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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CRANDON - Planners in Tomahawk dreamed about a bike loop around the city starting in the early 2000s.

Two decades later, it's finally about to happen.

After more than 15 years of negotiation, the city bought a critical piece of land from the Canadian National railroad.

It will allow the city to start building a 4.6 mile bike loop around the city.

"It's a win-win for everybody. There was a little frustration from by position, but you just...kept your foot on the gas through the whole process," said Tomahawk Public Works Director John Cole.

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MERRILL - Police say a Stevens Point man tried to pay to have sex 15-year-old girl. 
Police arrested Leo Pelot, 67, on Tuesday. 

According to a criminal complaint, an undercover agent with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office posed as the 15-year-old's aunt. 

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PORTAGE COUNTY - Portage County will hold an information meeting to share information about a sexually violent offender that will soon be released.

Gregory Loomis, 43, sexually assaulted two children in 1988 and 1992.

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EAGLE RIVER - Kids face bullying in schools all the time.

That's one reason why the Eagle River elementary school holds its annual Great Kindness Challenge Week.

It's part of a nationwide challenge involving nearly 10,000 schools.

This year's kindness week in Eagle River wrapped up Friday with a musical assembly with Dave Dall.

Throughout the week, students were challenged to do random acts of kindness.

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The Crandon School Board voted unanimously Friday evening to change the wording of superintendent Dr. Doug Kryder's absence from the district.

Kryder is now on "paid administrative leave." Originally, he had been "suspended with pay."

The board said it made the change based on advice of its lawyer. The board met for two and a half hours in closed session on Friday.

Kryder is under investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

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CRANDON - UPDATE (3/23/18): The Forest County Medical Examiner released the name of the inmate who died in the Forest County Jail earlier this week. 

The Forest County Sheriff's Officer said a man committed suicide Wednesday morning. 

An autopsy showed 44-year-old William Zastawniak died by hanging. 

He was facing three child sexual assault charges. 

The medical examiner is still waiting on toxicology results. 

The death is still under investigation.

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MADISON - The Conservation Congress plans to ask attendees at its spring hearings whether lawmakers should charge people to use state land and eliminate group hunting.

The congress asks hearing attendees every year for their positions on current outdoors issues. The answers are advisory only.

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