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PNHP RESOURCES

Wis. doctors' group opposes governor's budget bill

Warns of dangers posed to BadgerCare, other safety-net programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2011

Contact:
Melissa Stiles, M.D., melstiles1@gmail.com
Laurel Mark, M.D., laurel.mark@gmail.com

The Wisconsin chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program joins countless organizations in Wisconsin in opposition to the governor’s budget repair bill. We particularly oppose the dramatic changes in policy regarding Medicaid. These changes would take decision-making authority away from our elected officials and into the hands of unelected, partisan appointees with oversight only by the Joint Finance Committee.

As proposed in the bill, the director of the Department of Human Services would control future rule-making and policy changes could take place without full legislative oversight or public input. These policy changes could include important decisions about program eligibility, covered services, patient cost-sharing, enrollment procedures and provider reimbursement.

PNHP Wisconsin believes that any changes in Medicaid and BadgerCare should be made in the public eye and with public debate. We feel the changes to oversight of these programs should not be included in a bill that claims to solve a fiscal crisis for the current budget year.

PNHP Wisconsin supports universal, comprehensive and affordable health care. Programs like BadgerCare, Medicaid and Medicare are critical safety-nets that must be defended and preserved until we have such a universal health care system. We recognize these programs are not the cause of our rising health care costs, but are just part of our irrational, fragmented and failed market-based model of health care financing.

If the governor and the Wisconsin Legislature want to control costs, PNHP suggests an improved Medicare for all – single-payer national health insurance – as the remedy for our health care cost woes. By replacing private insurers with a streamlined, publicly financed system of care, we’ll have enough resources to provide comprehensive, quality care for all.

The 350 physician-members of PNHP Wisconsin stand in solidarity with the many other groups opposing the budget repair bill. Wisconsin’s admirable record of health coverage, currently at 94 percent of the state population, is a record we’re proud of and hope to expand, so that we can truly achieve “Health Care for All!”

MEDIA ADVISORY: Dr. Margaret Flowers, congressional fellow of Physicians for a National Health Program, will be visiting Madison, Wis., from Wednesday, March 2, through Friday, March 4, for several speaking engagements and will be available for interview. To contact Dr. Flowers, call (410) 591-0892 or write margaret@pnhp.org.

PNHP’s national statement on the Wisconsin developments can be found here.

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Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) is an organization of 18,000 doctors who advocate for single-payer national health insurance, an improved Medicare for all. To speak with a physician near you, visit www.pnhp.org/stateactions, or call (312) 782-6006.