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.
EAGLE RIVER - When school starts up again in the fall, buses usually fill with kids.
But Parsons of Eagle River car dealership is filling buses with school supplies for their second annual Fill the Bus fundraiser.
The car dealership began collecting school supplies last week for their month long fundraiser to benefit kids in the Northland Pines and Phelps school districts.
"Last year our new car manager, Brandee, and some others sat down and came up with this idea to help the local schools. It was such a success last year we decided to try it again this year," said Parsons Eagle River co-owner Jenny Gretzinger.
RIVER FALLS - A Wisconsin company is offering to microchip its employees, enabling them to open doors, log onto their computers and purchase break room snacks with a simple swipe of the hand.
Three Square Market, also known as 32M, says it expects about 50 employees to take advantage of the technology. The chips are the size of a grain of rice and will be implanted underneath the skin between the thumb and forefinger.
VILAS COUNTY - When Dee Burlingame walks into the Sayner Cemetery, she walks to the very back of it, near the wooded area.
"When we bought that plot we did so laughing and saying that the deer would come and run across us," said Burlingame.
Dee and her husband of more than 34 years, John Burlingame, have called Sayner their home for many years, even though they met in Cleveland, Ohio. But about a year ago, Dee's life took an unexpected turn.
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