Healthy Wisconsin, the proposed plan to transform the delivery of health care in the state into a universal care system is: (A) A wonderful reform plan that efficiently and effectively will ensure universal health care for all of Wisconsin's residents; or (B) socialized medicine that would levy a new $15.2 billion tax on businesses and consumers and would be a bureaucratic boondoggle.
Depending upon your political presuppositions and how closely you follow the news, you may have already made up your mind about which of those two options is the reality in your world.
However, many of us are not inclined to make up our minds on such things ahead of time. We don't follow talk show radio hosts like sheep, and we don't take our cues from newspaper editorials. We simply want more information.
So, allow me to encourage you to attend the next Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon, which will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The forum is titled, "Healthy Wisconsin: Effective Reform or a Burdensome New Tax?"
The discussion will feature two of the architects of the reform plan, state Sen. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) and David Riemer, director of the Wisconsin Health Project, who will discuss their proposal with two of its critics, Rep. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Richard Blomquist, president of Blomquist Benefits LLC, who studied the Wisconsin plan for the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin.
In some states, such as Massachusetts and California, Republican governors such as Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger have embraced universal care concepts in health care.
In Wisconsin, the debate is taking a predictably more partisan tone, with many Democrats in favor of a universal system and many Republicans against it.
As past president of the Milwaukee Press Club, I will be moderating the Newsmaker Luncheon. I'd rather not call it a debate. I'd rather have it be an unscripted discussion of the merits or lack thereof of the Healthy Wisconsin plan.
The plan may or may not be right for Wisconsin. But the discussion is worthy for the simple reason that SOME type of reform is needed. The current system is out of control. A recent Small Business Times report noted that more than $1 billion in new health care buildings are currently under construction or being planned in southeastern Wisconsin.
If you or a loved one has been hospitalized in recent years, you know how jaw-dropping and out-of-whack medical bills have become. The current system is simply not sustainable for businesses, consumers or the government.
So, let's throw some paint at the wall and see if something sticks. The public is invited to the Newsmaker Luncheon, which will be held Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the Newsroom Pub, 137 E. Wells St., from noon to 1:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $15 for Milwaukee Press Club members, $20 for non-members and $10 for students. Lunch is included. Because seating is limited, pre-registration and advance payment is strongly recommended and may be made online at www.milwaukeepressclub.org. For additional information, contact email@example.com or call (414) 588-9571.
The Democrats didn't "ram" anything. Healthy Wisconsin was put together by a bipartisan group that included former Republican Rep. Curt Gielow and Democrat Jon Richards, along with independent business people, labor and other people.
It is a start. A good start. The current system is crazy, and you can't even debat that. Opponents of Healthy Wisconsin bash it, but have no realistic alternatives. They say they want more consumerism, but they ignore the fact that most people can't afford to pay an HSA deductible when they are hospitalized. Get out of the way and help reform a system that is broken!
You are right. It deserves a healthy debate. Too bad the Senate Democrats rammed this sweeping change through their house with no public hearing and very little debate. Many of their own members are unsure what the plan actually would do. In an unparalleled act of political irresponsibility and showmanship, they put the very expensive cart before the horse.
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
Published Feb. 9, 2015
Since 1851, Wisconsin's state motto has been "Forward." However, these days, a more appropriate motto might be "Just hold on a minute..."
Published Jan. 14, 2015
If it seems like so many public policy decisions are hanging fire in Wisconsin these days, it's only because they are. And so many of these loose ends seem to be intertwined and interdependent.
Published Dec. 23, 2014
As the legal slog to develop a new streetcar system in Downtown Milwaukee continues to play out in court, in City Hall and at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, proponents and opponents alike would do well to keep an eye on Cincinnati.
Published Dec. 2, 2014
If asked to return for another term as secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Reed Hall says he would be honored to serve again.
Published Nov. 14, 2014
In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they've conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.
Published Oct. 29, 2014
Over the years, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and its president, Tim Sheehy, have been vocal and ardent opponents of new taxes. That's why more than a few business leaders were still trying to process the messages Sheehy gave them when he spoke to the Milwaukee Rotary Club recently about the need to raise public financing for the region's cultural and entertainment venues.
Published Oct. 19, 2014
Empower your people to think like entrepreneurs and serve your customers. That was the leading takeaway message from the panelists at the first Next Stage Workshop recently presented by BizTimes.
Published Oct. 8, 2014
The Council of Small Business Executives (COSBE) recently unveiled its list of the "Fastest Five" companies.
Published Sept. 17, 2014
Bottom line: Koss is losing money, has halted production at its plant in Mexico, is pulling back on research and development of new products and is suspending payment of dividends to shareholders.