State senate democrats this morning will unveil their new universal health care plan. It will get a committee hearing and then be introduced into the state budget process.

The democrats' health care coverage plan is said to be the same plan lawmakers now have. It will be extended to the private sector as well making the pool large enough to cut health insurance costs.

Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) says the plan would cut health care costs in half if not two-thirds for some.

Employees would contribute 4% of their Social Security wage to the plan. Employers would be required to chip in 10 to 12% of an employee's Social Security wages. It would cover all Wisconsin residents 65 and under except those already on a medical assistance program.

Governor Doyle has not endorsed this plan. He would rather push for his Badger Care Plus plan as proposed in the state budget that would cover 98% of state residents.

Senator Erpenbach expects a fight from insurance companies but republicans in the legislature don't like this idea either. They call this plan a disaster for the state that would double taxes and force small businesses out of business.

Senate minority leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says “It will throw health care coverage and medical care for everyone in Wisconsin into chaos.”

AUDIO: Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) ( :38 MP3 )

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