Green Party politician Tony Palmeri appeared on the Wisconsin Public Radio show Week in Review on Friday, and spoke with host Joy Cardin on a variety of topics, ranging from economic stimulus in Wisconsin to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States.
On the issue of health care reform, Palmeri warned about the influence of lobbyists from the health insurance industry upon the legislative process in Washington D.C. “I would be shocked if something were passed before the August recess, mostly because the private insurance industry is putting about 1.4 million dollars a day in lobbying in Washington, and sad to say, until something comes out of those committees that the industry is happy with, we probably won’t get a bill signed,” he said. “If these folks are putting in a million or more dollars a day in lobbying, they’re not doing it so that they’re going to be put out of business. We might be creating a kind of monstrosity here.”
However, as imperfect as the health care reform process is, Palmeri noted that local governments are struggling to keep up with the increasing burden of health care costs, even as the overall economic crisis reduces the money that’s available for their budgets. He explained, “As a member of the Oshkosh City Council, we’re going into our budget period right now, and as most cities, we’re facing huge health care increases for our city employees, so we really need some help from the feds, and if whatever they pass in Washington passes the cities, at least it’s some positive reform.”
Palmeri is an Associate Professor of Communications at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He was re-elected to the Oshkosh Common Council this year and named Deputy Mayor.