Governor Jim Doyle hopes for the best at the G20 summit. "I hope that somehow something magical happens in London, and President Obama and all those leaders figure it all out . . . and we all get a feeling that it's working," Doyle told members of the Wisconsin Hospital Association, meeting in Madison.
Doyle's assessment of the state's economic outlook is tempered by an unemployment rate that is approaching nine percent. "I think we know that we are in for probably a fairly extended period of fairly hard times," Doyle said. "And these are hard times in Wisconsin, as more and more really good, hardworking people find themselves out of work."
It's because of the economic recession and loss of jobs that Doyle says the state is not backing off on a commitment to provide health insurance to all residents – and predicts we'll see progress at the federal level. "I personally am very optimistic," he said. "I believe in the next two to four years, we are actually going to see in this country, the opportunity for every person to have acceptable health insurance. It will be a huge step forward."
Doyle also said the federal government could learn from Wisconsin programs, such as SeniorCare . "What did we learn from SeniorCare? Something that I hope the federal government is going to learn wherever they're headed with health care legislation, and that is: make sure that it is simple and direct and understandable to people. In SeniorCare we learned that if there's a one page application, people like the program a lot better than if there's a six page application."
Doyle announced that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded the state $1 million, for the Department of Health Services to participate in the Maximizing Enrollment for Kids program to increase enrollment and retention of eligible children in BadgerCare Plus. Wisconsin is one of eight states selected to participate, Doyle said.