HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wisconsin Health Reform

Governor Jim Doyle, Governor of Wisconsin and co-host of an upcoming White House Forum on Health Reform, has an interesting post at the Huffingtonpost website discussing his state's health reform and how it may be a template for the one that President Obama should consider.  He writes,

I applaud President Obama for having the courage to take on this crisis, even during these tough economic times. It is not only the right thing to do, it makes fiscal sense. Unless we reform this broken system we will continue to saddle our children and grandchildren with increasing debt. . . .

It is important that any meaningful attempt at reform includes measures to cut costs. But we must not forget the 46 million Americans who, today, lack access to basic health insurance. Even during this tight budget, there are paths available to Washington for universal health care access. All they need to do is examine what states like Wisconsin have done through our national leading BadgerCare Plus program.

While many states are cutting back on health care programs, here in Wisconsin we are moving forward, expanding access to health care at an unprecedented rate. In February 2008, we ensured that every child in our state has access to affordable health insurance. In July, we will provide 98 percent of our residents with health care coverage by expanding BadgerCare Plus to low income individuals that don't have dependent children. When it's complete, we'll have the second largest percentage of residents insured of any state.  In both cases, we built upon existing successful programs. Simplification and cost-effectiveness drove our efforts.

Often, complex programs deter individuals from enrolling. In Wisconsin, we have cut bureaucracy and shortened our BadgerCare Plus application form to one page. We also now accept more than 30 percent of our applications online.  In addition, we have shown creativity in controlling costs while expanding access. . . .

Here in Wisconsin, we have shown that the moral issue of health care -- the crisis of the uninsured -- is something we can successfully address. We look forward to working with federal policymakers to make basic, affordable health care a reality for all Americans.

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