Education, prescription coverage among issues as Kind, voters meet
No Child Left Behind, SeniorCare, illegal immigration and fetus pain were among the topics raised last week as Congressman Ron Kind met with constituents in Hudson.
The meeting was one of a series of "listening sessions" held throughout Wisconsin's Third District.
"No Child Left Behind needs to go," insisted Judy Parin, New Richmond, a retired educator.
The program should more accurately be named "No Child Left Interested," said Parin. "It's a very horrible thing for children to go through."
Schools need to be operated on the local level because area people know what's best when it comes to educating their children, she said.
"It's gotta go. It's really bad for kids," said Parin.
The program that sets federal mandates for teaching and its punitive aspects need to be reconsidered and revamped, agreed Kind.
He said requiring all children to test proficient in academic skills by 2014 is an unreachable goal and sets schools up for failure.
Affordable health care is a major problem that he hopes will be the No. 1 issue in the next presidential race, said Kind, responding to an audience member.
He said the goal should be universal coverage and outcome-based, quality-based care.
"We need to focus on quality with health information collection technology," said Kind.
Even large corporations, such as Wal-Mart, are coming out in support of universal coverage, he said.
"It's making our businesses less competitive globally," said Kind.
Glenn Highum, a retired insurance agent from New Richmond, commented on the difficulty of choosing a Medicare Part D drug plan.
"It takes more than an attorney to figure out what this is about," said Highum, saying that even with his background, he is challenged to decipher the programs.
It is very confusing, agreed Kind, who said he is working in Congress to obtain another waiver for Wisconsin's SeniorCare, a program that many claim provides better coverage and is easier to understand than Medicare Part D.
Kind said SeniorCare, which allows the state to negotiate prices with drug companies, would save the federal government an estimated $400 million and the state $300 million by 2010.
But, said Kind, two other states have recently been moved off their own drug programs to Medicare Part D and Wisconsin is not likely to get the waiver.
The United States needs to secure its borders and do a better job of tracking people who come into the country legally and then disappear, said Kind.
"There's work to be done," he said.
Mary Louise Olson, River Falls, asked Kind to explain his reasoning for voting against a bill that would require medication to numb pain to fetuses during abortions.
There have been numerous medical and scientific studies with no showing that fetuses feel pain, replied Kind.
"This is an issue that really isn't an issue in the medical community," he said, adding that the bill was pushed by pro-life groups with no medical or scientific information to support the premise.