Criticism Over Dem Health ‘Vision’ Mounts

MacIver News Service | July 22, 2010 [Madison, Wisc…] Controversy is brewing over an expansive health care agenda unveiled in Madison this week by the Doyle administration.

“This plan will not only reach deeper into the pocket books of Wisconsin families and further deteriorate the state’s fiscal situation,” said State Representative Robin Vos, a Republican member of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance. “But it will also take away our freedoms by imposing even more government intervention in our everyday lives.”

According to the Department of Health Services, the Healthiest Wisconsin 2020: Everyone Living Better, Longer sets out several major health improvement targets, including smoking prevention, lowering  obesity rates, ensuring access to good nutrition and increasing exercise levels. The plan also emphasizes the need to improve systems that support health, such as research, health literacy, sustainable funding, partnerships and information systems.

But Vos and others note the plan covers far more topics than the popular positions outlined in the press release issued by DHS.

Vos said some of the most egregious parts of the plan include:

  • Placing community health centers that may provide sexual and reproductive services in middle schools
  • Creating universally-mandated early childhood education for children as young as 3 years of age
  • Raising the alcohol tax
  • Implementing dram shop laws to place liability on tavern owners and workers, rather than those who commit alcohol-related offenses
  • Restricting alcohol consumption at public events like Summerfest or the State Fair
  • Reducing the number of businesses that sell alcohol including, bars, liquor stores and grocery stores

“You can be sure that a plan that suggests reducing the temperature of tap water as a measure of injury prevention is only designed to make sure that government is involved in every facet of your life from the cradle to the grave,” said Vos.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker also assailed the wide-ranging plan.

“It’s a surprise no one that Jim Doyle’s last few months in office are riddled with tax increases and ballooning government,” said Walker.

Vos said the Democrat’s plan was a catch-all of liberal, nanny-state policies that Wisconsin couldn’t afford to do even if the intrusive policies had merit.

Vos said the Medicaid program currently has a $600 million deficit due to years of program and eligibility expansions implemented by Doyle. He noted that deficit grew further this week when the Supreme Court ruled that the state must replace $200 million in raided Patient Compensation Fund money.

“Public health would best be served if we could afford the programs we already have,” said Vos. “This administration should get back to work fixing the current deficit, instead of wasting time creating an even larger one under the auspices of public health.”

See our earlier coverage, here.