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Wisconsin Joins State-Led Single-Payer National Health Program Movement with Universal Health Care Bill

Contact: Art Taggart Coalition for Wisconsin Health phone: 608-833-8888 mobile: 608-217-9650 email: ataggart@facstaff.wisc.edu

Representative Mark Miller and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin Team with The Coalition for Wisconsin Health to Introduce Universal Health Plan Bill

MADISON, WI, March 6, 2003 — Representative Mark Miller and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin will join members of the Wisconsin Coalition for Health to introduce The Wisconsin Universal Health Plan bill at a press conference in the State Capitol Assembly Parlor on March 10, at 10am. State Senator Tim Carpenter will also be in attendance to introduce a companion bill proposing a single-payer health care program.

"Wisconsin's superior health care is at risk because double digit increases in health insurance premiums combined with economic uncertainty makes it increasingly difficult for employers to maintain their commitment to providing health insurance for their employees," states Mark Miller. "A single-payer system, as proposed in this bill, should allow expansion to all residents of the state and greater efficiency for providers."

The Wisconsin Universal Health Plan bill is co-sponsored by The Coalition for Wisconsin Health, a collection of more than 60 organizations from farm, labor, disability, faith-based, and senior organizations dedicated to providing health care as a fundamental right. The aim of the group is to provide comprehensive health care for every Wisconsin resident regardless of race, ethnicity, color, creed or economic standing.

"Insurance companies continue to ask government to provide coverage for those most in need of health care, while they use underwriting principles to skim the healthiest for their risk pools," explains Art Taggart, of the Coalition for Wisconsin Health. "If you are very healthy, insurance companies want your business; if you are very disabled, taxpayers provide your coverage. It is the working poor and those with pre-existing conditions who are left out in the cold." [more]

Speakers at the press conference will include:

-Representative Mark Miller, State (D), Assembly District 48 -Representative Tammy Baldwin (D), 2nd Congressional District -Senator Tim Carpenter (D), 3rd Congressional District -Art Taggart, Coalition for Wisconsin Health; Epilepsy Foundation South Central WI -Dr Franklin Stein, Professor Emeritus, University of South Dakota Medical School; Founding Editor, Occupational Therapy International -Dr. Linda Farley, Physicians for a National Health Program -James T. Wrich, Analyst, Health Systems Performance Co.

Dr. Linda Farley will represent concerned physicians on Monday: "Health Care is a service, not a commodity," Farley said. "Physicians must be committed to providing quality care to all the people based on their need, not on their ability to pay. The Wisconsin Universal Health Care bill would allow physicians and other health care workers to concentrate on the health of patients and populations, without the hassles of excessive paper work."

Select Features of The Wisconsin Universal Health Plan Bill

The Wisconsin Universal Health Plan is a comprehensive plan to provide quality health care to all Wisconsin residents-rich, and poor, young and old, regardless of health condition, medical history or employment status. By replacing over 700 different health insurers with a single publicly financed plan, it would eliminate waste and red tape. It would be administered at the state and local level, accountable to the residents of Wisconsin.

Administration: A single-payer, publicly funded program administered by the Department of Health, Planning and Finance under the guidance of the Wisconsin Health Policy Board

Coverage: Covers all Wisconsin residents regardless of pre-existing health condition, age, sex, race, sexual orientation, geographic location, employment or economic status.

Covered services: Hospital and clinic services; office visits and house calls; Services of physicians, dentists, social workers, and other licensed professionals; Prescription drugs; Health promotion and illness or injury prevention; Long term care, including home and nursing home care, and community health centers; Mental health services, and alcohol and other drug rehabilitation services

Freedom of Choice: Freedom for patients to choose health providers.

Quality and oversight: Sets up monitoring and oversight mechanisms in six regions of the state. Regional investigations of quality, access to medical services, and consumer complaints

Financing: Establishes Health Trust Fund in Department of Health Planning and Finance. All revenues earmarked for health care to be deposited into Fund, from which all providers are reimbursed.

Insurance Industry role: Health insurance coverage permitted for services not covered by WUHP.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) is a research and education organization with more than 10,000 members representing every state and specialty. PNHP was founded in 1987 and has physician spokespeople across the country. For contact information, call the national headquarters in Chicago at (312) 782-6006. Visit us online at www.pnhp.org. To interview a member of PNHP about the ever-growing national single-payer movement, contact Ida Hellander at 312.782.6006 or pnhp@aol.com

Also read today's USA TODAY op-ed by PNHP President Don Mccanne:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2003-03-05-oppose_x.htm