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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 April 16, 2014
Despite news that the two new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks and outgoing owner Herb Kohl will contribute $200 million to a new arena, that leaves at least another $200 million to be raised for a new arena. And that is where a series of unanswered questions lies, beginning with how much public tax support will be needed to build a new arena?
Published April 4, 2014
I, for one, have always hesitated to link stock market performances to U.S. presidents. After all, global forces and factors such as energy costs that presidents cannot always control often play key roles in the fates of the markets.
Published March 15, 2014
By now, I'm sure you've heard about the Milwaukee Brewers' new little mascot for the 2014 season. After all, Hank the Dog seems to be on his way to the growing ranks of Brewers' icons, ranging from Bernie Brewer and the Racing Sausages to Front Row Amy and the Door Man seated behind the visitors' dugout.
Published Feb. 19, 2014
Take a good, hard look at outgoing State Senators Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) and Bob Jauch (D-Poplar). They are members of an endangered species.
Published Feb. 13, 2014
In this harsh Wisconsin winter, a citizen video is sparking public pressure against Simon Property Group's decision to move the public bus stop 1,000 feet away from Southridge Mall's entrances.
Published Feb. 7, 2014
When the Wisconsin State Legislature convened in early 2013, the Republican majority made Senate Bill 1 to streamline the state's mining regulations a top priority. Nearly a year later, the bottom has fallen out of the mining industry, and the bill is being exposed for what it was: a law written by proponents of the mining industry that was not tenable with federal environmental standards.
Published Feb. 6, 2014
BizTimes is restructuring its editorial team, and the changes will have an impact on how the business community interacts with our company and how our award-winning editorial content is generated.
Published Jan. 30, 2014
Word to the wise: If your cell phone receives a one-ring phone call from a number you do not recognize, do NOT call the number back to inquire about whom was calling you.
Published Jan. 17, 2014
Economist Michael Knetter is forecasting the national gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 3 percent in 2014. Knetter, president of the University of Wisconsin Foundation, issued his macroeconomic projections for the year ahead to an audience of more than 500 people at the Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast presented by BizTimes Media at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee today.
Published Jan. 8, 2014
If no county solution - including new taxation - is found to build a new Downtown arena, we must understand and be prepared to live with the consequences.