- Policy Resources
- News & Analysis
- Your State
Healthy Wisconsin Call Follow-Up
Thanks for joining the conference call discussing Healthy Wisconsin, sponsored by the Progressive States Network, the Universal Health Care Access Network, and Families USA. This e-mail includes resources discussed during the call, including contacts, details on the Healthy Wisconsin proposal and information concerning the model grassroots campaign that has brought reform this far in Wisconsin.
Please let me know if you need additional information.
Health Care Policy Specialist
Progressive States Network
Healthy Wisconsin - Model Policy and Advocacy
As State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-WI), and Robert Kraig, from Citizen Action of Wisconsin, explained during the call, the campaign for comprehensive health care reform in the state began several years ago. Some highlights, include:
In 2005, legislation requiring the legislature to enact comprehensive reform by 2008 failed. The bill was SB 416.
Using the conservative legislature's failure to pass SB 416 or otherwise act on health care reform, advocates mobilized and put the following referendum question on 11 county ballots in the 2006 election:
"Should the Wisconsin Legislature pass a bill that will reduce health care costs by at least 15% and adopt a long term plan to assure access to universal, affordable health care coverage for all Wisconsin individuals and families by 2008?"
This ballot question was advanced through a resolution adopted by the Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors.
The referenda passed by huge majorities. In Eau Claire County, it passed with 83% of the vote, which a staff editorial in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram said provided lawmakers a clear mandate to work towards universal coverage.
Observers also believe the existence of the 11 referenda on the 2006 ballot, which helped to expose the legislatures failure to act, helped lead to a new Democratic majority in the State Senate and a smaller Republican majority in the House.
Legislators and advocates developed the Healthy Wisconsin plan and the State Senate passed it as part of the State budget in June. Although Healthy Wisconsin's prospects in the House are uncertain, including the plan in the Senate's budget ensures a high profile debate on the need for progressive health care reform.
Families USA issued a report showing that Healthy Wisconsin would generate 13,000 new jobs and over $1 billion in economic growth in the state. This report was covered by local news media and helped counter attacks from opponents to Healthy Wisconsin.
If Healthy Wisconsin is not included in the final budget, advocates will still fight for it as separate legislation and use the issue again during the 2008 elections.
Wisconsin State Contacts/Resources:
State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (recent news, columns, campaign efforts)
Universal Health Care Action Network - www.uhcan.org
Families USA - www.familiesusa.org
Progressive States Network - www.progressivestates.org
Stateside Dispatch: Nation's Most Comprehensive Health Plan Approved in Wisconsin Senate