Friday, April 04, 2008

Healthy Wisconsin

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing State Senators Jon Erpenbach and Robert Wirch give presentations on the Healthy Wisconsin Bill to the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce and the Burlington Area Progressives, respectively.

Healthy Wisconsin (HW) is not socialized medicine. HW will create a pool of all working Wisconsinites to buy the same private health insurance our legislators enjoy, saving $1.76 BILLION per year and slowing the increase in medical costs. HW will cover the 600,000 of our fellow citizens, including many children, farmers and small business people who have no health coverage. The more than 10,000 family bankruptcies per year due to medical expenses will be eliminated, ceasing the endless parade of feel-good but ineffective tavern fundraiser band-aids.

Our citizens will be able to choose their own doctor and have prescription, physician, hospital and mental health coverage, because the brain is an organ too. Pre-existing conditions that make benefit slaves out of workers will no longer exist and health coverage will be portable. Doctors will be able to practice their craft rather than doing paperwork and fighting insurance companies. Preventive care will be encouraged and emergency rooms will cease to be the health care source of last resort for the uninsured, which we all pay for. Businesses will be attracted to Wisconsin and will be more competitive globally. People will not come to Wisconsin just for HW because you need to have a job to be covered. For more information visit

At the Chamber, State Assembly members Robin Vos and Samantha Kerkman, in denial of the fact that we have a health care crisis tried unsuccessfully to attack HW and defend the status quo that is preferred by the insurance and health industry lobbyists they represent. Mr. Vos made the argument that with healthcare costs anticipated to rise 6% per year under HW and working people’s pay barely keeping pace with inflation at 3% per year, something would have to give with respect to the payroll based funding. This is a potentially logical argument until you consider the rest of the truth, that without HW medical expenses are predicted to rise at over 10% per year, doubling in a decade, thus making his point meaningless as the ship sinks twice as fast.

Ms. Kerkman discussed the fact that during her recent difficult pregnancy she had to drive to Kenosha for medical services, making one wonder what her point was with respect to the bill and what she would do if she lacked coverage like roughly 10% of her constituents. The only solution offered by the Republicans are expensive health savings accounts (HSAs). But with median family income at $42,000 average Wisconsinites just can’t afford HSAs and will remain without coverage, demonstrating the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of GOP.
It’s time to use OUR government to promote progress in making the private sector work efficiently for the citizens of Wisconsin. If Vos and Kerkman are opposed to citizens having the same health coverage that they do, perhaps they should forego that coverage and turn to the golden bull of the supposed “free” market that they worship so dutifully and see how they fare. Come on in ya’ll, the water’s cold!

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