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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement in recognition of National Police Week:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Our nation’s law enforcement officers selflessly serve their communities, states, and country in order to keep all Americans safe. They put their lives on the line every day, and they deserve our respect and deepest gratitude. In honor of their service, and in recognition of their ongoing efforts during National Police Week, I want to take this opportunity to thank our nation’s law enforcement officers and their families for their dedication and sacrifice.” 

In letters, phone calls, and at town hall meetings, the majority of questions I receive from constituents are about the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating through various news outlets and social media channels, so I’d like to take this opportunity to address some of the most common questions and misconceptions surrounding the American Health Care Act.

“What about the deplorable GOP plan that allows states to opt out of providing affordable health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, forcing them into high risk pools where the premiums will be 5-10 times higher? Yet you’d be exempt from those harsh terms for obtaining health insurance and that’s just NOT FAIR.”

Posted on Facebook on May 1, 2017

States can only allow insurers to charge more if they first establish a high-risk pool, and then demonstrate to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) how they will either lower costs, expand access to care, or stabilize premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.

Regardless of a state waiver, a person with pre-existing conditions cannot be charged a different rate if they maintain their coverage.

Regarding the exemption noted in this question, I want to emphasize that Congress will not be exempt.

 

“Debating whether to bother calling @JimPressOffice about #AHCA. He’s obviously going to vote yes to probably take my family’s #healthcare.”

Posted on Twitter on May 3, 2017

The AHCA will protect Americans’ health care. In comparison, the result of implementing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been insurance companies routinely dropping out of the exchanges and forcing Americans to purchase different insurance plans – plans that force them to lose their doctors of choice.

In fact, President Obama’s promise that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” was Politifact’s Lie of the Year in 2013.

 

“You say you ran on replace/repeal & must honor. Trump/you promised no change to preexisting conditions. Why do you violate THAT commitment?”

Posted on Twitter on May 2, 2017

This charge has been widely circulated, but it is completely false. The Republican plan protects individuals with pre-existing conditions, and it will be illegal to be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition.

As noted above, states will only allow insurers to charge more if they first establish a risk pool, and then demonstrate to HHS how they will either lower costs, expand access to care, or stabilize premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.

 

“PLEASE explain why High Risk Death Pools result in improvement over ACA approach. Does govt provide insurance better than market?”

Posted on Twitter on May 2, 2017

High-risk pools were very successful in Wisconsin prior to the ACA. In fact, many Wisconsinites have contacted the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner’s office to say that they prefer being in the high-risk pools rather than the ACA exchanges.

The ACA is in a death spiral, with insurance companies dropping out of the market place. This forces premiums to rise and hurts Americans – particularly those with pre-existing conditions and those in the middle class.

 

“Look at this #WI! @RepSeanDuffy @JimPressOffice @RepGallagher @RepGrothman all support a healthcare bill that doesn’t cover pre-exist conds!”

Posted on Twitter on May 2, 2017

The AHCA does not exclude coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

As noted previously, states can only allow insurers to charge more if they first establish a risk-pool, and then demonstrate to HHS how they will either lower costs, expand access to care, or stabilize premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.

Regardless of a state waiver, a person with pre-existing conditions cannot be charged a different rate if they maintain their coverage.

 

“Why don’t you want everyone to have healthcare? Single-payer looks like the way to go. Medicare for all.”

Posted on Facebook on April 18, 2017 

One of the fundamental things Republicans and Democrats agree on regarding health care is the fact that we want all Americans to have access to affordable, quality care.

Regarding Medicare – Medicare for all would end the U.S. health care system as we currently know it. The European socialized-medicine model is extremely expensive and deeply flawed. Those who live in these nations often have longer wait times to see their physicians, and when they finally do, their physicians offer rationed care that may not fully address their ailments.

The fact is that many individuals from socialized-medicine countries who can afford to come to the United States for their health care needs do because we have the most advanced medical procedures and treatments. If socialized medicine was truly the best health care option, this would not be the case.

 

“If Republicans would clamp down on the insurance companies, instead of lining your pockets, the ACA would certainly work.”

Posted on Facebook on April 18, 2017

The ACA was actually a nod to the insurance companies. The cost-sharing program was implemented to shield these companies from losses, and the Democrats used the program to entice insurers to participate in the exchanges.

The Republican plan addresses the constantly-rising costs of health insurance through its three-step approach to health care reform:

  1. The AHCA will reform the insurance market.
  2. HHS will deregulate the health care system to allow physicians to provide the care their patients need, rather than being dictated by unelected bureaucrats who have no medical expertise.
  3. Future health care reform legislation will attack the underlying cost drivers of health care through initiatives such as incentivizing the use of smaller clinics rather than using large, expensive hospitals; enacting medical malpractice, pharmaceutical and FDA, and medical education reform, and granting nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants greater autonomy to treat patients within the scope of their training.

 

“Seems to me that health care would be a lot easier to fix if the two parties worked together to fix it rather than constantly undermining each other.”

Posted on Facebook on April 18, 2017

I completely agree that health care reform would be easier if done with bipartisan cooperation. Although Democrats made no attempt to include Republican ideas into the ACA, Republicans have reached across the aisle time and again to work with Democrats on sensible solutions to our health care problems. Those attempts at bipartisan legislating were met by cold shoulders and a stubborn unwillingness to cooperate, so unfortunately it became necessary to move forward on legislation without their input. However, the door has always been open for Democrats to offer constructive ideas.

 

“The ACA does not raise premiums. The insurance companies do as a result of increased provider costs and the desire for increased profits.”

Posted on Facebook on April 18, 2017

Insurance companies are raising costs because the majority of people who participated in the ACA exchanges are those who consume the most in health care services. Healthy Americans have, and continue to choose to roll the dice rather than purchase insurance, which is something the Democrats did not anticipate when drafting the disastrous Obamacare law. That means that the risk-pools that insurers use to pay out claims have not been sufficiently funded, and the only way they will have enough money to pay for the number of claims from high-cost patients is to raise premiums.

 

“So you’re going to fix the problems with ACA by taking away my health insurance?”

Posted on Facebook on March 26, 2017

Unlike the ACA, the Republican plan will actually expand Americans’ access to health insurance options.

Under the ACA, the only way an individual could receive a subsidy is to participate in the government-run exchanges. Under the Republican plan, individuals can use tax credits to purchase any qualified health insurance plan.

 

“You have previously stated to your constituents that you would not support any cuts to Medicare. The ACHA eliminates the Medicare tax on the 1 percent resulting in a cut of $288 billion in funding for Medicare over the next 10 years. This will move the projected insolvency date from 2028 to 2025. How is that honoring your promise to your constituents?

Posted on Facebook on March 23, 2017

Cutting a tax is not the same as cutting Medicare.

While I support funding for Medicare, it desperately needs to be reformed in order to preserve it for future generations. We cannot continue to kick the can down the road.

President Obama’s Medicare tax increase directly hits the middle class by taking more of their income from their FICA payroll taxes.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the passage of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The House passage of the American Health Care Act is an important first step in fulfilling the promise we made to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare – a collapsing law that has failed millions of American businesses and families. This bill is a free-market solution that works for the people, not the government. I applaud its passage and want to congratulate Speaker Ryan for his leadership and fortitude on this important legislation. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue reforming our nation’s health care system to where care is accessible to all Americans.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the Former Presidents Amendment Act of 2017, which would reform the federal processes currently in place to provide various taxpayer-funded services for former U.S. presidents. 

In 1958, Congress passed the Former Presidents Act (FPA) as a response to the difficulties former presidents faced earning a living after their service had ended. The original Act passed was designed to provide a reasonable pension in order to ensure our past presidents didn’t fall into poverty. Over the years, however, the benefits have continued to grow while the need for them has significantly decreased.

In the modern era, former presidents now have a greater ability to earn a generous living through various means, such as featured speaker engagements and book deals. Despite this, the FPA has grown from simply providing a healthy pension to including a transition fund, health insurance, lifetime Secret Service protection, and additional funds for office space and a personal staff.

While some things, such as lifetime Secret Service protection, still make sense, others do not. Certain benefits, such as providing funding for office space and a personal staff, are not only unnecessary but an abuse of taxpayer dollars, especially considering these funds are often used for political activity.

The Former Presidents Amendment Act of 2017 is a common sense reform bill aimed at scaling back non-essential benefits while still maintaining crucial protections for our former presidents.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The benefits currently allocated to former U.S. presidents are outdated and put an unnecessary financial burden on American taxpayers. The common sense reforms in the Former Presidents Amendment Act would update these benefits to reflect today’s society while still maintaining the necessary levels of protection our past presidents deserve.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Rapid DNA Act, introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and is on its way to a full vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.

If passed, the Rapid DNA Act would establish a system for the integration of Rapid DNA instruments for use by law enforcement to help reduce the DNA backlog. Unlike traditional DNA analysis, which can take weeks, Rapid DNA analysis permits processing of DNA samples in approximately 90 minutes or less.

This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way in which arrested individuals are enrolled in the criminal justice system, shorten the time required for their DNA to be linked to unsolved crimes, and expedite the exoneration of innocent suspects by giving law enforcement officials a new system that meets FBI quality assurance standards to compare DNA samples collected at the time of an arrest to profiles in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Today’s passage of the Rapid DNA Act out of the House Judiciary Committee is a promising development that brings us one step closer to safer communities throughout the nation. Rapid DNA technology is an effective tool for law enforcement that will help quickly identify arrestees and offenders, as well as reduce the overwhelming backlog in forensic DNA analysis. It will also make crime fighting efforts more efficient and help prevent future crimes from occurring, which saves time and taxpayer dollars. I look forward to this smart legislation moving forward to a vote on the House floor soon.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Sensenbrenner released his weekly column about the launch of his new website and how it will increase accessibility and services for constituents:

I take great pride in being accessible to my constituents. I am happy to host more than 100 in-person town hall meetings annually and answer hundreds of thousands of phone calls, emails, and standard mail inquiries each year. With constituent services being at the center of my work, I’m excited to share my new website with you. Launched earlier this week, the updated site makes it even easier and more convenient for constituents to get in touch with me.

My new official website is designed to provide constituents of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District with an attractive, comprehensive resource for information, news, and updates about my legislative efforts both in Washington and back home. This website now boasts a fresh, updated design and makes site navigation easier than ever.

Among the changes are larger text and navigation buttons that are easier to read and identify, drop-down menus that make finding information fast and straightforward, and convenient, highly visible links to my social media accounts for instant access to additional photos, news, and calendar updates. Key constituent services are listed directly on the home page, so my office can assist with these inquiries as quickly as possible.

The site additionally includes an interactive district map and content that is structured for maximum efficiency, reducing the amount of pages visitors must click through to find relevant information.

I am excited that this new website will make it easier than ever before for constituents to access information, contact me with questions and comments, and keep track of my legislative initiatives and accomplishments. I appreciate every opportunity to be accessible to my constituents, and this improved website is just one more way to serve the citizens of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner announced the launch of his new official website, which is designed to provide constituents of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District with an attractive, comprehensive resource for information, news, and updates about Congressman Sensenbrenner’s legislative efforts.

The website boasts a fresh, updated design and makes site navigation easier than ever. Among the changes are larger text and navigation buttons that are easier to read and identify, drop-down menus that make finding information fast and straightforward, and convenient, highly visible links to the Congressman’s social media accounts for instant access to additional photos, news, and calendar updates.

Additionally, the site includes an interactive district map and content that is now structured for maximum efficiency, reducing the amount of pages visitors must click through to find relevant information.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “I’m excited to launch this new website because it will make it easier than ever before for constituents to access information, contact me with questions and comments, and keep track of my legislative initiatives and accomplishments. I appreciate every opportunity to be accessible to my constituents, and this improved website is just one more way to serve the citizens of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District.”

Sanctuary city advocates are advising local officials across the country to ignore evidence in government databases linking illegal immigrants to vicious criminal gangs or terrorist groups, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

The advice is included in a 72-page step-by-step manual on thwarting federal immigration laws and regulations. The manual was published in March by the New York-based Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a left-wing tax-exempt political advocacy group.

The “toolkit” in the Protecting Immigrant Communities manual urges city and county officials across the country to adopt CPD’s “model legislation” or similar ordinances designed to weaken federal efforts to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.

Its “model legislation” seeks to protect illegal immigrants who are linked to gang activity or ties to terrorism, saying “the (proposed) ordinance should not exclude people with criminal convictions, or people who appear in law enforcement databases that attempt to track gang activity and terrorism.”

The handbook was compiled in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement of tough enforcement policies on illegal immigrants, which require local governments to obey the law or face the loss of federal funding.

“In the face of these threats, a large and growing movement of advocates, organizers and local governments are developing strategies to support their immigrant communities,” the manual declares.

The CPD is a non-profit first started by unions, including the AFL-CIO. In 2014, the last year financial data is available, the group attracted $11 million in contributions. Fifteen organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the immigrant-rights group CASA, contributed to the manual, and Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Maryland lieutenant governor, once served as CPD chairman.

The manual provides specific legal language to undermine federal laws, with particular emphasis urging local governments to stop using data from the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and to bar any arrests based on NCIC data.

“In order to protect immigrant communities from unlawful arrests … localities should consider including language prohibiting NCIC arrests in their sanctuary legislation,” the manual recommends.

It assails the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, especially agents assigned to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CPB), agencies on the front-line of Trump’s initiative. It seeks to bar or limit ICE agents from local jails and to end of local government contractual agreements with ICE for the use of local prisons.

“Local governments can significantly limit ICE’s ability to use the criminal justice system for deportation by simply denying ICE access to jail facilities and to individuals incarcerated locally for violations of criminal law,” the guide states.

Neither the CPD nor Townsend responded to multiple request for comment from TheDCNF.

But Ian Prior, a Department of Justice spokesman, told TheDCNF failure to deport criminals living among immigrant communities puts the nation at risk.

“As the Attorney General has said, when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe. Failure to deport aliens who are convicted for criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk – especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators,” Prior said.

GOP Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, echoed a similar theme in a statement to TheDCNF..

“Special interest groups that encourage enforcement officials to ignore the law and look the other way in order to harbor illegal aliens – particularly those who have committed crimes against the United States or its citizens – undermine the authority of Congress and threaten the safety and prosperity of our entire nation,” the Wisconsin Republican said.

“The time is long overdue to ensure that our immigration laws are enforced and that the rule of law is restored,” Sensenbrenner added. “This cannot stand, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and President Trump to solve this serious problem.”

Robert Law, government relations director of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said people can’t pick and choose which laws to enforce.

“This is basically a manual for how to violate federal law and cherry pick which laws you enforce,” he told TheDCNF.

An executive order signed by Trump imposes financial penalties for cities or counties that don’t cooperate with ICE requests for information on local illegal immigrants.

An immigration statute invoked by Trump prohibits local and state governments from enacting laws that limit communication with ICE or CPB about “information regarding the immigration or citizenship status” of individuals.

The CPD manual, however, points to a loophole to get around the prohibition. Officials are encouraged to not collect data on local immigrant communities because the law “does not require local governments to take any affirmative steps to gather information about immigration status, policies that prohibit the gathering of such information do not violate federal law.  Local governments should take advantage of that fact in developing policies on data collection.”

The manual also encourages city and county officials to bar ICE agents from entering local jails.

“While often overlooked, policies restricting access to jails and to persons in local custody can create a powerful disruption in one of ICE’s most expansive deportation programs. In most jurisdictions, keeping ICE out of the local jails will end up preventing more deportations than all of the other sanctuary policy provisions combined,” the manual states.

The guide further urges local prosecutors to “deviate” from normal prosecutorial procedures with illegal immigrants to minimize charges they may face.

Prosecutors “may use their discretion to deviate from general practice in deciding whether and how to prosecute, settle or otherwise dispose of any case…related to a defendant’s immigration status,” the manual advises.

FAIR’s Law told TheDCNF that CPD’s focus on criminal behavior among illegal immigrants underlines their “hypocrisy. They continue to perpetuate the myth that illegal immigrants are otherwise law abiding.”

But, Law said, “if that’s true, why would these documents encourage these jurisdictions to not rely on criminal databases? They are basically admitting that these illegal aliens are committing additional crimes in addition to their immigration violations.”

The manual justifies the protection of criminals and potential terrorists because the U.S. criminal justice systems “are themselves oppressive, overly punitive and fraught with racial bias.”

They also claim,“The mere fact that an individual is unlawfully in the U.S. is not a criminal offense.”

You can read this piece online here.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Obamacare is not in the death spiral that Republicans are claiming, and health insurers might soon see profitable years ahead. Those who skim headlines might think, “Republicans are wrong.” However, when you read further you learn why insurers may start profiting from the Obamacare exchanges.
 
The Times article is based on an analysis by Standard & Poor’s which states that the company is seeing the first positive signs in 2016 that the insurance market could be manageable for most health insurers, and that the “market is not in a death spiral.” To many people, that sounds like good news, but what's good for insurance companies isn't necessarily good for consumers. 

Republicans and Democrats alike want to ensure that Americans have access to quality health care, so if the insurance market is stabilizing it’s generally perceived as positive.
 
A stable market means that insurers are operating a healthy risk pool to cover the costs of the ailing while still retaining continuous premium payments from the healthy. The problem is that then-President Obama’s promise that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” is still not being fulfilled.
 
S&P analyst Deep Banerjee notes that insurers are starting to understand the new individual insurance market and therefore have begun to increase their prices to cover costs. They also have significantly narrowed their networks to include fewer doctors and hospitals as a way to lower costs.

Simply stated, insurers are charging individuals more while offering fewer choices and services. This isn’t a positive development for our health system or the American people.
 
You need to look no further than our own state to see Obamacare's negative impact. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average insurance premium increase in Wisconsin this year is 36%. Further, more than 350,000 Wisconsin health care consumers have fewer insurance choices. This trend is not unique to Wisconsin — it’s happening nationwide. 
 
It’s true that our old health insurance system was flawed and needed to be fixed. It allowed for the denial of coverage to those in our society who needed access to health care the most. And of those who could be covered with an illness, they would be charged substantially higher premiums. However, Obamacare’s flawed policies made matters worse.
 
Obamacare placed a mandate on all Americans to purchase health insurance. They were told that they must retain coverage with the promise that they wouldn’t be denied for any reason and that their premiums would have little difference in price from others. The idea being that with all Americans purchasing health insurance, risk pools would be fully funded and those who consume the most in health care services would have continued access to the care they required.

That led to one of Obamacare's biggest failures — an overall lack of participation. Americans who did not require many health care services found that it was cheaper to pay the Obamacare tax penalty for not purchasing insurance rather than paying expensive premiums for a health insurance plan that covered services they didn’t need.
 
S&P’s conclusion that the Obamacare death spiral is a fallacy and that the program is on a successful path is disingenuous, particularly because its own report acknowledges that the only reason insurers are getting closer to financial solvency is because prices have become less affordable. The point of Obamacare was to make health insurance more affordable, and it failed to do so.

Anyone pointing to this report as an “I told you so” to critics of Obamacare should do so with caution, because while the Affordable Care Act may be on a path to greater financial stability, it is only because of limited access to services and dramatic increases in health insurance premiums.
 
This disastrous law is bad for Wisconsin and bad for America, which is why Republicans are working to repeal and replace it with a plan that increases access to coverage, lowers premiums, and provides more options for health care consumers.

You can view this piece online here.