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Reality Check: Group's Ad Targets Hixson On Health Care

Published On: Oct 30 2008 07:56:15 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 31 2008 02:04:52 AM CDT

The Michigan-based group All Children Matter is targeting a candidate in the race for Wisconsin's 43rd Assembly district.

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The group, which was founded by a prominent Republican couple, said it is focused on making sure children have access to a quality education. But in a new ad, the group has turned its attention to health care in Wisconsin.

The ad aims to strike fear in the heart of anyone who goes to see a doctor. The group would have people believe that an Assembly candidate would drastically chance health care, but WISC-TV found that is not necessarily the case.

"Heart patients waiting three months for EKGs; teenagers waiting up to three years for knee surgery. That's Canada's government-run health care system, the same kind of health care Kim Hixson wants for Wisconsin," the ad says.

A WISC-TV analysis found the premise of the ad misleading.

Democrat Kim Hixson is a one-term Assembly representative from Whitewater running to keep his seat.

The ad bases the support of a Canadian-like health care system on a Wisconsin Eye interview. Hixson was asked if the Healthy Wisconsin plan was the right way to reform health care.

"I think that probably we're going down the right path by discussing and talking about it. I think that some sort of universal health care is probably where we need to go," Hixson told Wisconsin Eye.

Hixson went on to discuss some of the positives of the plan, and the ad implies that he supports Healthy Wisconsin.

But Hixson told WISC-TV on Thursday that he doesn't support it and didn't support it during the budget process. It never came up for a vote in the Assembly.

Hixson said he supports universal health care but doesn't have a plan to do it. He said the details need to be worked out.

"Under Hixson's plan, families could lose their choice of doctors, face long waiting lists and a frustrating bureaucracy," the ad says.

WISC-TV found this claim needs clarification.

Again, Healthy Wisconsin is not Hixson's plan. But under the program, families wouldn't necessarily lose their doctor. The program creates a state network of private health plans. People can select which one they want and pay for it through a percentage of their income and an annual deductible.

Healthy Wisconsin puts plans on a tier, so if your current plan isn't chosen by the board to be the lowest cost, you might have to pay more to get your current doctor.

But the creators of the plan said this program creates competition and that everyone will want to be in the lowest tier.

As far as waiting lists go, currently only 10 percent of state residents are uninsured, so presumably some 500,000 people would enter the health care system.

"Hixson's government-run plan would cost $500 a month for each Wisconsin worker," the ad says.

WISC-TV found this claim needs clarification.

Under Healthy Wisconsin, the average worker would pay $140 a month in additional payroll taxes. Their employer would pay another $370 on their behalf.

But Hixson said he doesn't support this particular plan.

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