With Advisors Like These…


George Lightbourn is the former budget advisor for Governor Scott McCallum. Now he is a glorified shill for corporate interests at the right wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. Thursday corporate interests attacked the $2-billion-saving ‘€œHealthy Wisconsin‘€ plan through their chosen outlet. Before taking WPRI’€™s rantings too seriously, perhaps one should first consider the source, because Lightbourn has zero credibility on sound budgeting and related issues.

When George Lightbourn was working for Governor McCallum, he played a major role in digging our state into a historic budget deficit. Then they had the bright idea of selling off $6 billion in future tobacco settlement payments for only a short term fix to a budgetary problem that he helped cause in the first place. Certainly his advice is not the kind that we needed then and it is definitely not now for this health care crisis.

Lightbourn twists himself into an ideological pretzel in his recent attack on the savings provided by the Healthy Wisconsin plan. Conveniently Lightbourn provides no real healthcare reform, rather he only attacks the bold initiative of the State Senate. In the attack of Healthy Wisconsin, he makes clear that he disapproves of hugely successful government healthcare programs like Medicare, BadgerCare and SeniorCare. This extreme position is not only a purely ideologically driven one but also is totally out of step with the vast majority of people that have greatly benefited from such successful programs.

Because Lightbourn’€™s report is so ideologically driven, he falls into several predictable traps in logic. First he deliberately confuses the government being watchdog on an out of control healthcare system with a ‘€œgovernment takeover’€ of healthcare. Quite simply, one of these things is not like the other and Lightbourn knows it.

The report also fails to consider the high costs that we will continue to pay if nothing major is done to reform our healthcare system. Lightbourn’€™s tax of inaction will cost everyone in our state much more than any investment made into Healthy Wisconsin. An analysis by the Lewin Group estimated that the plan would actually save over $13 billion dollars over ten years. Although Lightbourn may take issue with this respected study, he does so only on ideological grounds, not as a result of the actual facts.

Ideological budgeting did not serve the state well when George Lightbourn used it in the McCallum Administration so why should we expect anything better from his ideological approach to our healthcare crisis?

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