Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tried to argue last week in the Washington Post that implementing the national health insurance reform law will "devastate" Wisconsin.
Predictably, Walker got it wrong, as he continually tries to confuse voters about President Obama's signature legislative achievement in an attempt to get Mitt Romney elected.
In fact, families in Wisconsin and all across the country are already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act.
Thanks to the ACA, millions of young adults now have health insurance on their parents' plans. Seniors have already saved billions on their prescription drugs. Cancer tests, mental health screenings and other preventive care are now covered without co-pays and deductibles. And children can no longer be denied coverage because of a disability or other health condition.
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the ACA's foundation is constitutional, we can start looking forward to all of the other benefits that are on the horizon.
The law will soon guarantee coverage for adults with cancer, diabetes, heart disease or other pre-existing conditions. Consumers and small business owners will be able to compare and shop for affordable health plans at convenient online insurance marketplaces.
And states will have an affordable option for extending coverage to millions of uninsured low-income Americans through Medicaid -- something Walker has already signaled he may reject, even though new studies by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and other nonpartisan organizations suggest the cost to states would be minimal.
Of course, Walker and Romney never talk about the positive difference the Affordable Care Act will make in the lives of millions of American families. Nor do they offer an alternative.
Instead, they mischaracterize the law to buttress a cynical "repeal and replace" bumper sticker agenda, apparently hoping voters won't notice that Republicans have no viable plan of their own to address the country's longstanding health care woes. Walker and other Republicans are all about "repeal." But on "replace" they've got nothing.
House Republicans have even gone so far as making 33 quixotic attempts to repeal the law, without any plan to replace it or at least guarantee coverage for children and adults who get sick or have pre-existing conditions.
In his op-ed in the Post, Walker resorts to misrepresenting the findings of an exhaustive report prepared by a leading national economist on how the Affordable Care Act would impact Wisconsin's insurance market.
Instead of telling the full story, Walker selectively uses certain data to suggest that people in Wisconsin would lose coverage under the law, when a key finding of the report actually shows the exact opposite. Walker's administration used the same deceptive tactics when the report was originally released last summer.
In fact, according to M.I.T. Professor Jonathan Gruber's report, 340,000 uninsured Wisconsinites will get health insurance under the ACA, a crucial point Walker neglects to mention.
He also omits that out-of-pocket health care expenses will decrease for everyone who buys an individual insurance plan in Wisconsin, according to Gruber's report.
Republicans like Walker and Romney need to stop misrepresenting the Affordable Care Act for cynical political purposes.
It's time for them to summon the courage to tell the public the truth. Namely, their support of the status quo and failure to offer a viable, honest health care plan is what threatens to devastate the country -- not the Affordable Care Act.
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