Universal Health Care? Take a Shot, Wisconsin

By August 9, 2007Health Care, Taxation

Wisconsin’s legislators are hashing out the state’s budget, a real push-and-pull between the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House. One of the sticking points? A $15 billion universal health-care plan, financed by a 10.5 percent payroll tax on business and a 4 percent tax on employees.

Hey, what the heck. Give it a shot Wisconsin, says ABC commentator and professional poker-of-holes John Stossel. The states are the laboratory of democracy, so experiment!

Wisconsin’s Capital Times reports that “two-thirds of Wisconsin residents support the Democratic plan — even when presented with opponents’ arguments that it would be a ‘job killer’ that could lead to higher taxes … Said Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, one of the plan’s sponsors, ‘Everything we have heard [against the plan], we put in the poll. And it still comes back at 67 percent approval.'”

That’s why America needs “Healthy Wisconsin.” The fall of the Soviet Union deprived us of the biggest example of how socialism works. We need laboratories of failure to demonstrate what socialism is like. All we have now is Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, the U.S. Post Office, and state motor-vehicle departments.

It’s not enough. Wisconsin can show the other 49 states what “universal” coverage is like.

More a Swiftian modest proposal than a serious one from Stossel, we think. The Cuban example serves all too well as the disaster produced by single-payer health care. And for goodness sakes, if you want to destroy the economy, just increase taxes by 14.5 percent. As R.J. Pirlot, director of legislative relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), testified in June, the proposal is a jobs killer.

It is axiomatic that the more the state taxes something, the less it gets of it. The ‘Healthy Wisconsin: Your Choice, Your Plan’ $15.2 billion payroll tax is a tax on Wisconsin jobs and will result in fewer jobs for Wisconsin.

And rather than complain, the WMC offers a package of positive health-care reforms, with a big focus on consumer responsibility. Good testimony (available here as a .pdf).

Still, the schadenfreudelust in us says give it a try. And then see what happens.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Tom Manthey says:

    I tire of the half truths put forth by certain Republicans concerning the Healthy Wisconsin Plan…when they say it will raise taxes 15.2 billion dollars….they do not tell you that currently the government in Wisconsin spends over 7 billion on health care costs for its employees…so really its only an 8 billion dollar bump up in the budget….and then they dont’t point out the obvious… that the current insurance premiums that tax our business will be majorly reduced….eye and dental not being covered for adults in the Healthy Wisconsin Plan…further offsetting the remaining 7 billion dollar increase.

    As for springing it on people….I attended the first hearing for the Plan in On February 7th in Green Bay….we had 10 State Senators and a few Assemblymen and zero coverage by WBAY, WFRV or any other TV news show…..WBAY was just two blocks down the street from the hearing…..in the Press Gazette the story was on the back page of the front section….no mention at all on the front page…no “State Senate meeting to reform HealthCare”…..no nothing at all to let people know that nearly a third of the State Senate was in Town to figure out a way to make life better for us.

    I did call WBAY and ask them why they did not cover the hearing ….they said they had no cameras available….dont you know we were all seating on the edge of our seats for the updates on the Avery trial……of course the fact that Drug Companies spend big money advertising prescription drugs that no one can simply go and buy might have something to do with their decision.

    Ane yes I agree, let’s increase people’s personal responsiblity to be healthy….ultimately being healthy is the result of the choices we make.

    the Healthy Wisconsin Plan will ensure everyone in Wisconsin will have access to a primary care Health Care Provider….the same person over time…with whom to develop a health care plan personalized to their own situation…certainly a worthwhile component of keeping people healthy…

  • Any poll on healthcare will always favor universal healthcare. Why, we already have it. 80% of us are insured or have Medicare/Medicaid and we are conditioned to spend “other people’s money.” Unfortunately we do not act like consumers but entitlees! Go to http://www.healthcaresoundoff.com and get in on the discussion while at the same time educating yourself about the realities of our system.

  • Keith Alan says:

    The Healthy Wisconsin plan sounds entirely reasonable, and will stimulate the economy because it will rein in health costs and improve health quality, as it does in every other modern first-world country. It’s even working well in the USA for over-65-year-olds (Medicare).

    The intense market-fundamentalist reaction to a single state’s modest plan shows they know that if one state shows how to make it work, many others will follow.

    On Wisconsin!

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