Access to affordable healthcare for all Wisconsinites is pretty personal to me. When my wife and I were young with four young children under the age of eight, including a newborn, we lost our health insurance. We know how it feels to be uninsured, without the means to buy it, and afraid for your family’s future.
Since then, I have had the good fortune to work for employers who provided healthcare benefits. But others are not so lucky. The social contract that was traditionally in place between industry and society – with employers providing health insurance – is no more. Healthcare costs are soaring, with the result that fewer and fewer employees are provided health insurance benefits. Small businesses especially can’t afford to insure their employees. Today’s workers may work several part-time jobs, none of which provide insurance. When workers have jobs that provide health insurance, they may feel trapped, unwilling to change jobs, return or school, or start a business for fear of losing benefits.
Meanwhile, health Insurance advisors tell us the cheapest and most effective health care delivery system is preventive care. People should not put off regular exams, only to discover that irreparable damage to their health has already occurred. And the emergency room should not be a sick person’s first doctor visit. Everyone should get preventive care, immunizations, and lifestyle advice in order to live long and productive lives, AND lower the cost to all.
Healthcare is a national problem. It affects workers’ economic and social mobility. It is quite literally a matter of life and death for some. And the current failure to address the issue is a national crisis.
Since Washington seems unable to address the issue, Wisconsin must. There are plans in place in other states that provide healthcare coverage for all. Massachusetts in particular has a single payer plan that might work in Wisconsin. What to call it remains to be seen – whether it is called single payer, Badger Care for all, Healthcare for All, Medicare for all, whatever the label, it is past time Wisconsin address the issue head on and help insure its citizens.
All that is needed is an innovative spirit, an open mind, a willingness to cooperate, and the will to put all hands on deck to address this critical issue. And rest assured, if the federal government wants to contribute funds to insure Wisconsinites, I will NOT turn them down!