Today the case was argued before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. The 3 Judge Panel Consisted of Judges Manian, Koehn and Lee. They focused their questions on the 1971 Ordinance that granted cost free health insurance. It seemed they were equating that language to the current situation, ie since the 1971 Ordinance was meant to cover both active employees and retirees, shouldn’t that survive? That is, despite many changes since then, the Court was curious why that did not continue to control for both active employees and retirees today. I pointed out that Wisconsin case law pointed in a different direction, though I am not sure the Court was aware of the differences–hopefully they were. I expect a decision in the next 30 days and I will update this blog as soon as it arrives.–Mike Ganzer



  1. Greetings,
    It is some time since oral arguments are complete. Should we lose this appeal, we should look at altenatives. Someone (and I don’t mean Milwaukee County employees) familiar with costs, benefits should look at these co-pays and deductibles and determine what pension and income level on medicare can afford them. If there are better options–the benefit is gone. Maybe Remco could report

  2. I expected a quick decision but I am still awaiting the opinion of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Of course, the opinion will be posted here as soon as it is received.–Mike Ganzer

  3. I also have been waiting for a decision but I believe the delay is of a practical sort. The end of April is the time that new lawyers graduate and seek employment. Some of these graduates become law clerks for judges. (appeals court included) These decisions are written by law clerks based on the notes of the judges during argument and are then approved and signed by the judge when the decision is written. The former law clerks go on to other positiions and the new clerks assume the positions the old clerks left. The new clerks are not as experienced as the clerks who left and are probably faced with a large backlog. I would rather have them do it correctly than quickly. What bothers me about the argument is that the attorney for Milwaukee County, responding to a question from one of the judges, said that our insurance pays what Medicare doesn’t pay. THAT’S NOT TRUE. Mr.Ganzer’s time was up and couldn’t rebut that statement. I don’t know how that can be corrected. You can listen to the argument if you Google United States 7th Circuit and find the recording at April 25. You’ll see that there are many cases on the docket and both counsel only receive a certain number of minutes (combined) and they are then cut off when the time is up.

  4. It was sad to hear of Esther’s passing, without a resolution to her case. I hope children continue the case.
    On the County website, there is an Overview of the County Executive’s 2014 Recommended Budget 10/7/2013. Pages 13-16 have an interesting discussion of the recent “cost shifting” of health care costs and comparisons to City and State plans.

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