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Governor touts health care plan in Hudson

Gov. Jim Doyle visited Hudson Wednesday afternoon to promote his initiative to improve access to affordable health insurance for businesses and individuals.

Speaking at City Hall to a group of about 25 business owners, health care and insurance providers, and community leaders, Doyle said the goal of his Healthy Wisconsin initiative is to reduce health insurance premiums by as much as 30 percent for businesses and cut in half the number of state residents without health insurance by 2010.

"Almost every day, I talk to people who are worried about the rising cost of health care," Doyle said. "Parents who fear that one serious injury could wipe out their savings, or small business owners who worry if an employee develops a serious illness, their health care costs could double."

Doyle issued an executive order last week to create a Healthy Wisconsin Council to develop an action plan for reducing insurance premiums. The council was told to deliver its plan by Dec. 1, 2006.

The governor said the plan should include creating a statewide reinsurance program for catastrophic care that would lower costs for businesses. He also has proposed increasing tax deductions for workers who have to pay all the cost of their health insurance and creating health care co-ops for small businesses and farms.

"I understand that one governor in one state is not going to solve the whole health cost crisis in this country," Doyle said. "Probably like many of you, I wish that Congress and the president would quit arguing about every issue that divides us all the time and would get focused on what everybody in this country - Democrat, Republican, Independent and non-political people - are seeking some answers for."

He said Wisconsin needs to do what it can to address the problem in the meantime, however.

The governor toured Hudson's Robin Manufacturing factory, 1201 Industrial St., after his hour-long meeting at City Hall.