MADISON (WKOW) — This week Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers launched his first television ad since winning the primary. He attacks Governor Scott Walker and Walker’s refusal to accept the federal Medicaid expansion, claiming the governor failed to put the people of Wisconsin first.
On Thursday, Evers’ running mate, candidate for Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, echoed that same message on the Capitol steps.
"It would have been the least expensive route and more effective route, an average consumer would have paid much less if we took the Medicaid expansion," said Barnes.
Evers’ ad compares health insurance costs in Wisconsin to Minnesota, using a study that shows the benchmark health insurance plan sold in Minnesota was close to 50 percent less when compared to Wisconsin. Governor Walker said the facts are wrong because Minnesota implemented a reinsurance program to bring down premiums in 2018. Walker approved a similar reinsurance plan for Wisconsin but said we cannot yet see the benefits because it won’t go into effect until 2019.
Barnes said the program won’t help Wisconsin prices this year.
"None of that takes effect and doesn’t have any impact on 2018 prices for consumers,” said Barnes. “4/5 years Wisconsinites are still paying more than people in Minnesota for health insurance and the governor has these issues wrong."
Walker’s spokesperson Austin Altenburg said these claims are false.
"Tony Evers has no credibility on these issues after basing his very first TV ad on a lie,” said Altenburg. “Minnesota had one of the highest rate increases after taking the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid — and their health care premiums dropped only after embracing a reinsurance plan similar to the one Scott Walker signed into law and is now implementing. Voters are smart enough to cut through the lies and understand that Scott Walker is working to make health care more affordable for families across the state.”
Others joined Barnes in also calling out Walker’s policies towards women’s health. They opposed his passage of a 20-week abortion ban, cuts to Planned Parenthood and reducing funding for cancer screenings.
Barnes was joined by state Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), supporters from Planned Parenthood and a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate.