Governor Walker and Outagamie County Executive Nelson clash over health care

Posted at 4:14 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 18:30:03-04

A press conference on tourism in Appleton turned into a heated discussion between Governor Scott Walker and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson as the two clashed over health care Friday.

Governor Walker was in Appleton for the tourism press conference at the construction site of the new Fox Cities Exhibition Center.

Before Gov. Walker spoke to reporters, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson approached him to discuss the health care replacement bill passed Thursday.

The discussion became heated, with Governor Walker telling Tom Nelson, "If you want to run for Congress, you had your chance."

Nelson, a Democrat, unsuccessfully ran against Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay) for Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District seat last year.

Rep. Gallagher voted for the American Health Care Act, which passed 217-213 in the House Thursday.

Gov. Walker then addressed reporters.

"Just to be clear, the county executive wants to take away from tourism right now and play a political stunt that has nothing to do with what we're talking about today," Gov. Walker said. 

Nelson wanted Gov. Walker to explain where he stood on the American Health Care Act.

Earlier Friday, Gov. Walker said he would consider seeking a waiver under the new health care changes to let insurers raise premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.

Part of the health care replacement bill passed Thursday in the House would allow states to seek those waivers exempting insurers from Obama's prohibition on higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.

States could then use federal dollars to fund government-operated insurance programs for pools of expensive patients.

Ultimately, Gov. Walker said he is waiting to see what changes the U.S. Senate makes to the legislation.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin released the following statement on the incident: 

“Democrats in Wisconsin are threatened by the idea that Governor Scott Walker is standing up for hard-working Wisconsinites and offering real reforms,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.  “All that Democrats have left to offer are political stunts and the desire to take us back to the same failed policies of yesterday.” 

Watch the video above to see the argument.