WMC Launches Radio Ads on “Hidden Health Care Tax”

Hospital Underfunding Drives Up Health Care Costs

MADISONWisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce announced Monday that it will launch a statewide radio ad campaign explaining Wisconsin’s “hidden health care tax.”

“Businesses in Wisconsin need to understand that the state underpays hospitals $450 million a year in the Medicaid program alone,” said James A. Buchen, WMC vice president of government relations.

“Those costs get shifted to private businesses in the form of higher health care premiums and amounts to a hidden health care tax,” Buchen added.

The ads started today in the Milwaukee market and expand to the rest of the state later this month. WMC represents 4,000 Wisconsin businesses that employ 500,000 workers.

In 2004, the state reimbursed only 55 percent of the cost to provide hospital services to Medicaid patients.

The total amount of underpayment was approximately $450 million — which was then shifted onto the health insurance premiums of businesses and individuals who are insured.

In the ad, listeners are urged to contact their legislator to “stop shifting the shaft to business.”

“Wisconsin needs to pay its bills and stop shifting costs to industry,” Buchen said. “If lawmakers focused on weeding out waste, fraud and abuse, they could use existing resources for basic government services like providing health care to the needy.”

The Joint Finance Committee is considering Governor Jim Doyle’s budget.

“We are very hopeful that the finance committee will make sure that state government doesn’t shift health care costs to businesses,” Buchen said.

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WMC Hidden Health Care Tax
Radio: 60 seconds, 0.98MB

FEMALE BUSINESS OWNER (Thinking out loud, paper crumpling like she’s reading the mail):

I can’t believe it.

Another 15 percent health insurance premium hike.

That’s the third year in a row.

I might have to start laying people off. I really don’t want to do that.

Or, maybe I can just make everyone pay more.

Or, I could cut benefits.

This really irks me.

I just read that the state of Wisconsin underpays hospitals $450 million a year for the cost of treating Medicaid patients.

And those costs are getting shifted to business owners, like me.

That’s a $450 million Hidden Health Care tax.

And, it forces insured families to pay an extra $326 a year.

I’ve had enough. I’m calling my legislators. Wisconsin needs to pay its bills and stop shifting the shaft to business owners.

MALE ANNOUNCER:

Wisconsin’s Hidden Health Care Tax.

A couple of aspirin won’t make it go away.

Call 800-362-9472 and say:

“Repeal the Hidden Health Care Tax. And start paying your bills!”

A message from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
James A. Buchen, (608) 258-3400