Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, in cahoots with Wisconsin's Club for Growth and others, came out today guns blazing against Healthy Wisconsin and pimping "Healthier Choices."
Unfortunately for them, they were firing squirt guns.
WMC's survey claiming a majority of Wisconsinites oppose Healthy WI is an absolute joke. Its "Healthier Choices" plan should be translated as "Pay more for fewer choices." In a true marketplace of ideas the WMC's broadside it would be laughed out of the discourse.
Sadly, we're in a marketplace where the WMC and CfG have millions to spend and a marketplace where Charlie Sykes will flog the thing endlessly as he denounces Healthy WI as "a complete government takeover of health care." That's not spin, Chuck; that's a lie.
While the Brawler is disheartened that this tripe could play some role in the coming health care debate, some items still managed to "illicit" a mordant chuckle.
... The way the survey claims a majority of Wisconsin voters disapprove of Healthy Wisconsin based on responses to survey question that says the system "will replace Wisconsin's current private health insurance system with a universal health insurance system managed by the state government." Weird, because Healthy WI does not replace the "current private health insurance system" and it won't create a regime "managed by the state government." Or did I miss the part about how the state government is going to seize the headquarters of different insurers?
... The way flack Jim Pugh claims WMC, the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans will "encourage the continued development of a consumer-driven health care environment in Wisconsin. Promising collaborative efforts to collect and report information related to quality, safety and cost should continue, without government interference (nice touch, guys -- Brawler), among providers and health plans." Uh huh. Can't wait to see the WHA's vigorous drive for greater disclosure. And if these groups are begging for greater disclosure, why isn't it on the Assembly GOP's agenda.
... The way the Republican polling firm responsible for this travesty, Public Opinion Strategies, appropriately has as its acronym POS.
... The way Healthier Choices is presented as something new when it feels like a rehash of past WMC calls for shifting cost and risk onto employees who can't afford it. Then you realize it's not a rehash. It's the same old hash! On page 7, it offers proposals for the 2003-05 biennium.
Is the WMC really doing its dues-paying members a service by entering the health care debate with a proposal that's been gathering dust for four years?
Its members deserve better than this clown show.
As, of course, does Wisconsin.
Now the big question: Will John Torinus write this up in his Sunday column for the Journal Sentinel?