Making quality healthcare accessible to every Wisconsinite
It’s time we treated the health of everyone living in Wisconsin as a priority because we all want to be able to afford the care we need if we get sick. It’s possible here’s how:
Healthcare For All
Healthcare is a right for every American. There should not be one class of people who know that if they get sick they’ll have access to the medical services they need and a second class that could lose their lives or life savings due to lack of coverage.
Andy Gronik believes that the federal government is in the best position to offer the most comprehensive solution to the healthcare crisis. However, Governor Walker has lent his full support to the Republican-led Congress and to President Trump, who have destabilized the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and put millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Wisconsinites (including Andy and his family) at risk of losing healthcare coverage.
That’s why Wisconsin must be prepared to offer its residents access to the best and most comprehensive healthcare solutions. There are many innovative options that can be explored to expand access to affordable healthcare to all Wisconsinites including, but not limited to:
- Expanding access to BadgerCare as an option to provide low-cost, high quality medical, vision, and dental insurance to all residents
- Examining the feasibility of a state-run system that manages the lifetime risk pool of Wisconsin residents to create a system where providers compete for services on the basis of quality, patient outcomes, and price. This would increase buying power, keeping the cost of coverage low while promoting high-quality services
- Staffing public schools with nurses empowered to lead the new BadgerHealth Bridge initiatives that promote healthy learning and provide early detection of health risks among family members
- Expanding access to clinics that triage patients’ needs, offering preventative care, and advance more complicated cases to hospitals
- Innovating the role of telemedicine, Internet-enabled diagnostic technologies, and concierge medicine to deliver personalized healthcare remotely
Andy believes that any healthcare solutions instituted by Wisconsin need to work for both patients and the healthcare system, and bring compensation rates to levels that are affordable for the state and manageable for providers.
To mindfully attack the healthcare crisis, Andy would convene an advisory board of healthcare professionals made up of patients, nurses, doctors, hospital and clinic administrators, medical device and equipment manufacturers, pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies, insurance agents and carriers, and others. Their efforts would be transparent to Wisconsinites and serve as the genesis of constructive dialog with the entire healthcare delivery system in the state, country, and world so we can identify the best healthcare solutions for the people of Wisconsin.
As governor, Andy Gronik will execute upon the following healthcare priorities to improve access to healthcare for everyone in Wisconsin:
- Accept federal Medicaid expansion up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level
- Eliminate all gaps in the coverage of women’s reproductive health
- Expand capacity to provide early detection and treatment of medical conditions before they become expensive interventions
- Expand mental health screening and treatment
- Increase the number of primary care providers
- Expand the role of nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants and fill the pipeline with people entering these fields by creating incentives at medical and nursing schools and establishing public-private partnerships to defray the cost
- Advocate a team approach to collaborative healthcare involving doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, etc.
- Promote education around healthy lifestyles including diet, exercise, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, etc.
- Advocate for paid family leave to promote recovery from a serious health issue, care for a seriously ill family member, and/or bond with a newborn or newly adopted child
- Support the efforts of organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide access to healthcare to women and men throughout Wisconsin
- Support legislation that penalizes pharmaceutical companies for price-gouging
- Support healthcare worker’s “Fight for $15” and healthcare benefits for themselves
- Fund research at our universities so we can work towards finding the cures to diseases and encourage more startups of Wisconsin businesses that create good-paying jobs
- Declare a public health emergency to tackle the opioid and heroin epidemic and fund the substance abuse treatment programs needed to save lives throughout our state
- Lead the country in taking action against drug companies on behalf of the taxpayers of Wisconsin and seek full recovery of all direct and indirect damages sustained as a result of the reckless distribution of opioids for pain treatment
- Promote stricter laws regulating the prescription and disbursement of opioids
- Seek complete transparency in all aspects of the healthcare delivery system
Affordable Care Act
Andy believes in continuous improvement and that’s why Governor Walker’s “Wreck-It Ralph” mentality toward the ACA is (indeed) reckless, creating circumstances with dire consequences to Wisconsinites statewide. Women, men, and children without access to health care is a catastrophic event with devastating effects on society as a whole and escalates the cost of health care. Whether recognized or not, someone always pays for the uninsured.
We can acknowledge that the ACA is not perfect without taking a bulldozer to a system when a shovel will do. When Governor Walker enthusiastically supported Congress in their efforts to destabilize the ACA by passing the recent tax bill, he again sought to starve another system of the resources it needed to thrive and instead set it up for failure. Further demonstrating just how broken our system really is, Governor Walker recently joined a lawsuit to declare the ACA individual mandate unconstitutional while introducing a new bill titled the “Healthcare Stability Act.” You can’t make this stuff up!
The tangible effects of these actions will threaten the lives of our state’s most vulnerable residents and any uninsured resident who gets seriously ill and can’t afford treatment. They also threaten the viability of our rural hospitals and clinics and the networks of physicians and healthcare workers serving small villages, towns, and cities throughout our state. We will not only see deaths that result from this reckless behavior, but more communities will die a slow death without these healthcare institutions and the jobs of these healthcare workers to anchor them.
Any healthcare system like the ACA requires that everyone pay into the system. We couldn’t imagine insuring only bad drivers, so why would we contemplate insuring only unhealthy people? While young people believe they are invincible, Andy knows all too well what it’s like to begin throwing up blood in his teens, be hospitalized in his 20’s, spend 9+ hours in surgery and 3+ weeks hospitalized, and amass medical bills well in excess of $100,000 dollars. We all want and need the ability to receive the care necessary to get better when we’re sick and Andy will make this happen when he’s governor.
For decades, tobacco companies argued cigarettes didn’t cause cancer. Then, of course, we learned they did — and tobacco companies paid billions in damages.
In the 1990’s, drug companies said opioids were a compassionate way to treat pain and began aggressively marketing them, claiming opioids were safe, non-addictive, and had few side effects. Doctors listened and began prescribing accordingly. Now, these drugs are killing our kids and communities throughout Wisconsin, and some of those drugs are legally prescribed by doctors.
Wisconsin is experiencing the devastating effects of drug addiction in every inch of our state. The price tag has been the destruction of Wisconsin families, with loved ones turned addicts and the almost immeasurable direct and indirect costs sustained by Wisconsin taxpayers burdened with the cost of law enforcement activities, criminal justice, incarceration, drug treatment and rehabilitation programs, etc.
As governor, Andy will:
- Lead the country in seeking action against drug companies on behalf of the taxpayers of Wisconsin;
- Seek full recovery of all direct and indirect damages sustained as a result of the reckless distribution of opioids for pain treatment by drug companies;
- Promote stricter laws regulating the prescription and disbursement of opioids;
- Expand resources to drug rehabilitation programs based on proven best-practice patient outcomes and proactively explore even the most controversial methods to help addicts find treatment, including professionally supervised drug consumption rooms;
- Take many other steps described on the Opioid Crisis Issues Page.
Healthy living starts with healthy learning at an early age. BadgerHeath Bridge staffs our public schools with nurses that help keep our kids and schools healthy while creating a healthy living bridge to family members who would benefit from early detection of preventable diseases.
Quality healthcare services in rural Wisconsin are vital to the people who live there, and to supporting villages, towns, and cities currently vanishing throughout our state. Andy recognizes that any instability in our healthcare system disproportionately affects the viability of hospitals and clinics serving people living in rural areas of our state. He will make sure people living in rural areas have convenient access to high-quality healthcare solutions.
Transparency in a state-run healthcare system will rationalize the cost of the services provided and keep costs fair and manageable.
Health Insurance Accountability
As governor, Andy will take on insurance companies that refuse to pay bona fide claims. He believes it should be easy for people to understand their health insurance coverage and receive fast and easy adjustments. That is why he will strongly advocate for insureds by:
- Requiring insurance companies to immediately furnish their insureds with simple to understand terms of coverage and clearly identify health conditions specifically excluded by the policy;
- Facilitating an expedited and affordable process by which insureds may report, prosecute, and receive restitution for abuses of insurance companies refusing health coverage including the recovery of all costs of the related litigation.