Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Health Care Reform: A Boon for the Private Sector

The Wausau Daily Herald has an article today about the bipartisan Wisconsin Health Partnership Plan (WHPP) proposed by Sen. Russ Decker (D-Schofield) and Rep. Terry Musser (R-Black River Falls) last week.

A previous article on the plan in the Cap Times cited government officials who felt the plan could save them significant amounts of taxpayer dollars if enacted. According to Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel, the plan would save the county around $3.5 million per year.

The Daily Herald article from today has some predictions for what the bill would do for the private sector.

Mike Rayome, who is the regional human resources manager for Graphic Packaging International, estimates the WHPP would save his company $2.88 million per year in health care costs -- which is a savings of 60% from what it pays now.

And that's just at the company's Wausau facility. The savings would be even greater if the company's Menasha site was included in the calculations.

The total savings for the plan statewide are staggering. According to an actuarial report, the WHPP would save Wisconsin a total of $34 billion in health care costs over a nine-year period, while simultaneously cutting the number of uninsured in Wisconsin by 85%.

I asked this question the last time I wrote about this plan, but it bears repeating: What's not to like?

8 Comments:

Blogger Dave Diamond said...

Quite a bit, if you're a shareholder of WPS, Blue Cross or United HealthCare.

May 02, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Right. I noted in my last post on the plan that the insurance companies will blow a gasket over it.

But, as far as I can tell, there's no reason for anyone else to reasonably object.

Key word being "reasonably." I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we start hearing objections from the right.

May 02, 2006  
Blogger proletariat said...

If they get rid of all the tricks and gimmicks I'm all in favor. The good, one pool and one plan. The bad, too many deductibles, fees, and co pays. It is silly to have a plan that one would need insurance for to pay the fees.

I argue for a hybrid of this plan and single payer which is more or less what Rae Vogeler in running on. The main difference is funding it through fair, progressive taxation and getting rid of the tricks and gimmicks.

I would settle for getting rid of the tricks and gimmicks as an initial reform measure.

May 02, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

I agree that a completely free system for citizens is preferable, but the out-of-pocket costs are not that high under the WHPP.

Although it's more than I pay now as a state employee, I'd gladly pay $15 for office co-pays, $10 for prescription co-pays, and $600 per year for a family deductible if it means lowering health care costs across the board and providing quality coverage for nearly everyone in the state.

May 02, 2006  
Blogger proletariat said...

Well I wouldn't. What about the costs for billing and all the other waste. Seth what you are advocating is insurance in name only. Everyone has a card, but the fees, co-pays etc are so large they never use it.

Seth its simple, you are either for a fair, progressive approach to healthcare or you're not. Newby should be ashamed of himself. He sold out working people to the TABOR crowd. This is a plan built upon a bad foundation, and one I could never support.

Why would a working person or small business for that matter want to participate in a program that they will never use. A $600 deductible is huge, I might as well take out an HSA. The whole thing has filthy republicans hands all over it.

Most Wisconsinites will support universal healthcare without the tricks and gimmicks. They will not however support a system with huge fees, co-pays, and deuctibles.

http://blog.nateweb.info

May 02, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Nate, I understand you're a firm believer in the values and platform of the Green Party. I respect that, but you should know that the Green Party doesn't own what it means to be a progressive or what is fair. So we can just leave the ultimatums out of the discussion.

A $600 deductible amounts to $50 per month for a family (the single rate is half that). That money could be deposited the prior year on a monthly basis into a tax-free HSA and used as medical expenses arise in the subsequent year. In other words, it would be just like paying a $50 per month premium, which is almost exactly what government employees like me pay now -- and our health care is about as good as it gets.

And what drives administrative costs up is not the fact that health insurance exists, but that there are countless insurers out there. The Decker/Musser plan would decrease administrative costs by pooling everyone into one health care plan -- in other words, a single-payer system.

May 02, 2006  
Blogger proletariat said...

What ultimatum are you taking about? WI has had a tradition of fair and progressive taxation, this plan violates that. It uses tricks and gimmicks and those will only increase. So $600 is managable, what about $1200?

I will tell you this Seth, the fees are high enough it would factor into my decision to take my kids to the doctor. I am currently on medication, $15 a pop would add up quick. I work with a lady that takes 15 bottles , that is over $100 in deductibles.

What is funny is this plan hurts those most who it aims at helping. That's a Democrat plan all right.

Heathcare is the Democrats abortion and gay rights. They don't want to solve this issue, just exploit it enough to gain political capital.

May 03, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

The ultimatum I was refering to was this line: "Seth its simple, you are either for a fair, progressive approach to healthcare or you're not."

That told me that if I support the Decker/Musser plan, which you have deemed full of "tricks and gimmicks," then I don't support a fair, progressive approach to health care reform.

Fighting for a completely free single-payer system (which wouldn't be completely free because taxes would necessarily increase) will get the Dems nowhere. $10 for prescription drugs is about as cheap as it's going to get. And if people are able to build up tax-free funds in a HSA, the $600 deductible shouldn't be an issue.

By saving just $75 per month, tax-free, it would give a family $900 per year to spend on health care. $600 would go toward the deductible, while the remaining $300 could go toward co-pays on visits and prescriptions.

Sure, some families may need to save more while some will get away with saving less. But considering most working families currently spend around $225 per month for their health care (a very conservative estimate), this plan would be a major step in the right direction for them.

May 03, 2006  

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