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Talking With Dr. Maureen Hackett, DFL Candidate in CD3

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 11/23/09 01:22, Edited: 11/23/09 14:56

by Dave Mindeman

I had the pleasure of a telephone interview with Dr. Maureen Hackett, DFL candidate for the Democratic endorsement in Congressional District 3.

We covered a wide range of topics and Dr. Hackett was very gracious with her time. Let's get right to some of the main topics.

Environment

Dr. Hackett has a firm grasp of environmental issues. She articulated the pros and cons of the cap and trade legislation very well. She seems very committed to the promotion of a job creating green economy.

She stated that there are some caveats with cap and trade... like too many offsets. But, overall, she felt it is a good first step for a complex issue. Government needs to play a role in a changeover to environmentally sound economic programs, especially in meaningful regulation and attractive incentives. Yet, at the same time, government must steer clear of stifling innovation. She emphasized that we have natural resources that need protecting for the good of everyone...government has to be that protective entity.

Health Care

Dr. Hackett also leans toward supporting the House version of the Health Care Bill. We still do not know what the final bill will look like, but we talked about the Stupak Amendment and her views on choice were pretty clear:

"That is a private decision between a woman and her family."

On a more general health care view, a quote:

"I think that health care is a cornerstone to a functional and moral society. I think that we need everyone with access to health care. Regarding the current legislation, we need to consider the difficulties with the current system of high costs and limited or no care to many citizens and that we need to follow how the recent proposals will both cover everyone and bring down costs."

PTSD

She has had a good deal of experience dealing with PTSD issues. She served in the military in England during the first Gulf War. And although she did deal with acute stress reactions from the brief combat phase in the first Gulf War, most of her time was dealing with patients with longer term disabilities....some from Vietnam.

On her experience, she elaborated this way:

"I have much more professional experience with this diagnosis.. I am published in a peer review journal this October 2009, on this subject. I have evaluated and treated individuals in many settings with PTSD including my work with patients who have experienced severe physical and emotional trauma (HCMC) along with working in many settings including with residents of hurricane Katrina and Rita. I have evaluated and treated many individuals with this diagnosis including some veterans of our recent wars within the criminal justice system and hospital settings."

Now that is the type of professional background that could bring a valuable perspective to Veteran's issues in Congress.

She sees PTSD as more than just individual cases. She put it this way:

"PTSD is a "community" problem and needs to be approached from many angles of government and community services."

Mental Health Parity and Single Payer

Dr. Hackett has lived in CD3 for some time and followed Jim Ramstad's quest for the Wellstone Mental Health Parity Law. Regarding that she explains...

"The "Wellstone Mental Health Parity act" was passed and means that group insurance plans must cover treatment for mental health and addiction treatment services. The unknown is how this will be done in terms of actual care coverage for these problems. As a physician and psychiatrist I can represent these interests for the CD3 and the nation if I am elected to congress."

Now, as for single payer. Her words:

"While single payor appears simple and would lower costs and increase dramatically access, its opponents worry about "government control over choices" even though choice of provider would likely increase due to the removal of the insurance 'networks' etc. To remove this aspect of the concern, I am of the opinion that single payor should not explicitly limit the way people choose to spend their own private funds on health care as it will not be necessary ( and difficult to regulate) if we have a good functioning system and this would ease the worries about government control."

Regarding Donations

There has been some brief controversy regarding her past political donations. Most notably to David Dillon, 3rd District IP candidate, Ralph Nader, and a few listed to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In response, she wished to emphasize that she also gave substantial donations to Ashwin Madia in the 3rd District as well.

She noted in regards to the NRCC donations..."The republicans were my "colleagues" in that physicians work together no matter what political views. The event was a national one and I wanted to see what the republicans and republican leaning physicians were saying about healthcare in general back in 2004".

She wished to emphatically note:

"I'm a Democrat and have overwhelmingly given to Democrats and Democratic causes, both locally, other state races, and nationally. On some occasions I have given to promote ideas. I have also given money to have access to events."

When I asked her about the ideas that prompted the Nader donations, she indicated a heartfelt support for his ideas on living wages. It's a matter of holding businesses accountable to their country and their local communties. Business employee expense should reflect the actual cost of doing business without externalizing costs.

My Thoughts....

As a psychiatrist, Dr. Hackett would bring a unique perspective to Congress, especially in regards to Veteran's health issues. Of that, there is no question. It remains to be seen whether she can adapt to the eccentricities that are evident in the modern verson of campaigning. After listening to her MPR interview and our own conversation, she almost seems to want to convey too much information. She has a wealth of knowledge at her disposal, but in today's sound bite news mentality, she will need to adapt and condense that knowledge into sharper and more succinct responses. She is a fresh voice for Minnesota politics. She will obviously make some rookie mistakes, but how she adapts and learns from them will be the true test of her candidacy.
comments (3) permalink
BobAnderson
11/28/09 11:10
Dave, thanks for the interview with Dr Hackett. I enjoyed it. I would just like to clarify the Parity Bill. The bill will not require insurance companies to have mental health and addiction coverage. The plans that do have these services will have to cover mental and physical equally.
 
11/23/09 14:54
Thanks Cheryl. Hit a typo on that one. It has been corrected.
 
11/23/09 14:03
Ashwin Madia and David Dillon were 3rd Congressional District candidates last cycle, not 6th as stated above.
 

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