The second in a series of Regional White House Forums on Health Reform took place today in Burlington, Vermont. The forum was hosted by the University of Vermont and was moderated by Governor Jim Douglas of Vermont and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, represented the Obama administration. Forum participants included doctors, patients, providers, insurers, policy experts and health care advocates of all kinds both Democrats and Republicans who discussed the urgent need to provide high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, and to curb skyrocketing health care costs that are draining our federal and state budgets, devastating families and small businesses, and undermining our long-term economic prosperity. Today s forum was a tremendous success, said Governor Douglas. The discussion was very helpful and with so many viewpoints represented, I know the White House will come away from this with many good ideas for how we build a more affordable and effective healthcare system in America. In keeping with the Obama administration s commitment to an open, inclusive, and transparent process for health reform, the forum brought together a diverse group of people to voice their concerns and ideas on reforming our health care system. Health care reform in Massachusetts has become a national model with more than 97% of residents insured in just two years, said Governor Patrick. But affordability is still a big challenge and we need payment reform and better cost containment across America to make healthcare truly available for all. Vermont, like Massachusetts, is a model for the rest of the nation, Governor Douglas continued. Our Blueprint for Health, Green Mountain Healthcare products and our Chronic Care Initiative are all programs that will help us bring down the cost of healthcare and lead healthier lives. We really appreciate the opportunity to share these programs with the rest of the country.And Nancy-Ann DeParle represented the Obama Administration. Today we continued our important national conversation on health reform, DeParle said. Exploding costs are bankrupting families and burdening businesses, dragging down state and local budgets, and piling up our national debt. The time to act is now.Regional White House Forums on Health Reform will also be held in Iowa, North Carolina, and California throughout the rest of March and early April. Anyone interested in participating in the discussion can visit www.HealthReform.gov(link is external) to submit their questions.
In desperate need of a win at the halfway point in the regular season, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team looks to take down in-state rival UW-Green Bay Tuesday night.Currently riding a seven-game winless streak, Wisconsin (1-7-1 overall, 0-3-0 conference) see rival Green Bay (3-4-3 overall, 0-1-1 conference) as a prime opportunity to get a much-needed win and possibly turn the season around before it’s too late.That win won’t come easy for the Badgers though, as any rivalry game proves to be a tough test for both teams regardless of the records they have posted.“It’s another derby,” UW head coach John Trask said. “Green Bay verse Wisconsin in any sport is going to be a derby. With that said, it’s going to be a tough test and we expect to see their best tomorrow. You can throw out the records of the two teams, as it’s going to be a derby between two in-state schools.”With the current struggles this UW team is facing, Trask has had to make some adjustments on both sides of the ball.One key adjustment he recently made was moving junior defender Adam Lauko deeper into the backline as an anchor of the Badger defense. Trask had previously placed Lauko in a role that was between the midfield and the backline.With Lauko now in a position he is more comfortable playing, as that is where he played in his first two years at Wisconsin, it not only has had a positive impact on Lauko, but also on the team overall.“It’s a more natural position for him so I think just having that bit of continuity for him in back really helped both him and the team,” senior defender David Caban said.“It’s definitely easier for him to communicate back there. With having him back there, he was calmer, which made the team more calm, and it definitely looked more natural for him.”Having Lauko back as part of UW’s backline is sure to increase the strength of an already strong Badger line of defense.Strong backline play will be needed as Green Bay is bringing a very strong offensive attack into McClimon Soccer Complex lead by lethal goal scorer, sophomore midfielder Audi Jepson. Jepson currently has nine of his team’s 19 goals this season, and he, along with the rest of the Green Bay attack, will be a challenge to contain.Regardless, Caban believes that the team just needs to stay the course and that the adjustments the team has made will work in Wisconsin’s favor.“Regarding their attack, I think we just have to come out focused and stay disciplined,” Caban said. “They are definitely going to come out hard. As an in-state rival, there is always that extra emphasis on trying to get a win. It will be huge for us to match their intensity, and having a guy like Lauko on the back line and more guys in their natural spots will definitely make things come easier for us.”On the other side of the ball, the Badgers have struggled as of late. Offensively, they have only scored one goal in their last three games, but the opportunities have still been there.With that said, the team is looking to simply continue what they have been doing. The biggest change the offense has to make is converting on those opportunities when they become available.“I think we are still trying to stay the course and look to convert,” freshman forward Tom Barlow said. “The ball hasn’t found the back of the net for us these past few games, but with the goal last game hopefully we can get on some kind of roll now. We have been doing a fine job of getting it forward and creating some good chances. Now it’s just about getting it to the back of the net.”It is approaching desperation time for this Badger team, but with the adjustments they have made, they remain optimistic. Green Bay will be a tough challenge to face, but there is no reason why Trask and his team don’t believe they can walk away with a win on Tuesday night.“I know they brought in a lot of new recruits and feel very good about them,” Trask said. “They’re going to have a different look than from when we played them last year, or even in the spring. They’re going to present some problems for us; there isn’t a team in college soccer that wouldn’t present some problems for us. We just have to be ready for it.”The Badgers will hit the pitch against the Phoenix Tuesday night at 7 P.M. at McClimon Soccer Complex.