If only our political leaders would get pragmatic instead of partisan. An updated study by Aetna confirms one more time that huge savings are possible in health care through a conversion to consumer-driven health plans. For a full conversion to a HSA or HRA based plan, the savings have been documented by Aetna over a five-year period at $21.5 million per 10,000 members. That works out to about a 21% reduction in health costs from a standard plan. With a health care bill for state employees at about $1.1 billion, Wisconsin taxpayers could save north of $200 million a year with an improved delivery model for health care payments. If the same principles would apply to municipal and school district employees and Medicaid, the savings would be two to three times that. That would be a huge stride toward balancing the busted state budget. Even if the change to a consumer-driven plan were made optional, the svings would be $9 million over 10,000 members. Also, people with HSAs or HRAs do a better job of using preventive care. Somehow, some way, the politicians on both sides of the aisle, and the union leaders in the background, need to open their minds to innovative vs. ideological solutions.