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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Where's Rep. Tara Mack?

Category: DFL 2014
Posted: 10/19/14 23:57, Edited: 10/19/14 23:59

by Dave Mindeman

Where's Rep. Tara Mack?

Oh, I don't mean she's literally missing. Not by any means. She has been to forums and campaign meetings and fundraising events. She was recently at the local Chamber debate.

But she has missed some other meetings that directly involve her job. Meetings that have an effect on how she views health care in Minnesota.

In the legislature, Rep. Mack is on the Health and Human Services Policy Committee. She is also the Health and Human Services Finance Committee. And she is on the MNSure Legislative Oversight Committee. She has a lot to do with health care in Minnesota.

In August, Gov. Dayton made this announcement...

Governor Dayton today signed Executive Order 14-13 establishing a Blue Ribbon Committee on the University of Minnesota Medical School. The Committee will advise the Governor and Legislature on strategies and state investments to ensure the state's preeminent medical school is a national leader in medical training, research, and innovation.

An important topic regarding the future of health care policy and jobs in Minnesota. The paragraph at the bottom of the release indicated that the legislature would have 2 legislators (one Republican and one Democrat) from each of the legislative Houses. The legislator chosen to represent the entire minority caucus in the House was Rep. Tara Mack. It makes sense. She is the GOP lead on health care.

That committee had a meeting last Wednesday. Tara Mack DID NOT attend.

There is also a Healthcare Workforce Commission.

The Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission was created to study and make recommendations to the legislature on how to achieve the goal of strengthening the workforce in health care.

The commission deals with health care jobs. A topic that deals directly with Minnesota's future growth.

Rep. Tara Mack was appointed to that Commission, but has missed the last two meetings.

And then we can go back to March of this year, during the last session. A tax CUT bill was before the House. A bill that would "provide $503 million in tax relief to businesses and Minnesotans."

An important vote, but Rep. Tara Mack was not there to vote. Where was she?

State Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, was a guest speaker at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. Mack, who is one of CPAC's Top 10 conservatives under 40 years old, gave an eight minute speech on her political background, her conservative beliefs and what she characterized as the perils of the Affordable Care Act.

She was in Washington to receive an award. A very partisan award from a very partisan organization. She missed a tax bill vote in favor of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Congress. She used her speech time to criticize Democrats, Democratic policies, and of course the ACA.

Meanwhile, the tax bill did just fine. It passed overwhelmingly. But MPR was curious about her absence. She explained:

"I was honored to be recognized by a national organization for my leadership in Minnesota," Mack said. "I voted in support of the tax correction bill in committee, I support the bill now, and I plan on voting for this bill at final passage."

Yes, she was recognized....by a PARTISAN organization for partisan political leadership. Apparently she felt the tax bill didn't need her vote. Her district didn't need to be represented. I guess she feels that it was more important to represent her district at CPAC. Well, at least part of the district. Because she didn't represent all of us that day. A lot of Democrats and Independents don't care much about CPAC - and our idea of representation goes to votes in the legislature.

Rep. Tara Mack talks a lot about priorities when she talks about the legislature. Well, personal priorities show up in the things you take part in. Rep. Tara Mack should tell us what priorities are keeping her from her other duties on these commissions and committees.

If she is going to criticize Minnesota's current health care system, then she should be attending these valuable commission and committee opportunities to find the solutions.

Could we please have an explanation, Rep. Tara Mack?
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7th District- Westrom: Another GOP Failure Regarding Health Care

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 10/19/14 21:10, Edited: 10/19/14 21:15

by Dave Mindeman

After listening to GOP 7th District Candidate Torrey Westrom on Hauser's At Issue program, I feel exasperated.

In regards to health care, Westrom counts himself as another "repealer". He wants to get rid of Obamacare and replace it.

But, he then takes the puzzling position of telling us that we can keep all the things we like about Obamacare.....

Westrom says we can still get health care with pre-existing conditions. Yet, gives no indication of how we pay for it without the compensating infrastructure of a complete system like Obamacare. If he thinks premiums are going up now, wait till insurance companies have to add that mandate without any compensating mechanism.

Same thing goes for his "assurance" we can keep our children on our policy through age 26. This will cost insurance companies - how will Westrom pay for it?

Then he uses the old Republican ploy about buying insurance across state lines to get cheaper insurance. How? Every state has different standards. Different treatment of health care issues. Different mandates. Different standards of care. If you just open up state borders without setting minimum standards, you have a false cost basis. And the cost savings is lost.

And then he talks about "portability" as if a magic wand can be raised and employees can simply walk away and take their health care with them. Under the employer based system we have now, the employer gets a group rate based on covering the people who work for them. It is a benefit the employer pays for... that is specific for the people who work for them. If an employee leaves and works somewhere else, does he get to keep his policy and have his "former" employer still pay a share? Of course not. True portability would only work under single payer healthcare. But I am pretty sure Westrom is not for that.

And even Westrom balked when Hauser asked him if the popular Obamacare benefit of eliminating lifetime caps would be included in the benefits he would keep.

He stumbled through an answer that indicated that would have to be talked about - which means he can't support it because even he knows that the insurance rates would skyrocket if, again, there was no compensating infrastructure to support it.

Westrom is just another clueless Republican health care denier. No real plan - just talking points that include the popular items. But never giving a method of paying for any of it.

It is kind of ironic that Westrom is making health care an issue in the 7th District because Collin Peterson was one of a few Democrats who voted against Obamacare.

So, although I am not a great fan of the incumbent Peterson, it is absolute foolishness to think that Torrey Westrom is any kind of improvement.
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If You Pay Attention, Steve Simon Is Clear Choice For SOS

Category: DFL 2014
Posted: 10/19/14 01:06

by Dave Mindeman

I realize the Secretary of State race hasn't gotten a lot of attention. The constitutional offices don't get a lot of hype. But the debate on Almanac Friday night pretty much confirmed my first impressions of this race... which means that Steve Simon is the only logical choice for our next SOS.

Frankly, with the possible exception of Bob Helland, the Independence Party candidate, the rest of the field is a bit scary. Almanac invited 4 candidates including the IP and Libertarian candidates. The Libertarian candidate, Bob Odden, was...well....odd. Seemed to have more of the demeanor of a bar bouncer than the head of a Constitutional office. And as for the GOP's Dan Severeson? Well, he quotes Minnesota Majority and as far as I'm concerned that's a disqualifier all by itself.

One telling moment in the debate is when Dan Severson was touting some imaginary figure showing only 15% of the active military voted absentee... to which host Cathy Wurzer quoted the election stats from the SOS office - showing an actual figure of over 70%. Severson had little response other than "I'll have to check on that."

As I stated earlier, Bob Helland from the IP was not quite so scary. He made some good points and even realized that the SOS office is not just about voting.

However, even though it is hard to make the public aware in this down ballot race, Steve Simon stands head and shoulders above everyone as the most qualified candidate for Secretary of State.

I know a recent poll showed that Simon and Severson were pretty much tied at this juncture, but that just confirms the fact that the electorate hasn't paid any attention to this race.

Simon has worked on election law in the legislature for several years. And he has improved what is already a very good election system in Minnesota. He has upgraded the absentee ballot system to make it very easy to "vote from home" as he put it. I think we can rest assured that Steve Simon will continue to work on improving access to the voting booth and will look to continue Minnesota's tops in the nation turnouts.

Severson, on the other hand, is still supporting the failed photo ID regulation that was defeated 2 years ago. He continues to try and convince us that voter fraud is a "problem" in Minnesota. He makes up some foolish voting issue regarding military personnel that has little factual basis. Severson, who seems locked into Minnesota Majority's rampant fraud theory, has latched onto the GOP methodology of making the office of Secretary of State a partisan weapon for voter suppression.

Let's make sure we do not go there. Steve Simon is the clear choice.
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