Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Canada considers major changes in its health care

Government health care

As Dean Martin used to sing, “Ain’t that a kick in the head!”

The White House and the Democrat-controlled Congress have embraced and approved government health care at time when our neighbors to the north are reconsidering their government health care delivery system.

Reuters reports, “Pressured by an aging population and the need to rein in budget deficits, Canada's provinces are taking tough measures to curb healthcare costs, a trend that could erode the principles of the popular state-funded system. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, kicked off a fierce battle with drug companies and pharmacies when it said earlier this year it would halve generic drug prices and eliminate "incentive fees" to generic drug manufacturers. British Columbia is replacing block grants to hospitals with fee-for-procedure payments and Quebec has a new flat health tax and a proposal for payments on each medical visit -- an idea that critics say is an illegal user fee.“

Concerns include an inability of economic growth to keep pace with spiraling health care costs, and government health care squeezing out other government programs. Cost is the killer. 

Washington could and should have learned its lesson from Canada. It is interesting to read how some officials use the adjective “quality” to describe Canada’s health care system. Evidence would suggest otherwise.

Here in Wisconsin, the rush is on unnecessarily to implement a key provision of federal health care reform. States will be required to establish insurance exchanges for those without employer-sponsored coverage.  Exchanges will not be required until 2013.

Even so, Wisconsin’s Medicaid Director, Jason Helgerson told a University of Wisconsin symposium at the state Capitol last week that efforts to design the exchanges are already underway with hopes of having a vendor in place by September that will be prepared to begin the process of implementing exchanges. Governor Doyle has already created the Office of Health Care Reform that amounts to a website being operated by existing staff.   

All of this is occurring as specifics about the federal rules governing health care have yet to be worked out, polls show most Americans oppose the federal health care law, Governor Doyle is in his final months in office, and the Legislature is out of session.

Expediency, in this case, is unwarranted.

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