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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

 1:51 PM 

Senate debating Constitutional amendment blocking mandated health insurance

There's been lengthy debate so far on SJR 21, which would include a provision in the state Constitution that would prohibit any law that mandates the purchase of health care. The bill would have to be approved in two consecutive sessions of the Legislature and put to a statewide vote to become part of the Constitution.

Democrats introduced an amendment that would also require coverage for preexisting conditions. Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, called the bill a "scam" and said it played upon the fears of those who don't understand the federal health care law.

"Give me all the rights you want, but you're not forcing the insurance companies to hold up their end of the deal," Erpenbach said.

Erpenbach also claimed that the resolution would essentially block workers compensation because of its broad language.

Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, said the citizens of the state have the right to vote on whether they should have the Constitutional right to make their own decisions on health care. He also said that he believed the people of Wisconsin were smart enough to make the right choice. Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, assailed Democrats claim that they're not providing for government safety nets, saying the claims were ridiculous.

"Nowhere does that negate [private citizens'] right or desire or want to get into Medicare ... that's just plain silly talk," he said.

The amendment was tabled in a 17-16 vote. Two other Democratic amendments along the same lines were ruled non-germane by the chair.


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