Referendum proposes state run universal healthcare - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Referendum proposes state run universal healthcare

MADISON (WKOW) -- One question on the November ballot in Dane County seems like - it has an easy answer.

An advisory referendum asks if there should be legislation that, "guarantees every Wisconsin resident affordable health care coverage with benefits that are substantially similar to those provided to state legislators."

"They have very good healthcare coverage, and the state manages to pay for that and we think everyone else should have the same," says Dane County Board Member John Hendrick.

Hendrick helped put the referendum on the ballot. He says it sends a message to lawmakers that everyone should enjoy the benefits they do, and one way to make that happen is with state run health care.

"It gives voters a change to send a message to the legislature that we need health care coverage," Hendrick says.

State run health care would come at a price.

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Association says the referendum sounds a lot like "Healthy Wisconsin"

Which was a proposal for a state run health care plan paid for by employers and income taxes.

Proponents say it would be cheaper than private health insurance for Wisconsin families and no one would be denied.

But The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says, the state *budget would take a big hit.

"Researchers here at The Taxpayers Alliance estimated that it would run a 10 billion dollar deficit," says the group's president Todd Berry.

That's because wages in the state are growing at half the rate of health care costs.

But Hendrick says in today's economy, people in the state need help more than ever.

"Healthcare should be something everyone has and the more the economy impacts people, the more those people are going to need help to afford healthcare," Hendrick says.

Healthy Wisconsin was a 15 billion dollar amendment for state run healthcare added to the 2007 state budget by senate democrats.

It would have been paid for by a 14 percent pay roll tax. but that amendment was removed by the state assembly and Governor Jim Doyle.

the referendum is advisory, which means lawmakers are not required to act on the results of tuesday's vote.

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