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.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - On a busy stretch of Highway 47 near Lac du Flambeau -- where hundreds of wheels spin at 55 miles-per-hour each day -- just one tire drags at a slower pace, pulled by one man: the Tire Man.
"I guess I'm the only one nutty enough to do it, I suppose," Frank Tarantino said with a laugh.
Tarantino lives in Mercer, but trains for marathons in Lac du Flambeau. He started pulling a tire on a chain a few years ago after reading about it in a fitness magazine. People often stop to take his picture.
"Little by little you run a little further, a little further," Tarantino said.
MADISON - A $3 billion tax break bill for Taiwan-based electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group is poised to pass the Wisconsin Assembly on a bipartisan vote.
Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason said during debate Thursday that he intends to vote for the bill. He is the first Democrat to publicly say he will back the measure that is being championed by Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republicans.
SAYNER - A needle and thread means more to Pat Andersen than just sewing.
"I started quilting when I was 19 so it's been a passion of mine for a long time," said Pat.
Quilting gives her a community of ladies in the Northwoods.
"Sayner needs something like this, it needs something for the women to do," said Pat.
After moving to Sayner with her husband Don last spring, the two decided to buy the building that now houses Plum Lake Quilts. Pat needed somewhere to put her long arm machine and that eventually turned into a little retail business.
"I mean little and then it grew a little bit and it grew a little bit more," said Don Andersen.
RHINELANDER - Cancer survivors and supporters gathered at Ministry St. Mary's Hospital for the 10th annual Celebration of Life Thursday. The event honors those battling cancer or survivors of cancer and shows people what kinds of services the James Beck Cancer Center offers.
The center's namesake lost his life to cancer, but now others will be able to benefit from his gift to the hospital.
"With his vision and his dollars we were able to put this cancer center here in Rhinelander so patients don't have to travel to larger cities," said Director of Cancer Services Kimberly Hetland.
This year's speaker was Mike Regole, a survivor of tonsil cancer. He spoke about his experience at the center, how family and support affected his journey, and how he ran a business while having cancer.
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