FRI AM News: WisBusiness: the Podcast with Adam VanSpankeren, Covering Wisconsin; Talking Trade with Mike Dankler, Michael Best Strategies

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Adam VanSpankeren, the manager of the Covering Wisconsin navigator program. 

He discusses the ongoing open enrollment period for plans, which began Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 15. 

Covering Wisconsin is a nonprofit group affiliated with the UW-Madison Division of Extension that has provided navigator services since 2014. Navigators provide free assistance to help people get connected with health insurance, VanSpankeren explained. 

“Both for the Affordable Care Act — so insurance, marketplace insurance, you may hear all those terms get thrown around — as well as Medicaid and BadgerCare,” he said. “We’re always looking at those public benefits and trying to find the best program for people.” 

Along with directly helping people navigate the health insurance landscape, Covering Wisconsin also provides educational materials on insurance-related topics. 

VanSpankeren says navigators in the state “had a really strong start” to this year’s open enrollment period, suggesting that “people are feeling confident” in the health insurance marketplace. 

He also notes the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency will likely affect enrollment trends this year. That’s because people on Medicaid who would typically move into the marketplace due to income changes are able to stay in the program throughout the emergency period. 

“Which means that enrollment numbers may be down a little bit for a while, but not necessarily the whole next year,” he said. “Because once the public health emergency ends, those people will have to renew their coverage for Medicaid or BadgerCare and a lot of them are actually going to be eligible for the marketplace.” 

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<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report … </b></i> 

— Hospitals in the state provided just under $2 billion in community benefits and charity care in fiscal year 2021, according to a report from the Wisconsin Hospital Association. 

And health officials have issued an alert to care providers in the state warning of high levels of respiratory illnesses including the flu, COVID-19 and RSV. 

The Department of Health Services also announced Wisconsin households can now order one free COVID-19 test kit per month through the “Say Yes! COVID Test” program. 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and</i>

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— In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” Michael Best Strategies Principal Mike Dankler says a federal review of Section 301 tariffs on China could be “a sign of some tariff-liftings to come.”

Federal officials recently opened a comment period on these tariffs, and Dankler says Michael Best Strategies has been encouraging clients to apply to submit comments on this process.  

“I think there’s a lot of people hoping that they may use it to rebalance things somehow, maybe use it as pretext to reopen an exclusion process,” he said. “As we’ve been telling clients, there’s an old political adage that, ‘if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.’” 

Dankler also discusses potential actions federal lawmakers could take related to trade regulations and programs in the wake of the recent midterm elections. And he touches on the possibility for a rail worker strike and how Congress may respond. 

He also explains the chair position for the House Ways and Means Committee is up for grabs between three lawmakers from Missouri, Florida and Nebraska. 

“All of them are likely to chart kind of a free-trader type of path on trade policy,” he said. 

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— The state unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.3 percent in October, according to the latest federal figures released by the state Department of Workforce Development. 

That’s 0.1 percentage points above September’s rate of 3.2 percent, but remains 0.4 percentage points below the national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. 

Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate declined from 65.6 percent in September to 65.3 percent in October, the DWD report shows. That remains above the national rate of 62.2 percent. 

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— Milwaukee’s transportation sector has been ranked 38th among U.S. transportation emissions sources for the amount of CO2 it produced in 2021. 

That’s according to newly released data from the Climate TRACE, a nonprofit group supported by environmental advocates including former Vice President Al Gore. The organization has created a data tool that includes information from hundreds of satellites and thousands of sensors around the world. 

The transportation rankings include both metropolitan areas and major airports in the list of the top 100 emissions sources. 

Milwaukee’s system of roads produced about 3.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, according to the data tool. For comparison, that puts it just above the Seattle Tacoma International Airport, which was ranked 39th with about 3.7 metric tons of CO2 emitted last year. 

Along with ranking emissions from the transportation sector, Climate TRACE also provides rankings for other industries including mining, forestry, electricity production and many more. 

See the data tool: 


# Starbucks workers in Madison join nationwide strike on Red Cup Day

# Cold and snow create ideal conditions for Wisconsin’s 9-day gun deer season that opens Saturday

# Wisconsin lost 1,600 jobs in October, labor force participation continued to drop



– Winners of meat processor resiliency grants named


– Several vetoed bills related to construction remain buried after Evers’ re-election


– Thanksgiving meal in Wisconsin to cost about $74.54

– Veterans add $400 million to Brown County economy, yet some struggle with basic needs


– UW-Madison plans to enroll 500 fewer students for next fall’s freshman class


– Cold and snowy conditions to greet Wisconsin deer hunters


– Wisconsin had 1,427 opioid overdose deaths last year, 16% higher than previous record

– Exclusive: Bellin, Gundersen finalize merger for Dec. 1. Here’s what that means

– Zien, veterans group pushes for land sale money to go to new vet home


– Racine startup Houstr receives funding from Gateway Capital


– Starbucks workers strike at more than 100 stores, including in Green Bay and Madison


– Why Fiserv’s CEO believes in the power of in-office work


– Chicago CRE execs say Milwaukee market well positioned to handle economic headwinds


– Kohl’s reports 60% earnings drop, withdraws guidance for holiday sales

– Following news of CEO departure, Kohl’s reports 60% earnings plunge


– Fiserv’s new downtown Milwaukee HQ ‘wasn’t a hard decision,’ CEO says


– No seat belts or helmets in two-thirds of fatal Dane County crashes


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

USDA Rural Development: USDA invests $13 million on National Rural Health Care Day to improve health care for rural people across Wisconsin

Marcus & Millichap: Sells a 33,381- square foot retail property