GREEN BAY - Health care experts acknowledge 46 million Americans arecurrently without health coverage. But U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-6thDist., says the need for reform is exaggerated with only about 15million Americans really in need. He says an estimated 11 millionare eligible for Medicaid but haven't applied. And the rest arebetween jobs, or choose not to have coverage.
"You have a lot of people not covered for one reason or anotherprimarily through their own choice," said Petri.
U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-8th Dist., is pushing the health carereform plan to insure affordable coverage for all--including thosedenied due to ones health, a pre-existing condition or inability topay.
"It's called no discrimination," said Kagen.
Petri does agree with no discrimination, but he doesn't believegovernment should force coverage on everyone.
"The idea government will be able to better regulate thanconsumers is a false hope," explained Petri.
"I want to be perfectly clear. If you're happy with what you'vegot I'd like you to keep it but at a lower price," said Kagen.
Kagen says the reform plan would most benefit the poor and smallbusiness that currently can't afford to pay for workers' coverageby driving down costs.
"This is about improving the quality of your care at a lowercost and making healthcare affordable again for small business,"Kagen said.
But Petri says penalties in the plan for non-participation wouldbe lower than actually paying for coverage and keep people out ofthe plan.
"They won't buy any coverage until they have a major medicalproblem and then there is a requirement people with pre-existingconditions be covered," said Petri.
Both Congressmen admit the reform plan is not complete andrevisions continue to be made to work out the exact details and howit might work if approved.
Firefighters are battling a house fire in Kewaunee County.
Wind, snow, cold and ice played a role as firefighters battled a fire in downtown Ripon Wednesday morning.
Outagamie County's second largest employer is expanding, and veterans are encouraged to apply.
The State Building Commission has approved $5 million to help build the Wisconsin Maritime Center of Excellence in Marinette.
Fond du Lac police have released more information about the weapons they found in the apartment of a man who was at the center of a five-hour standoff on Monday.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is announcing a public meeting has been scheduled to provide road closure and design information for the Velp Avenue interchange area.