Wis. Sen. Johnson still pushing to repeal ObamacareSubmitted: 11/17/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter

CRANDON - Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson focused on President Obama's healthcare law at the Northwoods Republican Counties Coalition meeting in Crandon Saturday.

It was the first meeting of the Republican Parties of Forest, Florence, Marinette, Oneida, Vilas and Oconto Counties.

Johnson spoke to the crowd saying he believes the free market would do a better job of keeping healthcare costs down.

But public and private health care spending in the U.S. has increased from $1.6 trillion dollars in 2000 to $2.6 trillion in 2011, which was before the president's healthcare roll out, according to the American Medical Association.

But Johnson blames some of those increases on the way the government pays hospitals.

"The government's paying about half and they are underpaying providers," Johnson said. "Those providers are forced to shift those costs so they can stay in business, so we actually have access to healthcare."

In 2011, The U.S. spent 17.7 percent of its GDP on Healthcare, according to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. That means one out of every five dollars in the U.S. economy is for health care.

That's why Johnson says there are problems, but he believes Obama's health law isn't the solution.

"Growing governments influence into our healthcare is just the wrong direction," Johnson said. "I'm not saying our healthcare system is perfect, but as we are seeing right now the high risk pools were a whole lot better than the healthcare exchanges."

Federal officials continue to fix glitches on the online federal exchange.

The issues have caused fewer than 900 Wisconsinites to sign up for healthcare coverage.

But Democrats like Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin believe the exchange will help, once the glitches are fixed.

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