Wis. Sen. Johnson still pushing to repeal ObamacareSubmitted: 11/17/2013
Story By Adam Fox

Wis. Sen. Johnson still pushing to repeal Obamacare
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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MADISON (AP) - An environmental organization and the U.S. Forest Service are working together to harvest timber in northern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the 2014 Farm Bill has allowed the two groups to enter into a stewardship agreement. The conservancy will hire loggers, sell timber and use the proceeds for projects the Forest Service can't afford to do.

The conservancy plans to use some money to restore Simpson Creek by rerouting the channel and exposing the gravel floor that fish need to spawn. The group also plans to rebuild a handicap accessible boardwalk on the Oconto River and will use funds to restore habitat for the endangered Kirtland's warbler.

Forest Supervisor Paul Strong says the Forest Service's budget has been stretched by efforts to fight wildfire that have become more frequent and more intense.

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MADISON (AP) - Wisconsin voters will decide April 3 whether to eliminate the office of state treasurer.

The little-known position dates to territorial days, but Republicans say it's outlived its usefulness. The office has already been stripped of most of its duties over the past decade.

But it has defenders, who say it's an essential check on executive power. They argue it should have powers restored so it can function as a strong independent watchdog.

Attempts to remove the office have been voted on in the Legislature for decades, but it's never gotten enough support to go to voters until now.

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CLARK COUNTY - David Farris has been found safe according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 

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RHINELANDER - Downtown Rhinelander turned into a sea of green on Saturday.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade brought in hundreds down to Brown Street.

Green beer, good food and great music made for a perfect St. Patrick's Day.

While most people wore their green clothes proudly, Mike Lamarre from Suring Wisconsin didn't get the memo.

"My eyes are green that's it," said Lamarre.

Lamarre came to Rhinelander with one thing on his to do list.

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WESTON - A Weston company hosted a so-called "bus-rodeo." The event served as an open house for the Lamers Bus Company.

The goal of the event is to see if people are interested in a job as a bus driver. People who visited could get behind the wheel and take a bus for a spin.

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FOREST COUNTY - A DNR technician went to check on timber sales in Forest County on Thursday. In between checks he found what he thought was an abandoned car in the woods. It turned out to be a woman stuck in the snow for a few days.

Jason Headson and his partner Sam were out checking on timber when they saw a parked vehicle.

"We noticed some movement in the car," said Headson.

They approached the small, grey sedan, which had its hood up. Then they discovered an elderly woman in the car.

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WAUSAU - Ashley Sampson and Dan Dadabo opened a business that's new to Central Wisconsin.

"You get a lot of people waving at you and taking a look at it because they've never seen anything like it before," said Dadabo. 

"I've always seen it in other big cities like Minneapolis and Madison but always wanted to try it and it's a lot of fun," said Wausau Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Cheryl Anderson. 

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