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Plan 12: Reform Health Care in Wisconsin

Summary

Mark Neumann believes people in Wisconsin have the right to choose private health care insurance and should be able to say 'no' to government-imposed coverage. Once Wisconsin is free from the federal government's overexpansion, a Neumann Administration will work to develop health care policy that both expands coverage and reduces the costs of health care here in Wisconsin.

Saying 'No' to ObamaCare

Mark Neumann strongly opposes President Obama's disastrous, expensive, unconstitutional health care proposal. In fact, he gathered over 25,000 petitions from Wisconsin residents opposing ObamaCare that he delivered to Governor Doyle's office urging him to authorize the Attorney General to challenge the Constitutionality of the proposal. Ultimately, health care choices are an intimate personal decision and an individual right. Mark Neumann believes people in Wisconsin have the right to choose private health care insurance and should be able to say 'no' to government-imposed coverage. See Mark Neumann's plan to RESTORE THE CONSTITUTION for details.

Just say no... to ObamaCare.


Reduce Health Care Costs

Mark Neumann's health care plan uses conservative solutions to reduce the cost of health care by supporting tort reform and market-driven proposals like Health Savings Accounts and interstate health care options.

Expand Coverage

Mark Neumann will expand health care insurance coverage by creating a job-friendly Wisconsin, offering tax breaks to businesses and individuals who purchase health care, and making the state government's employee health care options available for anyone to purchase at cost. With these reforms, every Wisconsinite will have access to affordable health care coverage.

Current Situation

America's health care access system is broken and the impact on families in Wisconsin is very real. Wisconsinites are paying increasingly higher deductibles, paying a higher percentage of the cost from their paychecks, and have a limited choice of doctors. The lack of competition and market principles are driving costs up and access down. These are real problems that must be addressed.

Defensive Medicine

Doctors and health care providers throughout the United States assert that they must practice defensive medicine1 due to the possibility of having to face lawsuits.2 This causes doctors to over-evaluate, order excessive testing, and second guess their training in order to avoid losing their medical licenses and to avoid expensive lawsuits. This problem has two big effects: decreasing the efficiency of well-trained doctors and increasing costs to insurance companies, and therefore their subscribers. Doctors and providers must also pay very high malpractice insurance costs, which in turn drive up the cost of care. Excessive testing forces insurance companies to raise their premiums to cover these costs. While doctors must be held accountable for the treatments they prescribe, they should be able to practice their trade without second guessing their training for fear of lawsuits.

Government Monopolies and Oligopolies

In the realm of insurance, government has prohibited companies from competing across state lines. Each state, then, has a monopoly (one company) or oligopoly (few companies) situation as it relates to health insurance. This allows the protected companies to charge higher prices than they could in a competitive marketplace. Since taxes and fees on these industries are so high, the well-established companies within each state can more easily absorb the cost than can smaller companies. Some companies may not even come into existence due to these costs. All of this means that the insurance companies in each state have little incentive to lower costs, and even less incentive to innovate in their services.

Unemployment as an Impediment to Health Care Coverage

Since it is commonplace in the United States for health care coverage to be tied to employers due to a litany of government intervention, regulation, and tax laws, Wisconsin's high unemployment rate means that more people than ever are without health care coverage. This in turn means that more people are forced onto the state programs, which require tax dollars to fund. This increased taxation cannot be used by employers and individuals to expand their business, hire new employees, or save. This downward spiral must be reversed in order for more Wisconsinites to have accessible health care coverage.

Mark Neumann's Plan

Reduce Health Care Costs

Less Government

The Neumann Administration will thoroughly review state and federal mandates on health care providers with an eye toward enhancing competition, reducing costs and paperwork, and increasing quality. Consumers, not government, are the only ones in a position to choose which services are appropriate for them.

Tort Reform

One of the most common complaints from doctors and providers is that they must practice defensive medicine, which increases costs for insurance companies and individuals alike. By limiting frivolous lawsuits, doctors can go back to being doctors, rather than part-time lawyers. Mark Neumann supports legislation that caps the maximum settlement on non-economic damages in cases of unintentional medical malpractice.

Encourage HSA Participation

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are designed to help individuals save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis. Health Savings Accounts allow workers and anyone who pays taxes to set aside funds in a separate account held by a bank or other entity without paying wage or income taxes on the funds. Money from this account is then used to pay for health care. The funds in an HSA roll over year-to-year and earn interest free from federal or state taxes. They essentially act like IRAs for health care.

Mark Neumann will support legislation that makes all payments to HSAs fully tax deductible. He will also work to eliminate new federal provisions which decrease current levels of participation in the plans, reduce what qualifies as 'expenses,' and increase penalties for non-qualified distributions.

Interstate Competition

Government-created monopolies drive costs higher than they would otherwise be. With little or no competition, insurance companies have no incentives to innovate in their services or compete in the area of price. By removing these government-imposed cost increases, we can help to make accessibility more affordable. When insurance companies must compete, they have every incentive to lower their costs, increase their coverage options, and increase their transparency.

Mark Neumann will work to explore the proposal to allow purchasing of health insurance across state lines, to make it easier for small businesses and individuals to buy affordable plans.

Reduce Required Insurance Provisions

Federal and state mandates currently require a number of added components to health insurance plans. Mark Neumann supports eliminating unnecessary requirements, allowing insurers and consumers to acquire specific plans of their choosing, potentially with a large deductible and coverage limited to only catastrophic health events. Individuals should be free to choose which services they want to purchase, and accept responsibility for those choices. By the same token, businesses and employees should be able to sit down without interference to decide their own course.

Expand Health Care Coverage

Jobs

The single most important step in providing increased health care coverage is to bring additional job opportunities to Wisconsin. A growing Wisconsin economy will also offer cheaper products, better wages, and lower health care costs. All of these things together mean a higher standard of living for Wisconsinites. See Mark Neumann's Plan to CREATE 300,000 JOBS for details.

110% Wisconsin Tax Deduction

Mark Neumann will allow individuals and businesses to deduct 110% of the cost of health insurance from their Wisconsin tax liabilities. This would specifically include payroll deductions for health insurance premiums. This measure will encourage businesses to move, start, or grow here, offering more jobs and coverage for their employees.

HSA in Government Plans

Under Mark Neumann's leadership, state employees' health care plans will implement an optional HSA program to encourage more patient participation in cost control and to reduce overall costs. This will empower state employees and the state government to lower their health care expenditures by decreasing the money shuffled between government agencies.

Elected Official and State Employee Plans Made Accessible

Mark Neumann will allow any Wisconsin resident or business to participate in the health insurance plans provided to state elected officials and/or state employees if they pay market price for the insurance. This is specifically intended to provide access to Wisconsin residents and businesses that would otherwise have trouble acquiring coverage, those with pre-existing conditions or those between jobs. Also, having more people in the state insurance pool will help lower costs.

Preventive Medicine

One of the greatest ways to reduce health care costs is through prevention and wellness. Employer spending on health promotion and chronic disease prevention is a good business investment. With this in mind, Mark Neumann will encourage insurance plans to support preventive medicine, including annual 'wellness visits.' Heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes could be screened in this coverage. Early detection and treatment helps lower long-run costs for insurance subscribers. However, this will not be a mandate. Similarly, a Neumann Administration will establish a voluntary health and wellness program to encourage wellness programs in the workplace. In the long run, such efforts will control health care costs and reduce sick days.

Expand the Supply of Nurses, Practitioners and Physicians

Mark Neumann will focus on increasing the number of primary care physicians across the state by raising license quota. A Neumann Administration will emphasize the need to increase the number of professors and educators to expand the capacity of Wisconsin's colleges to train health care professionals.

Mark Neumann's Record

Small Business Owner

In Mark Neumann's small business, he must sit down with his employees and work together in order to figure out what kind of insurance plans to purchase. As an employer, Mark Neumann must create a budget outlay to be used for this purpose. The employees then decide with Neumann which insurance company and coverage options are most appropriate for the group and which options meet the budget outlay.

News Articles

Appleton Post Crescent3

"The health care system is clearly broken, beset by skyrocketing costs," [Neumann] said. "It is possible for Wisconsin to build a model program with real solutions." Neumann's plan would cap tort damages, allow individuals and businesses to deduct 110 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums, encourage health savings accounts, allow competition from out-of-state insurance companies, encourage preventive medicine and bring job opportunities to Wisconsin. He said it could reduce costs, encourage competition, increase coverage, improve access and give Wisconsin an advantage in attracting jobs.

Main Street Endorsements

Aurthur, New Berlin

"Having been a general surgeon in Wisconsin for 36 years, I fully support Mark Neumann's view on health care and will vote for him as the next Governor of Wisconsin."

Elizabeth, Mishicot

"I heard Mark's remarks this morning on WTMJ (regarding health care). I agree with him — Too bad he isn't Governor already!"


1 MedicineNet.com definition of 'defensive medicine', available at http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33262.

2 Robert Priedt, MedLine Plus, Most Physicians Practicing Defensive Medicine, June 28, 2010, available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_100476.html.

3 Wisconsin Governor Hopeful Mark Neumann Pitches his Own Version of HealthCare Plan, Appleton Post Crescent, March 31, 2010, available at http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20100331/APC0101/3310543/Wisconsin-governor-hopeful-Mark-Neumann-pitches-his-own-version-of-health-care-plan.


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Paid for by Mark Neumann for Governor, Matt Neumann, Treasurer.

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