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Letter: Supports health care

Dear Editor

Last night I had the pleasure of attending an informative talk on the Healthy Wisconsin health care reform bill by one of its sponsors, State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout who lives on a farm in Alma.

For an hour Sen. Vinehout laid out in clear terms how Healthy Wisconsin works and the many ways passage of the bill would benefit the people and businesses of Wisconsin.

As a layman, I appreciated the lucidity of Sen. Vinehout's presentation, explaining Healthy Wisconsin's potential for covering all Wisconsinites, with no one excluded for "pre-existing conditions" or any of the other excuses insurance companies use to deny basic health care to those who most need it.

I was inspired and energized by Sen. Vinehouts's genuine moral passion, which has made her one of our most tireless legislative advocates. At a time when America's health care system stands on the brink of collapse, it's heartening to know we have a truly conscientious public servant such as Sen. Vinehout working in our state against big corporate money to establish health care as a basic right for all citizens.

But as the senator stressed last night, politicians can't affect sweeping change on their own. Power comes from us, their constituents, and we need to demand health care equal to what we as taxpayers provide for elected officials. When we fund "Cadillac" health care for 2 million government employees nationally while 50 million of us have no health insurance at all, something is seriously out of balance.

A recent Badger poll strongly suggests that a majority of Wisconsinites favor single-payer universal health care. Whether we succeed in reforming what is increasingly perceived as a broken system will depend to a large extent on our involvement as citizens.

Last night we heard stories, increasingly common these days, of families forced to choose between health insurance and basic expenses such as food and fuel. Since a major percentage of bankruptcies are caused by health-related catastrophes, we are all, as Sen. Vinehout says, "One day bad day away from losing our health insurance."

During the past year, a citizens' group in the River Falls area has formed to support and educate the public on the need for comprehensive health care reform. We invite you to get involved or stay informed about local health care reform issues and events by e-mailing And watch for other Health Wisconsin-River Falls events.