Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., speaks at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on Feb. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., speaks at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on Feb. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Twelve years after the Affordable Care Act became law, Sen. Ron Johnson still wants to repeal it, even though it made health care more affordable and accessible to millions of people in Wisconsin.

Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson had some advice to share with fellow conservatives about the next time Republicans try to repeal a law that provides over 200,000 Wisconsinites health insurance: have a plan for what to do next.

“If we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare — I still think we need to fix our health care system — we need to have the plan ahead of time so that once we get in office, we can implement it immediately, not knock around like we did last time and fail,” Johnson said on Breitbart radio.

For those at home doing the math, Sen. Johnson’s comment came 4,367 days after Obamacare became law. 

Republicans in Congress spent more than a few of those days working to repeal the landmark health care reform law. Over one hundred efforts have failed in Congress. Three different court challenges led to the US Supreme Court upholding  the law as constitutional, three different times.

Since then, over 200,000 Wisconsinites have gotten health insurance through the public marketplace. And thanks to the coronavirus rescue package, thousands of Wisconsin families are paying less than $10 a month for that coverage through 2022. Beyond getting people coverage, Obamacare also stopped insurers from dropping patients for pre-existing conditions, expanded coverage to children under 26, and forced insurance companies to issue rebates for overcharges. 

And yet, Senator Johnson continues to fight it. That’s not surprising when you consider his first run for the US Senate in 2010 was a success due in no small part to his opposition to the law as it was being debated. 

The surprising thing is that a dozen years later he is still willing to say so, out loud, in the toughest re-election contest of his career. Obamacare hasn’t just survived a dozen years worth of attempts to kill it, the law has steadily become more popular and been improved upon during President Biden’s first year in office. Let’s hope Ron Johnson changes his tune… and soon.