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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

What's The GOAAAAALLLLLL?

Category: Vikings Stadium
Posted: 03/25/15 19:57

by Dave Mindeman

Minnesota is going to have an MLS Soccer franchise. That's great. But look out people, we are about to get hit with another public subsidy stadium.

Major League Soccer has committed to Minnesota, awarding an expansion franchise to start playing in 2018 with the expectation an outdoor stadium will be built before then.

What is particularly galling about this one is that the franchise owner is Bill McGuire, the former CEO of United Health. Here is an interesting tidbit about Mr. McGuire....

William McGuire, who served as UnitedHealth's CEO from 1991 to 2006, collected $286 million when he retired.

Ironically, the suggested cost of a new soccer stadium would be between $100 and $200 million. So would it be possible for Bill McGuire to finance and own his own stadium? Why, yes, I think he very well could.

Will he actually do that?

Ahhh, I would say that the public trough will attempt to be tapped.

The political climate for stadium financing is pretty well dried up...but we have heard that before. And we have Target Field, the Vikings stadium, and even the St. Paul Saints getting aid from Minnesota citizens.

The precedent is too tempting to not make the attempt. And why put your own money into stadium building when you can use your big bucks to lobby the legislature into doing it for you?

I'm not much of a soccer fan, but it is a growing sport. Watch this space.

comments (2) permalink

MNSure Critic And Non-Supporter, Rep. Mack Says She Will Fix It?

Category: Health Care
Posted: 03/22/15 01:14

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Tara Mack voted against the creation of a health care exchange. She worked to delay its implementation. When the state hurried its way into making an exchange, she offered no suggestions or help. When MNSure had its rollout problems, she was quick to criticize but offered no solutions. When the exchange successfully enrolled 183,000 Minnesotans, she focused on the software issues and glitches. When studies showed that Minnesota's uninsured rate declined by 40%, she said nothing.

But now we are supposed to believe that Rep. Tary Mack is going to work on fixing the system and "make it better".

Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley....sponsors House File 5, which would direct the commerce commissioner to ask the federal government for a 1332 waiver under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The waiver would allow qualified health plans to be sold outside of MNsure -- but eligible consumers would still receive federal subsidies. We should expand choice without making insurance purchasing as "frustrating, awkward and inconvenient" as MNsure has made it, Mack said.

In other words, Mack is working to give the power back to the insurance companies.

If, as Mack suggests, we take enrollment outside of MNSure, then insurers would have to have access to eligibility data to allow for tax subsidies. That would require them to have IRS data. Some have suggested that MNSure could still determine eligibility, but that outside insurers could then offer the plans with the subsidies. If we just let insurers get access to our private financial data, how can our data be protected? And if we use MNSure to determine that eligibility, then why would we even need the fix? The determination of eligiblity has been the main problem for MNSure from the beginning. Once the eligibility has been verified, MNSure becomes a simple shopping exchange.

Frankly, we have already been working to fix the initial problems that plagued MNSure - an IT nightmare. During the second enrollment, many of those problems went away. We still have things to fix, but what Rep. Mack is proposing is to make another major change in how this system operates....and what guarantee do we have that more software and data privacy issues don't occur?

Having our own state exchange has increased importance as the Supreme Court makes its determination on the ACA language involving those exchanges. We need to protect the Minnesotans that now have health insurance that they couldn't get before the ACA.

Rep. Mack is not going to give that protection. And her past record on MNSure has never been involved with support for the exchange - it has always been an effort to destroy it.

How can we trust someone like that to offer new legislation on this issue?
comments (1) permalink

Myth Of America Part II - Voting Rights

Category: Voting
Posted: 03/22/15 00:41, Edited: 03/22/15 00:53

by Dave Mindeman

Oregon has moved the bar on voting...

Under the new law, every adult citizen in Oregon who has interacted with the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division since 2013 but hasn't registered to vote will receive a ballot in the mail at least 20 days before the next statewide election.

Since everyone over 18 years of age is an eligible voter, this seems like a pretty natural move toward more voter participation.

But nearly every news story that talked about this move by Oregon brought up Minnesota.....

Minnesota nearly implemented automatic voter registration in 2009 but the plan was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who said "registering to vote should be a voluntary, intentional act."

I tried to understand Pawlenty's reasoning at the time. What he seems to be saying is that voting isn't an automatic right. And registering to vote needs to have a process that requires citizen voters to fill out forms and go through a process for an act that should be guaranteed to every citizen.

Since we already go through this "voluntary" act of making ourselves known to the state as a citizen via our driver's license or state ID, why can't we automatically register a person to vote at the same time?

It is the same information....the same verification....the same process. Yet, in 2009, Governor Pawlenty wanted us to repeat that process in order to vote.

We spend far too much time figuring out ways to complicate voting registration. Far too much time. But we all know it is not about making voting a "voluntary, intentional act". No, it is about suppressing certain voters. Keeping voters away from the polls when possible. And making voting a selective process.

The Supreme Court struck down an important part of the Voting Rights Act which guaranteed that states could be held accountable if they tried to use voting laws to alter the electorate. They said that such accountability was no longer needed. Yet, as soon as the ruling came down, southern states began adding new layers of restriction to their citizens' right to vote.

We purport to be the example of democracy to the world. Yet, we seem to want voting manipulation as much as any non-democracy uses to propagandize its support from the people.

This country manipulates the make-up of voting districts. It puts obstacles in the path of registration. It allows states to have different regulations for voting rights.

One person - one vote. What happened to that concept?
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