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Assembly Committee on Health to vote on pre-existing conditions bill Thursday

NOW: Assembly Committee on Health to vote on pre-existing conditions bill Thursday

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – The Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing Tuesday on Assembly Bill 1, also known as the Pre-existing Conditions Guaranteed Protections Act. The bill, as its name indicates, would ensure that people with pre-existing conditions are guaranteed insurance coverage.

Authors of the bill say it will keep those protections in place, regardless of what happens to the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, is currently in legal limbo after a Texas judge recently ruled it unconstitutional. It remains in effect as it works its way through courts and appeals processes.

Governor Tony Evers has said that he wants the state to change its stance on its lawsuit against the federal government which would withdraw the state from the ACA. But speaking to reporters Tuesday, Evers said that he hasn’t read Assembly Bill 1 in full, but that, “it’s important that whatever passes the legislature is equal to or better than what exists at the federal level.”

Sen. André Jacque (R- DePere), a co-author of the bill, says he believes the governor will eventually support the bill. “I think when the governor actually takes time to read the bill – this is about people, not Obamacare,” Jacque told CBS 58. “He’ll see that the pre-existing conditions protected within the bill are actually stronger than what we’ve seen in neighboring states and certainly as strong as what’s in Obamacare.”

But before the legislation reaches the governor’s desk, it must first get through the state senate. While the current bill is expected to easily pass the Assembly, its fate in the Senate isn’t as certain. A similar bill was introduced last year and failed to pass the Senate, even though Republicans held a slim majority. Sen. Jacque believes this time around will be different.

“This is an opportunity for us to come together, take a deep breath,” Jacque said. “And I think on a number of things in health care, there’s an opportunity to work together.

The Assembly Committee on Health will vote on the bill Thursday.

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