The "Healthy Wisconsin" debate is returning to the Capitol.
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) says many Wisconsin residents are living without health insurance, largely because very few businesses with fewer than 10 employees provide coverage. Of the roughly 38 percent that do, he says the options available to employees are usually very expensive.
Erpenbach is the author of Healthy Wisconsin, a $15 billion universal health care proposal being considered in the Senate this week. The reform package was originally included in the last state budget, but Democrats removed it during the stalemate.
Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) says a payroll tax included in the plan will drive out businesses. He says it will also be a disincentive for new businesses to come to the state.
Erpenbach says he has addressed concerns brought up about the bill in the past. Those changes include a phase-in of costs for small businesses and capping personal wages paid into the plan. He says that will prevent high income or dual income households from having to pay too much into the plan.
The proposal received a hearing in a Senate committee on Monday. It's expected to get a vote on the Senate floor later this week, but it's not likely to be taken up in the Assembly.