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February 24, 2010


Harsdorf Urges Stopping Government Promises We Can’t Afford


(State Capitol, Madison) . . . State Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) stated her opposition to legislation that would establish a new taxpayer financed health benefit plan for childless adults, citing the state’s existing and ongoing budgetary shortfalls.


“Wisconsin government is over-promising what it can deliver,” said Harsdorf.  “To restore any semblance of fiscal sanity, we must stop the creation of new programs we can neither afford now nor sustain in the future.  Wisconsin has an over $2 billion structural deficit and it is time to get real about what commitments we can make.”


Harsdorf indicated that even as health care providers, including long-term care facilities and rural hospitals, are undergoing cuts put forward by the Governor’s administration, new programs are being hatched that will result in more stress on government services.


“This proposal is similar to the Governor’s Covenant program, wherein he went around the state promising students’ increased financial aid while having no plan to pay for it,” said Harsdorf.  “I think such government promises, especially now, are short-sighted and fiscally irresponsible.”


The “BadgerCare Basic” proposal presumes that premiums paid by enrollees as well as some existing reserves would fund the program.  However, there has been bipartisan concern about the adequacy of the funding, the potential cost shift to private payers, and the value of the benefit itself.


Legislation authorizing BadgerCare Basic is now under consideration in the State Senate, where Democratic Leadership is pushing for action.