Tag Archives: healthcare

Unhealthy budget

While headlines focus on the union-busting aspect of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget, other items in the bill are also disturbing.

At the same time the governor and his GOP colleagues want to join a federal lawsuit to overturn a national law providing near-universal healthcare coverage, they also want to drop a significant number of people from the state’s Medicaid rolls.

If Walker’s budget passes, as it almost certainly will, it will raise eligibility requirements for BadgerCare, SeniorCare and FamilyCare – the state programs that cover healthcare for Wisconsinites who rely on Medicaid. The result is that 50,000 people would lose their healthcare coverage in July 2012.

There’s another big problem with Walker’s healthcare proposal. It gives broad but unspecified powers to the Department of Health Services to make any changes they believe will reduce costs to the state’s Medicaid system.

Walker and his fellow tea partiers have railed ad nauseam about the federal government’s alleged autocratic takeover of healthcare. But apparently they want to give the state unlimited control over the healthcare decisions of the one in five Wisconsinites who rely on Medicaid. And they want to do this without debate, with one fell swoop of Walker’s pen.

In contrast, Congress debated national healthcare reform for an entire year.

The Wisconsinites whose healthcare will be affected are not part of the wealthy Tea Party constituency that brought Walker to power. They believe it’s fine to balance the state budget by sacrificing the health – and perhaps the lives – of poor and working-class people. They prefer this strategy and union-busting to scaling back tax cuts to the wealthy, which they contend will create jobs that will benefit all Wisconsinites.

Even if this were true, we must not forget what kind of state Walker and the Tea Party are creating. The loss of collective bargaining rights will have a ripple effect that will eventually depress wages throughout the state’s economy. It will also destroy the only big-money counterbalance to the corporate dollars that flow into elections from the corporate right.

Destroying Wisconsin’s successful healthcare system, one that puts us near the top nationally for insuring kids, will lower the quality of life for the poor and working class, making Wisconsin a less fair and less attractive place to live.

Anti-gay Republican launches campaign against Feingold

A Madison-area real estate developer took his U.S. Senate campaign to the airwaves Feb. 10, launching a TV attack ad that depicts Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold as out-of-touch with Wisconsin voters.

In “Fed Up,” Republican Terrence Walker accuses Feingold of supporting a government “takeover” of health care, using angry footage from a Jan. 11 town hall meeting with the senator in Pewaukee. The ads were scheduled for broadcast through Feb. 22 in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Wausau.

Although Walker faces businessman Dave Westlake in the Sept. 14 primary elections, he does not mention his Republican opponent during the 30-second commercial.

A non-partisan analysis of “Fed Up” by AP’s AdWatch found it “misleading.”

“The ad, in both the narration and a graphic, refers to a ‘government takeover of health care.’ That’s misleading, as neither the House nor Senate bill advocates that government take over health care,” AdWatch reported.

Feingold’s campaign called the ad “harsh and negative.”

Wall’s Web site indicates he’s building his campaign on a combination of current Tea Party themes and the “guns, God and gays” mantra that was popular in right-wing campaigns during the Bush era.

In contrast, Feingold has a liberal voting record on social policies and earned a 90-percent rating from Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard for his votes on LGBT issues during the 110th Congress.

“While we haven’t endorsed in this race yet, Sen. Feingold has been a huge advocate for the LGBT community,” said Fair Wisconsin executive director Katie Belanger. “We’ve taken important steps this last year with the domestic partner registry. Keeping the Legislature in pro-fairness control is absolutely critical for moving our positive legislative agenda forward, so we’re going to be working extremely hard over the next year to support candidates who have – or will – support the LGBT community in Wisconsin.”

Wall has come under attack from critics on both the left and right for using loopholes to avoid paying state income taxes for 12 of the past 15 years. Wall’s net worth is estimated at between $58 and $130 million.

Republican insiders are reportedly scrambling to find a stronger candidate to challenge Feingold. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson is among the party’s heavy hitters said to be weighing a run.

The general election is Nov. 2.