Drawing of a hospital, wheelchair, and ambulance

Health care a top issue for Wisconsinsites, report finds

By Jessie Opoien, The Capital Times

Concerns about health care — including declining mental health, access to care and addiction issues — are top of mind for Wisconsinites in a variety of demographics according to a wide-ranging, year-long study conducted by the conservative Institute for Reforming Government.

The organization held 42 listening sessions in 25 communities throughout the state, including Arcadia, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Hayward, Janesville, Madison, Milwaukee, Oconomowoc, Spring Green, Waukesha and Wausau. The result is a report called “What Wisconsin Wants,” broken into sections including farmers, manufacturers, public and charter school teachers, veterans, college students, retailers, realtors and entrepreneurs.

“(The organization knows) some of the best ideas can come from the people and communities all across the state. That’s why a deeper understanding of the social fabric that supports strong families, schools and communities is the precursor to ensuring Wisconsin remains the heart of the American Dream for generations to come,” wrote CEO CJ Szafir in an introduction to the report.

The report includes lists of concerns from each group, along with proposed policy solutions. It’s accompanied by a poll conducted last month by Morning Consult, a firm with a B- minus rating from FiveThirtyEight (ratings are based on accuracy and methodology; Morning Consult was found to have called 73% of races it polled on correctly).

The poll found that 89% of Wisconsin voters see drugs and addiction as a significant or somewhat significant problem, and 85% said that about the cost of health care. Those issues were followed by mental health at 83%, the cost of child care at 80% and the middle-class tax rate at 76%. Read more …