When a legislator has become so controlled and owned by the special interests that he can look at a deaf child and not seek a solution, then it is time to make a change.
I hold to an old fashioned notion that governing should be about insuring that the lives of the public improve, and they be as productive as possible. That the roadblocks which impedes the path of the public be lowered, if not totally eliminated. And above all that the common good always be the primary reason to make a law.
It therefore goes without saying I would be opposed to a Wisconsin State Representative that would use a position of power to stop legislation that would require insurance companies from paying for hearing aids or surgery for a deaf child. And it is fair to say I would be very upset if that same representative while working against Wisconsin families, was also taking campaign cash from the insurance lobby, and doing their shameless bidding under the statehouse dome.
But sadly that is the case with State Representative Frank Lasee. As Chairperson of the Assembly Insurance Committee, Lasee is not shy about making sure his campaign contributors in the insurance industry are well taken care of. In fact, the insurance companies are the third leading contributors to the ‘Lasee Largess’, better known as his campaign coffers. When the industry gives to Lasee, they expect something.
This month Lasee was adamant that a bill to deny insurance companies the right to use a persons credit score when setting premiums would never leave his committee. Now his lack of desire to see a bill enacted in Wisconsin that would require insurance companies to pay for hearing aids or surgery for deaf children is yet another sign that special interests have a hold on the member from the 2nd Assembly District.
The problem is more dire however than just the obvious fact that money and special interests has prevented the political process from working properly. The end result of the collision between special interests and sound public policy in this case are the deaf children. God forbid that Frank Lasee would want to do anything to help out the parents with such a situation. I mean why would Representative Lasee want to help out a parent like Beth Lidtke when he has pals like Northwestern Mutual, and Sentry Insurance?
Beth Lidtke said her son Abraham was born with one deaf ear. At 2, he lost the hearing in his other ear, making it necessary for the family to spend $4,000 on hearing aids.
“It was a long and frustrating road figuring out whether insurance would pay for it,” Lidtke said. “You pay so much for insurance. It’s supposed to be about paying for the unknown things that come up in life. We finally needed it and they would not pay.”
Lidtke said that soon the hearing aid was no longer working well enough and Abraham needed a cochlear implant for that ear.
“The cochlear implant changed his life,” Lidtke said. “But dealing with the insurance company again just drained me.”
The costs have been substantial. Now 7, Abraham wears a $7,000 piece of equipment. The surgery for the implant was around $100,000.
After hearing stirring testimony such as this mother above how can any responsible elected official not schedule the bill for a vote at once? He had the power to do so. But Frank Lasee will never let this bill out of committee as his lobbying pals will not let him.
It is quite clear that the citizens in the 2nd Assembly District have a chance to help the entire state when they vote in November. That is not only an honor for these voters, but also a real responsibility. By casting a ballot for Democrat Ted Zigmunt to replace Frank Lasee, the best friend to the insurance lobby, the voters can help place a truly concerned and ethical man into office.
When a legislator has become so controlled and owned by the special interests that he can look at a deaf child and not seek a solution, then it is time to make a change. And soon.
Ted Zigmunt will have the moral compass to make the right decisions for the people in Northeast Wisconsin, and deaf children throughout the state.