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It is a common perception of those of us in rural areas that our politicians don’t listen to us and instead take their direction from those in other parts of the state. This was proven to be true late last year when Sen. Marklein ignored the calls of his constituents begging him not to vote for the lame duck bills. Now we come face-to-face with the first consequence of Sen. Marklein’s failure to listen to his constituents.

Sen. Marklein and virtually all the Republicans campaigned on a promise to protect the pre-existing conditions health coverage included in the Affordable Care Act. One of the provisions of the lame duck bills is to rescind the authority of Governor Evers to order the state’s attorney general to withdraw from a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act. If successful, this lawsuit would gut coverage for 2.4 million Wisconsinites who have pre-existing conditions. The lame duck bill specifies that in order to withdraw from that suit, the attorney general must have the approval of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. Sen. Marklein is on that committee.

When this issue reaches the committee, Sen. Marklein needs to know that his constituents want him to allow the attorney general to withdraw from this lawsuit and protect our health care coverage. Will he listen to us this time? Time will tell.

It is important to note that the Republican pre-existing conditions bill passed in the Assembly on Jan. 22 does not contain the level of coverage for essential benefits currently available through the Affordable Care Act.

Beverly Pestel, Richland Center