County Board Chair Tara Johnson laments Trump’s ‘broken promises’


LA CROSSE (WKBT) – La Crosse County Board Chairwoman Tara Johnson and other Wisconsin health care activists contend that the Trump administration repeatedly has broken promises to women and members of the LGBTQ community.

“Before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, insurers could charge women more simply for being women,” Johnson said during a press conference in La Crosse. “Getting pregnant meant you had a pre-existing condition for the rest of the life and could justify an insurance company denying you coverage — something the ACA rightfully rectified.”

In 2015, candidate Donald Trump came to the Badger State, claiming that he would do the best job addressing health issues and that “nobody will be better for women … nobody will give greater security to our country for women,” Johnson and other speakers said.

Instead, the Trump administration strives to remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions and the Department of Justice is trying to strike down the entirety of Obamacare, they said.

“As a mother, I know firsthand what this is like, as I had my children before protections for people with pre-existing conditions became law,” Johnson said.

“And now Trump — whether it was just merciless fight to fully repeal these protections, undermine the law or now using his Department of Justice to try to strike down the law in front of the Supreme Court — President Donald Trump has broken his promise to all of us,” Johnson said.

“We deserve a president who won’t try to deceive us for their own political benefit or break his promises when he thinks we aren’t looking,” she said.

Also speaking was Tina Pohlman of La Crosse, co-founder of the national APS Foundation of America, a nonprofit health agency dedicated to bringing awareness to antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, considered the major cause of multiple miscarriages, thrombosis, young strokes and heart attacks

“I have pre-existing conditions, lupus and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, both of which are autoimmune disorders,” Pohlman said. “To keep these illnesses under control, I take over 20 medications and rely on Social Security to help me afford my life-sustaining medicine.

“Without the coverage I receive — and without the protections for my pre-existing conditions I have thanks to the ACA — my medicine would cost $50,000,” she said.

Noting administrations proposals to revamp Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Pohlman said, “I want to go about my life helping others without having to worry that my livelihood will be threatened by a president who promised to stand up for people like me and has broken that promise time and again. ”

And K.C. Kayo said, “I am a member of the queer community. We are human beings just like everyone else here today, and we deserve to live and breathe freely without worry that we will be the target of discrimination and abuse.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services “rolled back protections that prevented health insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people based on their identity,” Kayo said. “He also struck down an Obama-era rule that bans shelters from discriminating based on gender identity. And he has banned transgender troops from serving in our military.”

“We have to ask ourselves: Why do they care so much how we identify or who we love? What possible threat do we pose to them or their way of life? It is clear that Trump never intended to keep his promises to us, and was merely paying lip service to the LGBTQ community during an election year.”