Leaders from Gov. Scott Walker’s office and the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate Health Committees shared their views and heard employers’ concerns and opinions on health issues during The Alliance Day on the Hill on Feb. 12.

Employers on The Alliance Health Policy Committee met with:

  • Dean Cady, who leads Senate health policy staff working for State Sen. Leah Vukmir, chairwoman of the Senate Health Committee.
  • Rich Zipperer, Gov. Scott Walker’s deputy chief of staff and senior counsel, and Brett Davis, director of Wisconsin’s Medicaid program.
  • State Rep. Erik Severson, chairman of the Assembly Health Committee and a practicing emergency room physician.

“This group is putting incentives in place to help people make good choices,” Jenny Revels of Bliss Communications Inc. told Rep. Severson.

The Alliance members asked elected leaders to:

  • Oppose legislation that would interfere with contracts between employers and providers. The Alliance anticipates the reintroduction of a bill that would establish a “floor” for contracted rates for dental services and prohibit employers from negotiating discounts on non-covered services on their employees’ behalf. The measure is expected to increase consumers’ out-of-pocket costs for dental care.
  • Support the state budget’s proposed $5 million in funding for the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) over a two-year period. WHIO provides data that helps The Alliance and employers understand cost and quality differences between physicians and hospitals. Its promise is to publicly report this information to consumers so they can make better health care decisions.
  • Provide an objective analysis of health care infrastructure and workforce needs. Health care stakeholders, including employers, need objective data to make wise decisions about building facilities or hiring more health care workers.

Melissa Duffy, health policy consultant, praised employers for asking good questions and taking time to educate elected officials about each issue as well as the work done by The Alliance.

“The dialogue was really impressive,” Duffy said.

Participating employers included members of The Alliance board and Health Policy Committee: Revels; Martin Hillert, Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative; Mary Kay Brooks, Brooks Tractor Inc.; Mike McDonald, Foremost Farms USA; Brad Olm, Gordon Flesch Company Inc.; Pat Whitmore, Hufcor Inc.; Mary Ann Reichling, Lands’ End; Jerry Ward, Seats Incorporated; Cheryl McIlquham, WEA Trust; Josh Bindl, Wisconsin Counties Association Group Health Trust; and Vikki Brueggeman, Zimbrick Inc. The group was led by Alliance President and CEO Cheryl DeMars.