MADISON, Wis. — Progress made by the United States Congress on health insurance reforms called for by President Barack Obama has activated Wisconsin’s two leading conservative organizations, which both released curiously-timed “studies” to deflect blame for skyrocketing health costs from the health insurance industries.
“The corporate, conservative machine has given its loyal subjects at WISTAX and WPRI marching orders,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Blame everyone but the health insurance cartel for skyrocketing health insurance costs.”
Within days of each other, the two groups, which have shared numerous board of directors members between each other and the state’s largest corporate lobby, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, issued reports that bemoaned the rising cost of health insurance, but which drew conclusions that it is patients who bear the responsibility.
* WPRI issued a report projecting the future costs of health costs for retirees in the Milwaukee Public Schools systems, blaming the school board and teachers for rising health care liabilities.
* WISTAX issued a report noting Medicaid costs have risen since 1998, ignoring the savings the state has enjoyed because children and those living on the economic edge have been able to get more timely preventative care.
“The corporate interests that fund WISTAX and WPRI want the public to think that it’s poor people and teachers who are to blame for rising health insurance costs,” said Ross. “But then again, these are the same corporate lackeys who tell us giving tax cuts to the rich and deregulation for banks and speculators helps the middle class.”
Ross said he encouraged WISTAX and WPRI to explain how the government, poor people or teachers were somehow responsible for 15 years of consistent double-digit increases in the costs of health insurance premiums and prescription drugs endured by working families.
“Health care costs rise for one reason and one reason only,” said Ross. “Because of the for-profit decisions made by the corporate interests that help finance groups like WISTAX and WPRI.”