A Letter to the Editor
by Leah Hibl
Recently, one of our 9to5 Wisconsin members and paid leave canvassers, Leah Hibl, wrote a letter to the editor of a Wisconsin publication. Leah, a healthcare provider as well as consumer, understands all too well how many working families are impacted by the lack of affordable healthcare and access to medications.
Written from the perspective of addressing her local legislator, Leah expresses her gratitude for the recent Fall Legislative updates and her sincere wish that lawmakers continue to work towards making healthcare accessible and affordable for all Wisconsin residents.
Dear Senator LeMahieu:
On this Thanksgiving Day, I wanted to express my gratitude for the recent fall legislative update I received from your office. To be able to read about the work you have been doing on behalf of your constituents and information about how taxpayer dollars are being spent gives me a clear picture of the state of our state.
One thing I was heartened to see was that in the 2023-25 biennial budget, $3.1 million was allocated to health care. As both a provider and consumer of healthcare, I am seeing the impact of the rising costs. I have not been able to pick up necessary medications for weeks because my insurance doesn’t cover them, and my salary as a therapist prohibits me from affording them otherwise. I have clients who must stop therapy because they can no longer afford even the copays for these services. I am hoping that you and the rest of our legislators can continue to work towards accessibility and affordability for all Wisconsin residents.
Tomorrow, the calendar will turn and the Christmas season will be upon us. I know you are not Santa Claus, but I’ll tell you my wish, because you are an actual human being that can use solutions rather than magic to get this job done. My wish this year is for one thing that didn’t make the final budget: paid leave for all in Wisconsin.
Studies show that paid leave leads to reduced re-hospitalizations, which means lower costs for providers and consumers. Government-backed paid leave would allow for greater employee retention for small businesses, making for a stronger tax base. And, personally, I’ve seen that having access to paid leave means having someone to come home to, leading to improved mental health and feelings of connection for our citizens. Read more and see the stories of everyday Wisconsinites at paidleaveforwi.org.
Like sugarplums of days past, visions of this dream will continue to dance in my head until this is a reality. It’s been 30 years since any meaningful change for paid leave; I’m 33 years old. Don’t make me wait another lifetime. Make all my Christmas dreams come true.
With All the Cheer of Yuletide,