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

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


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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 IN OTHER NEWS

STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point police want your help finding suspects in two possible stabbings.  The stabbings happened early Friday morning and early Sunday morning near downtown Stevens Point.

Friday, four young men got into a fight on Main Street. One man said he was stabbed in the chest.  Police say the suspect is a black man in his mid-20s, about 5' 9" tall, with a muscular build and short hair.  The victim was treated at the hospital and released.

Sunday morning, police responded to an incident at 2nd Street and Crosby Avenue. Witnesses heard glass breaking and people yelling about a stabbing.  Police don't have a victim or suspect description in that case, but they don't believe the two stabbings are connected.

If you have any information about the stabbings, call Detective Sgt. Gruber at 715-346-1518.

You can also call Portage County Crimestoppers to remain anonymous at 888-346-6600.

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Wisconsin emergency management workers provided the estimate on damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure.

In an update Tuesday night, the State Emergency Operations Center put the damage to homes and businesses at over $1.6 million dollars.

Damage to public infrastructure, including roads, bridges and trails, has reached over $8 million dollars.

The numbers should go higher, as some counties are still not reporting.

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BOULDER JUNCTION -
The Boulder Junction Town Board voted two to one Tuesday night to move forward with a town plaza plan. The plan will now go to a design phase. 

The board estimated the cost of the design phase to be between $30,000 to $50,000, but it was dropped to about $25,000 at the meeting.

Town Chairman Dennis Reuss and Town Supervisor Dennis Duke voted in favor, with Town Supervisor Denny McGann voting against the plan. 



A little more than $1 million may not seem like a lot of money to a city like Madison or Milwaukee. But for a town of fewer than one thousand people, it's a lot. The Boulder Junction Town Board could vote Tuesday whether or not to move onto the next phase of a $1.26 million town plaza project. 

Dennis Duke has a vision of what Boulder Junction could look like in a few years. 

"This one has a much more artistic flair, this has a more engineering flair if you will," said Duke while looking at potential design plans. 

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Faculty members first nominated the students, then they interviewed for the positions.

District Student Ambassador, Samantha Zalewski, from Sayner, says this is an opportunity for her to give back to the college.

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MILWAUKEE - Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is meeting with campaign volunteers in Wisconsin, including Gov. Scott Walker's son.

Pence stopped by a Republican campaign headquarters outside of Madison Tuesday after spending the afternoon with Walker preparing for his debate next week with Democrat Tim Kaine.

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"We actually have a pet rescue kit, it's an oxygen mask that we can put over their snout, their nose and mouth, and we can apply oxygen to them that way," said Pine Lake firefighter Blake Jensen.

The rescue kit worked, and Emmy regained her energy and gave her rescuers hope.

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