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.
Reminder: This week, I conclude my series of town hall meetings scheduled this spring throughout the entire state Senate District 28. I look forward to seeing you and hearing your questions, comments, and concerns.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 28
WATERFORD 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Waterford Public Library • 101 North River Street
EAST TROY 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
East Troy Village Hall • 2106 Church Street
THURSDAY, MAY 29
NEW BERLIN 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
New Berlin Public Library • 15105 Library Lane
WAUKESHA 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Waukesha Town Hall • W250 S3567 Center Road
On April 1, 2008, I blogged about a Competitive Wisconsin Inc. (CWI) report that used 33 measures in six categories to show Wisconsin’s ability to compete nationally continues to sag.
The nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) took the tables and charts from the CWI report and assigned grades to Wisconsin in all 33 benchmarks.
WISTAX reports, “Of the 33 measures, Wisconsin had four grades in the A range, 12 each in the B and C ranges, and five in the D range. The average grade over all measures was just below 2.5, or B-/C+. The two areas with the strongest grades were quality of life (averaging about a B) and workforce excellence (B- average). Low grades were given to new business creations (D+) and venture capital per worker (D), both of which suggest that future job creation could be at risk. Also disconcerting was the steady rise in energy costs (C-), once an area of decided advantage.”
Here is the entire WISTAX report.
Milwaukee has some of the most expensive health care in the country. The main reason, according to a new study by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) is that there is not enough competition.
The author of the study, Linda Gorman, Ph.D. attributes the high cost to Milwaukee’s historic ties to unions. She says another factor is that health care has become consolidated, leaving less competition to keep costs lower. When competition is lacking, consumers have less alternatives. The result is more expensive health care.
How expensive is Milwaukee’s health care? The WPRI study says Milwaukee’s health care is anywhere from 27 to 55 percent higher than the national average.
State law has contributed to the increasing costs. The WPRI cites that, “Wisconsin law mandates 33 procedures be covered by a health plan operating in the state, including regulations requiring that dentists be included in plans, and mandates that require insurers to cover contraceptives, in-vitro fertilization, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, and well-child care. Each one of these adds to the cost of a consumer’s health care and makes it more difficult for a health plan to operate in Wisconsin.”
What is the solution? Gorman says there are two remedies:
1) There must be market-based tools, such as Health Savings Accounts.
2) High-deductible health plans
Gorman says prices will come down when competition has consumers shopping around. She contends that high deductible policies will allow consumers to actually save over $100,000 during their 40-year work career, and even cites companies like Whole Foods, Wendy’s International Inc, and Lutheran Social Services of Illinois that have experienced success going to HSA’s and high-deductible plans.
Here is the WPRI study.