Here are the positives of the Healthy Wisconsin Plan:
Everyone is covered - that is why it is called universal.
The existing provider networks are maintained - that is why it is different than the Canadian or European models.
Every family may choose their own provider network - the same as state and many local government employees.
Your insurance stays with you regardless of whether you change jobs or lose your job.
The plan is governed by a board of trustees who will contract with the private sector for both administration and health care delivery - this is not a government health care program.
The funding for the plan is collected from assessments on income and payroll - this makes it fair, administratively simple and verifiable.
The plan provides affordable, comprehensive health care for every individual and family in Wisconsin not already covered by Medicare, Medicaid/BadgerCare, or in a state institution.
This plan will reduce state and local government costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. These savings could and should be used for tax reductions at both the state and local level.
Here are my responses to criticisms of the Healthy Wisconsin Plan:
"It is the largest tax increase in state history." Because the funding for the plan is assessed on payroll, it is collected as a tax. But the naysayers are neglecting to
point out that the approximate $15 billion collected for this plan eliminates more than $15 billion currently paid by businesses and consumers in insurance premiums.
"Families will have to change doctors." Not true. Families will have choices of health care provider networks just like legislators and other government and school employees.
"This is a government-run program." Not true. This plan is governed by a board of trustees made up of representatives of large and small businesses, labor, education and agriculture with an advisory group from the health care provider community.
"This plan is a last minute idea with no public scrutiny or input." Not true. Several groups including the committee I chaired have been working on this for over two years. Labor unions, business groups, health care providers, farmer organizations, senior citizen advocates, legislators, and the insurance industry have been part of these discussions. Furthermore, scores of forums, debates and news articles have covered this over the past year.
"This plan does nothing to control the cost of health care." Not true. The plan includes co-pays and deductibles to discourage inappropriate use of health care. It also provides preventive care with no co-pays and addresses chronic disease management. As I stated earlier, I wish Republicans would work with Democrats to include co-insurance and funded Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as my committee proposed in our health plan.
"This plan destroys the practices of health care professionals and their relationship with patients." Not true. Health care professionals will probably not even notice a change except that everyone will now have insurance.
"This will destroy Wisconsin's economy and drive away employers and jobs." Not true. Most businesses currently providing insurance will see an overall reduction in their health care costs. Businesses not currently providing insurance will incur increased costs but now both the owners and their employees will have affordable health care.
Ex-Republican Senator Urges Passage of Health Wisconsin Plan, Refutes Assembly Republican Spin
From Joe Leean, former Republican State Senator from Waupaca: