WPRI Opposes Public Option for Health Insurance Reform, Supports Public Option for Its Polling

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Using typical back-of-the-envelope, context-free math, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute’€™s is claiming that since the cost of the extraordinarily successful bipartisan BadgerCare program has increased since it was created, that we shouldn’€™t have federal health insurance reform that includes a public option to end the stranglehold insurance companies have on our entire nation.

The ‘€œevidence’€? BadgerCare spending has gone from (using WPRI’s numbers) $205.6 million in 2004 to…$194.4 million in 2006. A more-than five percent reduction.

I would guess they’d argue back that its first-year funding (in 2001) was $129 million. But the increase in spending is easily explained by the popularity of the program. More people are applying for BadgerCare because the for-profit insurance industry sector, so beloved by the likes of WPRI’€™s Charlie Sykes and its other scholars, has failed Wisconsin, just like it has failed the rest of America.

Reasons for BadgerCare’€™s popularity:

Health insurance premiums have increased at four times the rate of inflation in the past 10 years.

For-profit insurance companies are in the business of specifically denying care.

Over 75 percent of bankruptcies are due to medical costs ‘€“ and 80 percent of those people had health insurance when they got sick.

That WPRI is arguing against the public option is no surprise. But it’€™s interesting to note that while arguing against the public option for health care, WPRI is willing to exercise a public option on its polling, mainly through an appalling joint project it has announced with the taxpayer-funded University of Wisconsin.

It’€™s an ironic turn for an organization where Charlie Sykes is among its leading contributors (WPRI, not UW). He of anti-UW posts such as ‘€œUpdate: UW’€™s Culture of Death‘€ and the like.

Now that the University of Wisconsin, through Ken Goldstein, is going to be conducting polling with Charlie Sykes’€™ right-wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, I won’€™t be surprised if one its first polls might include: ‘€œShould we get rid of BadgerCare?’€

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Scot Ross served as Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now & the Institute from 2007 to 2019.