Funding health care takes center stage during budget listening session

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) - Governor Tony Evers had a chance to hear directly from the public during a budget listening session Tuesday night, Nov. 17.

The topic of the session was funding health care in the state, and COVID was in the spotlight all night.

“This budget is perhaps the most important policy document we have,” said Gov. Evers, as he kicked off the event.  “We know there is much work to do, especially now as Wisconsinites face an extraordinary, difficult year,” he said.

As one person after another talked about what’s important to them when it comes to funding health care, COVID was always there.  “We work food pantries that are seeing right now cars that are lined up for two miles trying to get food, charitable organizations and volunteers are doing the best they can,” said one participant.

“This pandemic has definitely highlighted the chronic underfunding of Wisconsin health departments face and I think one great solution to that would be provide block grants to local health departments,” said another.

And while there was a push to continue funding current programs, programs we’ve never thought of before were also addressed.

“These overworked, small health departments just don’t have enough people to do contact tracing that’s necessary and they also don’t have the ability and will not have the ability to do vaccinations,” said a participant.

The budget is always a big part of the governor’s job, a job that takes on new meaning and challenges during the pandemic.

This was the first of four public listening sessions the governor is holding for this budget process.

Click here for a list of the other upcoming sessions.

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