Look at the Bottom Line

“What can I do to help pass Healthy Wisconsin?” The farmer had no insurance and a large family. Everyday was a new worry about keeping his family healthy. And now he was discouraged. He had just heard an ad from those opposed to health care reform.

“Let people know how you feel,” came the answer. We live in a democracy. People can freely express their opinions. But some voices are louder than others. And money does talk.

There are strong interests opposed to health care for all. Some are vested in the current system and have much to lose. Others are opposed to the plan ideologically and simply do not believe in universal health care.

Passing Healthy Wisconsin will be a long, hard fight. As we get closer, the attacks will be increasingly shrill and personal. Attacks will be made through the media because one thing groups opposed to the plan have is money. Money buys advertising.

Healthy Wisconsin buys more health care with less dollars - no one will make a killing in the new system. There are no big money interests in favor of Healthy Wisconsin.

This was summed up well the first day the Conference Committee met in the capitol. Representative Fitzgerald, a member of the committee announced, “No lobbyist in the building likes the plan.”

Lobbyists may not like the plan. But many citizens do. People I have met all over Western Wisconsin are working hard to share information about the plan with friends. I have spent many hours traveling our area, holding Town Hall meetings, explaining Healthy Wisconsin and engaging people in a discussion about the problems and solutions to our health care mess. And people are responding.

One thing has become very clear. When you look at the bottom line, no one else has a plan that covers everyone, dramatically saves money and improves health care.

It is not just the independent consultants who reviewed Healthy Wisconsin and figured out that we cover everyone, reduce costs and keep people healthier. Every other industrialized nation covers everyone, does it at half the cost and has a healthier population.

Healthy Wisconsin is able to save money while providing everyone with better health care coverage because the plan cuts to the heart of what is causing rising health care costs.

When we spend 30 cents of every health care dollar on paperwork something is very wrong. Recently a health care administrator confided that Healthy Wisconsin would cut his billing expenses by 50 percent. We can’t afford not to change the way we do business in health care. Our lack of attention to health care problems is hurting the bottom line everywhere.

From the 57 percent increase in health care premiums faced by the City of Eau Claire to the 30 percent increase seen by the small business owner in Buffalo County, we are all paying for the inefficiencies in health care – though taxes and lost profits.

Healthy Wisconsin brings Wisconsin the largest premium decrease in history. The plan disconnects health care from a particular job allowing people to follow their dreams by choosing the job they want, starting a new business or farming full-time.

The plan covers everyone with the same type of coverage I have as a state senator and reduces costs. That’s the bottom line.

Have ideas on solving our health care problems? Let me know! Write: State Capitol; P.O. Box 7882 Madison, WI 53707-7882 or sen.vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov; call Black River Falls (715) 284-1730; Eau Claire at (715) 838-0448 or Madison at (877) 763-6636 (toll free). Visit my website at http://www.legis.state.wi.us/senate/sen31/news/