Saturday April 29, 2017

Always Foward with Education & Reason

FacebookTwitterYoutube
Newsletter
Feeds:

Progressive Thinking

From people looking forward with education and reason.

Subscribe to feed Latest Entries

Rep. Peter Barca on 'Permitless Carry' Bill

Posted by Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Peter Barca, Assembly Democratic Leader, District 64
Representative Peter Barca is a lifelong citizen of Kenosha and Somers. He curre
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 30 March 2017
in Wisconsin

guns-stopvAssembly Democratic Leader says allowing individuals to carry firearms without proper safety training, especially on school grounds, goes too far.


MADISON - Wisconsin Republican legislators have proposed a bill to allow individuals to carry firearms without proper safety training.

The authors of the bill put forward extreme provisions that go beyond even constitutional carry by allowing guns in schools, secure mental health facilities and police stations, while placing the burden on these facilities to protect citizens. This will also create confusion and a lack of clarity on where weapons are allowed, which is troubling.

Law enforcement, school administrators, Democrats and Republicans have been long opposed to allowing guns on school grounds, yet this bill changes that safety presumption. Additionally, the authors have some explaining to do as to why they reduce the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor for illegally carrying in a school zone. This is a serious legal breach that should be treated as such.

Finally, when concealed carry was enacted, there was a clear bipartisan emphasis on proper training to make sure those with a concealed carry permit to understand the gravity and responsibilities of carrying a gun, especially in high risk facilities. Allowing anyone to carry a loaded, concealed firearm without a background check or safety training has implications almost certainly do not fully understand.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Irresponsible Republican Bill Proposes Arming Teens

Posted by Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson, State Senator, District 7
Chris Larson (D) is the Wisconsin State Senator from the 7th District in Milwauk
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 29 March 2017
in Wisconsin

gun-control-debatesRepublicans are not willing to stand up to rich gun manufacturers looking for profits at any costs, even our kids’ safety.


MADISON - Republican legislators here have made a decision to blindly ignore public safety concerns by introducing legislation to put more handguns into the hands of teenagers; circumvent safety training for concealed carry; and open the door for more guns in school zones, school grounds, and even directly in our schools.

In the wake of recent, tragic shootings that devastated several Wisconsin communities, this bill is a slap in the face to our neighbors that are demanding real solutions to our state’s gun violence public health crisis.

Wisconsin should be focusing on making our communities safer with laws that are both proven and have widespread public support. One such policy is having stronger background check laws, which has support from 85% of Wisconsin voters. In the 19 states and Washington, D.C., who have universal background checks, 47% fewer women are killed by their intimate partners, and 53% fewer law enforcement officers are shot and killed in the line of duty. Additionally, the majority of Wisconsin voters – 65% – oppose allowing guns near our schools. With 26,252 gun-related deaths nationally in 2015, this proposal takes Wisconsin in the wrong direction. Republicans are rejecting common sense and logic by ignoring public safety and the needs of our community.

We have the solutions and public support to make our communities safer. Unfortunately, Republicans are not willing to stand up to rich gun manufacturers looking for profits at any costs, even our kids’ safety. Instead of fighting this public health crisis, Republicans in control of the Legislature are proposing to give guns to teens with no training – an idea that is unwarranted, absurd, and dangerous.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Making Our Votes Meaningless?

Posted by Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold is known for his independence, his honesty and his work ethic on b
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 28 March 2017
in Wisconsin

merrick-garland-scotusAs Republicans in Washington move to substitute their own Supreme Court pick under Trump for President Obama's, the very legitimacy of our democratic system is at stake. Stand up for the legitimacy of our Supreme Court.


MIDDLETON, WI - Barack Obama won the 2012 presidential election by approximately 5 million votes. Donald Trump lost the 2016 election by approximately 3 million.

neil-gorsuchSo when Republicans block President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court for nearly a year in order to install their own pick under Trump, they completely undermine the meaning and weight of the votes all those Americans cast.

And undermining the meaning of our votes undermines not just the legitimacy of President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court -- but the very legitimacy of our democratic system itself.

Stand for the legitimacy of our Supreme Court and our democracy. Sign the LegitAction petition opposing President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee today.

Real signs are emerging that Republicans won’t be able to move past a filibuster (or eliminate the filibuster itself) if Democrats and Independents draw a line in the sand here. We need to show Democratic and Independent senators that we’ll have their backs if they stand for us.

Thank you for standing up for our democratic legitimacy,

Russ Feingold

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Deliberate Sabotage Threatens Health Coverage

Posted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Robert Kraig is Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, 221 S. 2nd St.,
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 28 March 2017
in Wisconsin

americanhealthcareactWith repeal efforts in Washington on hold for now, the biggest immediate threat to affordable health coverage may be sabotage by the Trump Administration, Congress, and states like Wisconsin.


STATEWIDE - In the aftermath of the implosion of the Affordable Care Act replacement plan late Friday afternoon, the biggest immediate threat to affordable health coverage may be deliberate sabotage by the Trump Administration, Congress, and states like Wisconsin where conservative politicians are bitterly opposed to the health care law. With the legislative vehicle for radical restructuring the American health care system closed for the time being, State Innovations Waivers with states like Wisconsin may become the new method for achieving the goals of repeal.

After House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled his replacement bill on Friday President Donald Trump said: “I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode. . . . It is exploding now.” But the Congressional Budget Office and independent researchers conclude that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as currently constituted will be stable for years to come. This assumes that the Trump Administration does not use its substantial administrative power to undermine the health care law.

The willingness of conservative politicians to play politics with the health coverage of the American people has been in evidence since the original passage of the ACA. As Citizen Action of Wisconsin has continuously documented, the Walker Administration has sought to sabotage the ACA by encouraging healthy people to buy substandard policies outside of the market; refusing to enact robust rate review; turning down Medicaid expansion; hamstringing health care navigators, rubber stamping health insurance industry mega mergers, and seeking waivers that would allow insurance companies to take larger profits. Taken together the Walker Administration has aided and abetted the on-going effort of the national for-profit insurance companies to continue to insure healthy people and find ways to avoid people with pre-existing health conditions.

The conservative majority in Congress has also played a major role in sabotaging the ACA. For example, they dramatically cut risk adjustment payments to insurance companies who insure more people with health conditions. This hit insurers that were doing the right thing with huge unexpected costs, driving many out of the the ACA marketplace and many new health care Co-ops out of business.

Before the failure of the latest legislative attack on the ACA last week, there were already indications of an intent to sabotage the health care law by not enforcing the individual mandate, pulling public promotion in the final weeks of open enrollment, not defending against a Congressional lawsuit that could pull tax subsidies from moderate income Americans, allowing substandard health insurance policies to be sold, and by cooperating with with states like Wisconsin that want to undermine the law. Trump’s selection of the vehemently ideological Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary is also evidence of an intent to disrupt the ACA. Major media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico are now reporting that the Trump Administration may double down on sabotaging the health care law.

If the Trump Administration adopts sabotage as the next front in it’s attack on the Affordable Care Act, the biggest opportunity for radically changing the health care law may be State Innovation Waivers which under the ACA can be negotiated starting this year. These waivers permit states to submit plans to dramatically restructure health coverage. The Walker Administration would be an ideal partner for Secretary Price to develop a State Innovation Waiver which undermined the purpose of the ACA.

With conservatives in charge of the government they have a solemn moral obligation to uphold the laws of the land and to protect the welfare of the American people. It is stunning that conservative politicians are so bent on getting their way that they are willing to play politics with the lives of their own constituents by throwing sand into the gears of the American health care system. The right of every American to have quality affordable health coverage ought not to be a partisan issue. Now that the American people have resoundingly rejected their disastrous replacement plan, it is time for conservatives to take on the responsibility of actually governing by working with Democrats to move beyond the divisive health care battle and improving and building on the Affordable Care Act.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Healthcare: What's Next?

Posted by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District
Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District
Kathleen Vinehout of Alma is an educator, business woman, and farmer who is now
User is currently offline
on Monday, 27 March 2017
in Wisconsin

healthcare-familyWhile Congress did not repeal the Affordable Care Act, problems remain. Sen. Vinehout writes about options states could take to address some of these issues and provide affordable health insurance for people.


MADISON - “Obamacare is the law of the land,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told the nation. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

The much-maligned Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010 will stay in place.

Self-employed older Americans and state budget directors breathed a sigh of relief. The Republican plan would have raised rates for older people on Healthcare.gov, shifted taxes away from the well-off, and shifted to states more costs for low-income, disabled and elderly (through Medicaid).

But the problems of the ACA – rising premiums, customers left with little choice and insurance companies leaving the marketplace in some states – still remain.

Why do these problems exist? Is there anything Wisconsin can do to improve things?

Insurance companies act to share risk. Inevitably, healthier patients subsidize the less fortunate sicker patients. This has been the case since Benjamin Franklin invented the first American insurance company (that I’m aware of) when he created a “mutual fire aid society” to help defray the risk of fire.

Insurance companies are betting you will stay healthy, you are betting you’ll get sick.

When companies entered the healthcare.gov market place, they kept premiums low. Conservative columnist David Brook wrote in 2015 “Health care inflation has been at historic lows.” Quoting expert Jason Furman, Brooks wrote prices were growing as an annual rate of 1.6% since 2010, “the slowest rate for such a period in five decades.” Federal government health expenses slowed too.

For a number of reasons, the low inflation was not sustainable. Young people were not buying their own policies but staying on their parents plan as long as possible. Many people who got insurance for the first time had numerous costs due to delayed care. Insurance companies didn’t make the money they expected, and decided to either drop providing coverage in the exchange or raise premiums to cover the higher costs.

Covering self-employed or small businesses (known in the insurance industry as “individual coverage”) has always been expensive. Administrative costs are high; risk is high. The ACA protected consumers in many ways, such as not being charged more if you had cancer but are now healthy. However, the rules left fewer ways for insurance companies to recoup costs. So, they raised premiums or completely left the individual market.

The result is higher cost insurance, less choice and in some cases no choice.

Wisconsin historically has a competitive insurance market with many competing plans, especially in the southeast. Many players should give us lower costs (however, the health care market does not follow normal economic patterns), but seeking an unprofitable venture does not make a good business model.

Which may lead us to one option. Some insurance companies are not-for-profit; some have very low overhead. Everything else being equal, these companies should be better at competing. However, so much depends on the luck – or lack of it – in taking care of a high cost patient.

We could return to a successful plan that helped health insurance companies manage risk. In 2013, Governor Walker eliminated the state’s “Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan” known as HIRSP. This was a mistake.

The HIRSP plan was paid for with funds from insurance companies. We could create a similar plan to allow people with conditions that require expensive care to continue under their own insurance plan. Their insurance company could use a plan like HIRSP to share risk with other companies. Basically HIRSP 2.0 could work seamlessly in the background to help manage high-risk patients.

A recent National Governor’s Association briefing suggested states could save up to 15% on insurance premiums if they created such a plan. Other state innovations could include promoting enrollment in the healthcare marketplace, and focusing on methods to reduce the cost of care.

In a 2015 report, Citizen Action of Wisconsin proposed several changes that could bring down health insurance premiums. Medicaid expansion could cover an estimated 81,000 Wisconsinites through existing federal law and bring many high cost patients into a less expensive system. Creation of a Wisconsin-based marketplace, state scrutiny over premium hikes, use of state purchasing power to gain value – lower costs and better care – are all options that merit investigation.

Healthcare policy is complex. But solving problems is possible. If those in Washington have given up, let’s consider new ideas at our state Capitol. We might land on an idea that really works.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

This Month?

Check it out here!

Who's Online

We have 98 guests online

Follow on Twitter

Copyright © 2017. Green Bay Progressive. Designed by Shape5.com