Floor Report: Assembly Passes Pre-existing Conditions Legislation

In their first floor session of the year on Jan. 22, the Assembly passed a bill placing a state-level prohibition on pre-existing conditions exclusions, if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed or is otherwise unenforceable. The bill, amended by Assembly Substitute Amendment 1, would exempt short-term, grandfathered, and transitional plans from these prohibitions. At the federal level President Trump, by executive order, has also exempted short-term plans from these prohibitions. The amendment also added language banning annual and lifetime limits, mirroring the related ACA provisions, and limits the statewide open enrollment period to 45 days. The bill passed the Assembly on a bipartisan 76-19 vote.

Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order related to pre-existing conditions earlier this month and recently met with Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) on the bill. The governor has indicated he won’t sign the bill as-is and suggested including language covering essential health benefits and addressing annual and lifetime limits. While the Substitute Amendment addressed Evers’s concerns about annual and lifetime limits, it did not include coverage for essential health benefits.

The Senate declined to take up the pre-existing conditions legislation in their first floor session. Instead, the Senate voted to approve its rules for the 2019-20 session.

Both chambers of the legislature also passed a resolution extending the deadline for Gov. Evers to introduce his 2019-21 state budget to Feb. 28.