The new leader in the state Senate wants to increase health care affordability and access. She's the first woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader for the Democrats, and Judy Robson of Beloit is also a registered nurse who says improving access to health care is only part of the equation. Robson says lawmakers also will have to grapple with the issue of spiraling costs. "About 25 cents on the health care dollar goes to paperwork," she says. "Hospitals are filled with desks of people who do nothing but talk to insurance companies."
Robson says health care costs are a brake on economic development. She's willing to look at Governor Jim Doyle's ideas to cover more children through BadgerCare, and provide tax deductions for all health insurance premiums. And, Robson says Democrats might even be willing to consider health savings accounts as part of a broader package, noting they've never supported them "as an isolated measure."
Robson will really push for some type of universal health care in Wisconsin — although she concedes that will be a tough sell. "There are that many special interests that are worried," about reform, she says. "But the status quo isn't working anymore."