Don’t like a public option? What’s your solution then?

Two poignant facts in a recent State Journal article:

1.) For the first time, enrollment in Medicaid, the state’€™s health insurance plan for the poor, has exceeded 1 million people.

2.) Medicaid, now covering 18 percent of Wisconsin’€™s population, has a $6 billion budget that makes up a fifth of the state budget.

State Sen. Alberta Darling-R-River Hills comment on the problem: “[Medicaid] shouldn’€™t be expanded during a recession.”

Ok. Progressives and conservatives have a difference of opinion both in Congress and here in Wisconsin about whether the government should provide health insurance to families who currently can’t afford it.

We know what the Democrats’ plan is — offer an affordable government program, like Medicaid, for every American that wants it, and reform the current private insurance industry to help rein costs so those that currently have private insurance can continue to afford it.

And the Republican plan? Don’t expand Medicaid. Don’t create a public option. Don’t regulate private insurers. Let the private market work.

In essence — keep the status quo. Even though it’s clearly failing.

The US has a lower life expectance than Puerto Rico, Jordan, Canada, Australia and Greece. We have a higher infant mortality rate than Cuba and South Korea. And we are the richest nation in the world.

And we are to continue to just let the health insurance companies control all the shots?

I’d like to know what the conservative solution is for a mother who lost her job because of the recession who has a child that needs $900 worth of medications each month. She can’t afford to buy her own insurance when she doesn’t have a job. Stand by while she can’t buy the medications and watch her child struggle with his life? Let her max out her credit cards, assuming she hasn’t done so already? Force her to give her child up to the state because she can’t afford to take care of him? Are we really going to just let her child go without and let the chips fall where they will? I haven’t heard anything that would indicate their solution to help this woman.

Roughly half of bankruptcies are caused by our failed health care system. According to a 2005 Harvard study, more than three quarters of those people had health insurance.

Clearly these health insurance companies are doing a great job of making health care affordable.

Per the State Journal article: “Richard Ward, a 55-year-old Madison tax preparer, said he’€™s facing bankruptcy because of his medical bills.”

He’s eligible now for BadgerCare thanks to the Democratic members of the Legislature and Governor Doyle.

‘€œFinally, something is being done to help people like me,’€ Ward said.

Whether you agree with their solutions or not, progressives are at least offering something and encouraging a public dialogue. Conservatives just sit and sulk in the corner.

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