“We’re not going to be able to make the changes to the bill if we’re forced into a vote this week,” Johnson told Hewitt. “We just don’t have time.”

“That’s why you got reelected,” Hewitt pushed back. “To pass this bill this week. It’s a disaster not to do so.”

Johnson complained, as he has for weeks, about the secretive process used to write the Senate bill, arguing he needed more information about the plan, and so did his constituents.

“I’ve been behind the scenes,” Johnson said. “I’ve listened to people argue the points completely absent of any information.”

But Monday was the first day that Johnson attacked the substance of the bill head-on, suggesting that Republican leaders were taking the easy way out by not rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s requirements that private insurance companies provide coverage for everyone.

“We know what caused premiums to increase,” Johnson said. “Obviously, the bill writers in the House and Senate aren’t acknowledging it. They don’t have the courage to address the fact that guaranteed issue (of health insurance) collapses markets.”

Johnson’s comments came hours before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Senate health care bill that showed the plan would lead to 22 million more people without insurance by 2026. That’s one million fewer than under the health care overhaul passed by the U.S. House.

Read more at Wisconsin Public Radio.