MADISON, Wis. — Assembly candidate Mary Czaja touts her experience lobbying on health insurance issues. But according to state lobbying reports, the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin with which Czaja is associated, formally opposed and worked to kill bills that could have helped tens of thousands of farmers, small business owners and self-employed get comprehensive health insurance coverage allowing them to buy into the plan for state employees.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Why would Mary Czaja and her special interest lobbying group actively work to kill bills that would have allowed tens of thousands of hard working Wisconsinites to buy quality health insurance? It seems the reason is that they wouldn’t have been able to get a cut of the action by selling it.”
According to analyses of Assembly Bills 312 and 313, authored in 2003 by former Republican State Representatives John Ainsworth and Debi Towns respectively, the legislation would have allowed up to 156,000 uninsured individuals and 35,000 uninsured farmers to buy, at full price, the same health care coverage provided to state employees.
Ross noted that the bills were supported by politically conservative leaning organizations that have opposed major health care reforms like Wisconsin Independent Business, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
Ross concluded, “Apparently Mary Czaja’s position on health care for farmers, small business owners and the self-employed is ‘if I can’t sell it to you, you can’t have it’. That might be good for her business’ bottom line, but I suspect that’s not much consolation to the farmers and small business owners struggling to find health care for themselves and their family”.