Republicans Vote to Legalize Discrimination
Right-wing politicians rush bill to deny health care based on gender, sexual orientation, and pre-existing medical conditions
MADISON, WI – Among a wild scramble of activity this week, far-right Republican politicians pushed through legislation to allow certain health care providers the ability to deny patients care based on the individual’s gender, sexual orientation, or pre-existing medical condition. The proposal, Assembly Bill 26, was vehemently opposed by Democratic lawmakers after Republicans voted to gut the anti-discrimination protections that had been proposed for direct primary health care providers. Without these protections, thousands of Wisconsin residents could be denied access to quality care through no fault of their own.
While Assembly Bill 26 had originally included comprehensive anti-discrimination protections, Republicans unanimously adopted Amendment 2 to gut this provision. In addition to allowing discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, the non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Council noted that “the amendment removes the following from the list of explicitly prohibited bases for discrimination: gender; gender identity; national origin; sexual orientation; and ‘any other protected class.’”