I will invest in our human potential – the key to Wisconsin growth.
Education is the primary driver of economic prosperity. Incomes climb with educational achievement.
I will restore the $800 million cut in state school aid – bringing back the teachers that have been laid off, restoring the courses that have been cut, returning to smaller classes.
I will support a fairer way to fund our schools and will propose a five-year phase in of much of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers’ Fair Funding for Schools proposal.
I will fully fund the technical colleges and the UW system. I support the University of Wisconsin’s Growth Agenda. We have to keep tuition affordable for everyone.
I will create a tighter connection between the worker skills required by business and job training programs and provide more support to apprenticeship programs.
I will work to make teaching an honored profession again so the best and brightest of our college graduates choose the career of teaching the next generation.
I will create health insurance exchanges to make health insurance more available at a reasonable cost.
Health insurance exchanges will give individuals and small groups more information and more bargaining power in a competitive market. Making health insurance more readily available is the single most important thing the state can do to help small businesses, farmers and individual entrepreneurs.
The exchanges would give individuals, business owners and their agents a virtual marketplace where insurance companies would post their plans in a way that makes accurate and simple comparison possible.
The exchanges would rate plans based on benefits. Information on quality, medical performance and price would all be available. Employers and their agents will be able to easily compare the potential price, benefits and quality of each choice.
The exchanges would be an option for all individuals and employers with 100 employees or less – the maximum allowed by federal law – making buying groups as strong as possible.
I will put in place a New Economic Game Plan for Wisconsin.
To make our communities thrive and bring jobs back to Wisconsin, we need a New Economic Game Plan: a game plan that invests in our human potential; improves the infrastructure that supports all economic activity; and addresses the major problems faced by businesses that want to expand. This New Game Plan recognizes that the private and public sectors are not enemies. Each needs the other. For the economy to thrive, each must support the other.
Our current economic plan is to starve the public sector. The theory goes this way: if taxes are reduced, regulations are eliminated, and programs are slashed, the private sector will be set free and thrive. The facts don’t support that theory.
Two years ago Des Moines, Iowa, topped the Forbes list of ‘best places for businesses and careers’ and also topped the Forbes list of ‘best places to raise a family’. The common ingredients for making Des Moines both the ‘best place’ to raise a family and the ‘best place’ for business were products of the public sector — good schools and a well educated labor force.
Government puts the fertility into the soil out of which jobs grow. Our job in government is to make the soil rich, educate our children in quality schools we are proud of, make our communities safe, train our workers in the latest technologies, keep our environment clean and healthy, modernize our transportation and communication networks, and support a quality of life we enjoy.
If the soil is rich, the economy will grow.
I will bring the management of Medicaid into the 21st century.
Almost a million people rely on Medicaid for vital health services. At $7.5 billion it is the costliest program funded by the state and the fastest growing. Yet, it is poorly run.
When Medicaid is discussed the common question asked is: What would you cut? The question that needs to be asked is: What management changes can be made to improve performance and lower costs? For three years I pushed for an audit of Medicaid. That audit, released in November, found management systems are so poor, $2 billion could not be allocated to any specific program.
Forty percent of Medicaid administration is done by private contractors. Contract amendments are not tracked, do not specify the sources of money used to pay for them, are not competitively bid, and the accounting, procurement and budgeting offices do not know about them.
The first step to fixing Medicaid is bringing management of all the state-funded health programs into the 21st century. This includes identifying cost-drivers, measuring results and helping people make informed decisions.
The common sense administrative recommendations made by the auditors included:
- Developing separate accounting codes for different programs.
- Making sure the money is there before authorizing expenditures.
- Using competitive bids when buying administrative services.
- Identifying whether using state employees would be less costly than contracting services.
- Evaluating the savings from more timely enrollment of recipients into HMOs.
None of these activities are headline grabbers. But when the small things are not given attention by the Governor, the increased costs force other actions that do make headlines – programs are cut and thousands are denied care. I will be a Governor who pays attention to the details of how our tax dollars are spent and how well our programs are run.