Newsmakers, November 3, 2016

Air Date:
Heard On Newsmakers
Jennifer Shilling, Dan Kapanke and Chip DeNure
Jennifer Shilling, Dan Kapanke and Chip DeNure Hope Kirwan/WPR

32nd Senate District Debate-

In the waning days of the 2016 election cycle, candidates are trying to score votes by raising the issue of rising health insurance costs that are resulting next year in the Affordable Care Act.

Two challengers in one of the most watched races in the Wisconsin Legislature, the 32nd State Senate, are calling for an end to the Affordable Care Act, while the incumbent called on expanding the state’s Medicaid program called BadgerCare, by accepting more federal money for Medicaid expansion, something the Walker Administration has rejected.

Incumbent state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, is being challenged by former state Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, who she defeated in a 2011 recall election largely over Kapanke’s support of the controversial Act 10 which stripped collective bargaining rights from most state employee unions. Shilling’s other opponent Chip DeNure of La Crosse is a member of his own political party he calls the Integrity Party.

Shilling is the Senate Minority Leader and Republicans hope a victory by Kapanke can build on their 18-14 Senate majority.

Perhaps the reason health care is becoming more of an issue around the country is the estimate that insurance premiums through the Affordable Care Act are expected to rise 25 percent nationally in 2017. ACA premiums for Wisconsin residents are estimated to rise by 16 percent.

At a recent debate, all three candidates had different ideas to improve health care in Wisconsin.

Shilling said her district already has great access, but more low income residents could be served across the state.

“I think we can build on the strengths of some of the high quality health care systems by expanding BadgerCare,” Shilling said. “We can do that by accepting federal funds to expand BadgerCare here in Wisconsin.

Shilling also said the state needs to ensure that low income women have access to basic health care needs like mammograms and birth control, something she said has been under attack by Republican lawmakers in recent years.

Kapanke favors ending the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it’s often referred to. Even before the recent announcement that ACA premiums were going up, he doesn’t believe the program has worked.

“We need to go back to where Wisconsin was prior to Obamacare where we did have 90-plus percent of our people covered with some kind of health care insurance,” Kapanke said.

A Kaiser Family Foundation report suggests 93 percent of the state’s residents were insured through either employer-based insurance or government programs in 2015, up from 91 percent in 2013 before the Affordable Care Act began.

Meanwhile Chip DeNure wants to end the Affordable Care Act too, but he would go in a totally different direction, substituting a federal single payer system.

“If you did that, you wouldn’t need BadgerCare, you wouldn’t need Medicaid, everybody would be covered.” DeNure said. “This is working in Canada.”

The 32nd State Senate includes the counties of La Crosse, Vernon and Crawford and a small portion of Monroe County.

– John Davis

Featured in this Show

  • 2016 UW-La Crosse 32nd Senate Debate

    Wisconsin Public Radio is one of the sponsors of the 32nd State Senate District Debate between Incumbent State Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-Onalaska, and challengers Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse and Chip DeNure from La Crosse and a member of the Integrity Party. The debate was recorded on Tuesday, November 1, 2016.

Episode Credits

  • Hope Kirwan Host
  • John Davis Producer
  • Jennifer Shilling Guest
  • Dan Kapanke Guest
  • Chip DeNure Guest

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