Healthcare is a Right.
Katherine believes access to quality healthcare is a basic human right. She will safeguard affordable healthcare and protect families from losing coverage (no more pre-existing conditions!).
Katherine would love to see the elimination of health disparities and believes health equity (attainment of highest level of health for all people) is achievable in Wisconsin. She will work to author, sponsor, and vote for bills to improve access to care and bills that make insurance and medications affordable.
Katherine believes premiums, co-pays, and deductibles have become unaffordable to many residents and employers. She plans to propose Wisconsin policies to fix this and hold the Office of Commissioner of Insurance accountable for how their rules and politics impact premiums and consumer choice.
Although "Obamacare" is often blamed for increased premiums; Katherine knows that the reality is Wisconsin chose how to implement the Affordable Care Act ("ACA" / "Obamacare") and that Wisconsin policies and federal government health reform/cost-sharing uncertainty are what are driving up premiums.
The recent "Wisconsin’s Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver" reinsurance request is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer money ($200 Million total; $30 million in state money). It is fiery political rhetoric that is not in the best interest of Wisconsin taxpayers. Most fundamentally, Wisconsin’s draft reinsurance waiver (the language in Act 138) provides no guarantee that any reinsurance payment made to Wisconsin insurers will translate into reduced premiums for consumers. This waste and inefficiency is a huge concern of Katherine's.
We need to remove the polarization from the insurance discussion, and do what is best for our residents - which is to make insurance affordable and accessible. Katherine understands what Wisconsin can do and sees this as achievable.
Furthermore, limited support and resources have been given to help Wisconsinites understand their health insurance options. That is why Katherine led a grassroots effort in 2013 to offer health insurance assistance at Badger High School, a tradition that continues today during open enrollment.
Katherine will fight for your right to choose your insurance plan. There is a mis-perception that folks are "forced" to purchase "Obamacare" insurance, this is absolutely untrue. Please remember that Wisconsin has a vibrant and strong private insurance market that folks can purchase from instead of going to the Marketplace ("Obamacare"). Wisconsinites do have choices. It's affordability that is the problem.
Katherine supports the continued protection of the essential health benefits i.e. comprehensive coverage to protect consumers from unexpected surgeries/tests/diagnosis or denied claims.
Prior to the ACA's Essential Health Benefits many plans excluded maternity and mental health services. As most of us don't read the 1,000 page book explaining our insurance benefits; often a person wouldn't know these services were excluded until they were pregnant or a loved one needed addiction treatment. In a community where life is valued - we must make sure all residents have access to maternity coverage. In a community where substance abuse is a public health epidemic - we must ensure all residents have access to mental health coverage.
As insurance and the U.S. health system are difficult to navigate and limited health literacy affects adults in all racial and ethnic groups. Katherine supports ACA consumer protections and believes Wisconsin should continue these:
First, Katherine wants to acknowledge that Wisconsin’s partial expansion of BadgerCare (Medicaid) has clearly been a better choice than not expanding Medicaid at all. However, Katherine is concerned that Wisconsin did not accept the federal money to expand Medicaid.
This not only prevents some residents from having coverage, but also doubles the health care tax burden to Wisconsin residents. A portion of our federal taxes pay for other states to expand their Medicaid, and then our Wisconsin taxes have to be higher to cover what we didn't accept from the federal government. Wisconsin’s partial Medicaid expansion covers far fewer people at a much greater cost (financially and lives disabled/lost). This is not wise spending of taxpayer money and is not in the best interest of the health of our community.
If Wisconsin were to fully expand Medicaid, more than 80,000 adults between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty level would be covered, and that change would yield a net savings for Wisconsin taxpayers of about $190 million per year. It is important to note that per CMS guidance, there is no deadline for states to implement the Medicaid expansion.
Wisconsin has some of the lowest Medicaid dental reimbursement rates in the nation. This is absolutely unacceptable. This causes problems with access. The tremendous losses associated with seeing Medicaid dental patients in Wisconsin is well documented. Katherine would like to see the Medicaid dental reimbursement increased, in particular for safety net clinics. Living in a tourist community, we know how a smile impacts employment. Help Katherine improve access to dental care in our community. Healthy Smiles = Employability.
Furthermore, our children are suffering because we have not expanded Medicaid. Wisconsin went from having the 12th lowest rate of uninsured children in 2013 to a tie for 20th lowest in 2016, as states that expanded Medicaid coverage for parents found that there was increased Medicaid participation among children who were already eligible (Source: Georgetown University Health Policy Institute).
Among the 1.9 million nonelderly adults with opioid addiction, those with Medicaid were twice as likely as those with private insurance or no insurance to have received treatment in 2016, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Expanding Medicaid access should be done to fight the opioid epidemic.
Katherine has many concerns about the Medicaid Waivers that Wisconsin has applied for and how these costly waivers will negatively impact the health of our residents and community.
Katherine believes elected officials must have integrity. She believes elected officials must not personally take advantage of taxpayer dollars; in particular through per diem allotments.
Furthermore, she prides herself in being a resident of District 32. She will only use per diems when it is necessary for her to be in Madison representing you. She plans to commute back and forth to Madison whenever possible. If she needs to spend the night in Madison, she will stay with her mother who lives in a Madison suburb. She won't be charging a hotel to you, the taxpayer.
She believes your Assembly person should be in the District, living in the District, visiting with constituents, and experiencing life in District 32 as much as possible. Katherine would love to be invited to your festivals, concerts, and celebrations - please don't hesitate to outreach to her.
VIEW 2017 Wisconsin Assembly Per Diem Report
VIEW Article on Increased Per Diems
Katherine values education, as demonstrated by her earning her doctorate (she's a lifelong learner) and her adjunct instructing higher education for over a decade.
Katherine believes in the public school system and that every child deserves access to a quality education that meets their unique learning styles, capabilities, and interests. She will uphold District 32's tradition of quality public education. She strongly believes that class sizes should be kept small and that funding should be available to do this. Furthermore, she believes schools should be a safe place to learn. Additionally, she believes more can be done to prepare every student to succeed in the workplace without a lifetime of debt.
Katherine believes a great community protects the environment and fosters an appreciation for the beauty of nature. Katherine and her family enjoy boating on Delavan Lake and Geneva Lake. She will support policies that protect and preserve our lakes, rivers, and waterways. She will vote for bills that protect our water quality.
Katherine will support policies that strengthen District 32. She supports policies that promote healthy, sustainable communities. She believes local communities should decide how to best spend their tax dollars and grow the economy. She believes more can be done to support District 32's local small businesses, manufacturers, and farmers; in particular as they are the drivers of job creation, our economy, and innovation.
Katherine supports assigning the task for district review and redistricting to the Legislative Reference Bureau, a nonpartisan state service agency. This is similar to how redistricting is done in Iowa.
Currently, under the Wisconsin constitution, the legislature is directed to redistrict legislative districts according to the number of inhabitants at its next session following each decennial federal census. This is a problem. A nonpartisan group should be conducting the redistricting and review as Legislative and congressional redistricting plans are used to elect members of the legislature and members of Congress in the fall of the second year following the year of the census. Clearly, legislators have a vested personal interest in how redistricting occurs; as such a nonpartisan organization should be responsible for this activity. This system for letting politicians pick their voters, rather than the other way around, has long been opposed by Common Cause in Wisconsin, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Katherine will lead efforts to have redistricting conducted by a non-partisan entity. This is especially important in light of the predictive voting capabilities of technology. This would solve the issues being brought before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding gerrymandering, at least for the state of Wisconsin.
Article: NPR A Solution To Partisan Gerrymandering
Play with this map to see how gerrymandering impacts voting: The Atlas of Redisticting
What issues are important to you? This page is a work-in-progress. Katherine wants to be YOUR representative. Please email email@example.com your thoughts and ideas. Katherine is listening.