Small business supports Healthy Wisconsin

    Operating a small business under our present health care system in Wisconsin is a challenge. When you make the commitment to run a shop here and think of your employees like family, you make a promise to them for their medical insurance needs.

    That is not an easy promise to keep, as we have found at Park Printing. Next year, the cost for our employee health insurance will go up 42 percent.

    Park Printing has been operating in Wisconsin for 55 years. We are the face of Wisconsin small business, but the prospect of such a significant increase in our health insurance threatens our very existence.
    Our choices are minimal and all very difficult. We can reduce the benefit. We currently pay 80 percent and hope to keep our loyal employees. If we lose our skilled workers, it will be extremely difficult to replace them. Another option is to absorb the increased cost and offer no employee raises for three years (or more?). This option is certainly not good for the local economy or our employee morale and does not allow for any expected increase in health care costs in future years. Yet another option is to pass the costs along to our customers, potentially sending them elsewhere for their printing needs.

    The printing business is highly competitive. Holding onto our customers while keeping a highly skilled group of employees and meeting the health care needs of our business has become more than just a challenge.

    We are at an impasse and can no longer be the "responsible employer" – balancing the needs of our employees and the business – without significant consequences. Because we are responsible, caring members of our community, we retain our employees for many years with very low turnover. This means we have an aging workforce, which is hugely penalized by the health insurance industry.
    Something needs to be done to reform the health insurance and health care system.

    If we want to maintain strong small business, paying solid wages with benefits to all employees, a change must occur. That is why I am supporting Healthy Wisconsin. I did the math. Healthy Wisconsin is currently the best prescription for Wisconsin business. To be sure, it may need some tweaking down the road, but Guttenberg didn’t invent the digital press either …

    I know there is no easy answer, but it is time to make the difficult decisions and move ahead for a health care system that everyone in Wisconsin can benefit from. When the politicians see the end of the road as they argue about the state finances, that road should end with fundamental change in how we pay for health care in Wisconsin.

    If it doesn’t, they have not done their job. Small businesses and Wisconsin’s people need their help … NOW!


    Greg Bass is president of Park Printing House Ltd. in Verona, which has been in business in Wisconsin for 55 years.

    Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

    Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

    No posts to display