Is a Productive Health Care Debate Possible in Today's State Legislature?
Here's a snippet from the article, which appeared in the June 16, 2005 issue of the Cap Times:
Despite its backing by [Rep. Curt] Gielow, a Republican, other Republicans quickly blasted the proposal as a big-government scheme.
Rep. Robin Vos, R-Racine, described the plan as a form of government-mandated "Hillary-care," referring to former first lady Hillary Clinton's health insurance proposal of the 1990s.
"It's hard to know what to say," Vos told Gielow. "Radical is a kind term for this program, in my opinion."
Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, called it "nothing short of a framework for socialized medicine in Wisconsin" that would create a "slippery slope of compulsory managed care and unending tax increases."
Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, said he was "outraged" by the "ludicrous" plan. "I do not want a system where a Madison bureaucrat decides on a whim what doctors I am able to see or who provides care for my family," he said in a statement.
"Socialism and more government should not be the way of this new millennium," he said.
This is interesting because many of the specific complaints conservatives have been raising about Healthy Wisconsin wouldn't be an issue under the WHP:
- Healthy WI was hastily thrown together and into the budget. The same couldn't be said of the WHP, which was made public over two years ago. And the WHP also has been brought before numerous public forums since its announcement.
- No detailed report on the estimated effects of Healthy WI exists. The same can't be said for the WHP, which underwent a detailed review by the Lewin Group resulting in a 170+ page report.
- Healthy WI doesn't include enough consumer involvement. The same can't be said of the WHP, which is entirely comprised of high deductible health plans. It's possible to haggle over the specific deductible amount and how much should be pre-funded into the HSA, but the basic idea of consumer-driven health care is on prominent display in the WHP.
And if we could get the two sides of the legislature to come to the table over a proposal like the WHP -- I'm not saying they need to agree on it as is, but just come to the table over it -- it would be a major step forward for the health care debate in Wisconsin.
But, as the Brawler deduces from the above quote, the current leadership of the state GOP doesn't seem all that interested in coming to any table where a fundamental solution to our health care woes is on tap.