ON-Lion Letter
If Wisconsin’s total health expenditures stayed the same as they were in 2005, the payroll and employee tax to finance the proposed “Wisconsin Health Plan” (WHP) would underfund the program by more than $4 billion a year, according to a January 2007 report released by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) in Thiensville, Wis.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee provides substantial support to WPRI.

Specifically, according to An Evaluation of “The Wisconsin Health Plan," in order to adequately fund the program, payroll taxes assessed on Wisconsin businesses and employees would likely need to be more than 15%, instead of the up to 12% that the plan’s backers are touting.

The study was done by labor economist Scott Niederjohn of Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis., and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Mark Schug.

“Their review should give pause to those in the Capitol thinking that the WHP is a viable platform for health care reform in Wisconsin,” WPRI senior fellow George Lightbourn notes.

“Wisconsin should reject the broad policy approach represented by the WHP,” Neiderjohn and Schug recommend.  “Efforts to reform health care in the state should be guided by the consumer-driven, market-based movement in health care management already underway in the state and nationally.”

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