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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Preferred One Leaves MNSure - For Business Reasons

Category: Health Care
Posted: 09/16/14 14:36, Edited: 09/16/14 14:40

by Dave Mindeman

The news today about Preferred One dropping out of MNSure is going to be a "new" GOP talking point.

But consider this statement when MNSure rates were first outlined during the first sign-up session....

For years, PreferredOne has been a small player in Minnesota for individuals who purchase coverage without help from an employer. The company had just 2 percent of the $688 million market in 2012 -- a sliver that was dwarfed by the 65 percent share held by Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. So, to grab a bigger membership base, PreferredOne figured it needed to offer competitive prices, Merz said.

Preferred One has always been a player in the employer based health insurance market. But seeing an opening via Obamacare they went big on the MNSure site.

But then Obama ended up delaying the small company sign-up process and although they were very competitive in the MNSure individual market, Preferred One was in uncharted territory for them. I would guess they wanted a prominent spot in MNSure so that they could be the obvious choice for small employer getting coverage via the exchange.

I would also venture that Preferred One lost money on the individual plans that became the newest part of their portfolio. And since employer based health care has not changed, is not a part of Obamacare, and is the vast majority of Preferred One's business, the decision to drop out of MNSure and a market they have little experience with, makes sense.

Until the small business mandate is incorporated in Obamacare, Preferred One will watch and wait.

I know McFadden and Johnson are going to run with this (and not give us all the facts).....but as the Chamber always says....business is business. And this was a business decision.
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Bill Maher Creates An Opportunity In The 2nd District

Category: John Kline
Posted: 09/16/14 09:02, Edited: 09/16/14 12:51

by Dave Mindeman


Talking Points Memo picked up on Maher's FlipADistrict selection of John Kline as his target. A slightly different take from an alternative media source but with a similar national media conclusion. They went to the usual sources to comment....

Election forecaster Larry Sabato predicts a "likely Republican" victory. The Cook Political Report doesn't register Kline's district in its list of 70 House seats that are competitive or could become competitive -- he's considered safe. And the Rothenberg Political Report says Kline has a solid hold on the seat.

Yeah. That's the mantra. At least for this article they let Mike Obermueller weigh in on the matter....

"They are all wrong," Obermueller told TPM in an interview on Monday. "We are going to be competitive and this is a seat we can absolutely flip. Mr. Kline has had an extremely low profile. People don't know his voting record. He looks like a statesman -- he looks the part, but people don't know his voting record." Obermueller is pleased that his sleepy race has received a boost from Maher. "The effect we'll see from Bill Maher is to put a spotlight on that voting record. And that's why Mr. Kline is worried," the Democrat said.

I appreciate the "conventional" prognosticators points on this. On the surface, this looks like another ho-hum reelection of an incumbent.

But with Bill Maher, this race has taken an unconventional turn. Let me explain what I see here....

What is the Democratic strategy for 2014? Answer: Turnout. And what demographic is the toughest to turn out? Answer: Young people.

So here's the strategy....and I am hoping the DCCC and the State DFL will be taking some notes. You plant Bill Maher right smack dab in the middle of Northfield. You rally all those college students...St. Olaf, Augsburg, and Carleton...with a pep talk from Bill Maher. If anybody can motivate them to get out the vote and get active, it would be Bill Maher.

Heck, have him hit the U of M as well. While it is not the 2nd District, it can't hurt to let everybody know about the Kline record. Because he is the worst of the worst when it comes to the biggest threat to a student's future, debt from student loans.

Maher is not only going to help the 2nd District with that turnout, he will help all the campaigns in the state, because the younger demographic needs to have a reason to vote. And Bill Maher can explain it to them in language that , although colorful, is something they understand and get.

And if Bill Maher is controversial, so be it. That might actually rouse a sleepy main stream media to pay attention. Outside of some obligatory mentions, the local media has been ignoring the 2nd District. Well, it is hard to ignore Bill Maher.

And, chances are, Kline will have to respond. And Kline tends to over respond. He gets angry when questioned and pops off some pretty ludicrous statements when nervous. Kline generally likes to stay quiet and give the obligatory talking points. But, get him off script.....well, it usually isn't pretty.

Bill Maher can tick some people off. But, on the other side of the coin, he knows how to get to the crux of the matter. And he already gets it on Kline's culpability on student debt. Maher mentioned the For Profit aspect of putting students into a debt ridden life. Students, and the parents who have to contribute monetarily, all get it. And its not just the scams from For Profit colleges -- tuition is steamrolling higher and student loans rise accordingly.

What is worse is that student loan interest rates have risen under John Kline's tenure as chair of the Education and Workforce Committee. When I was in school, consumer interest rates were hitting 10 to 12%, but because of government intervention, I was able to get grants and 3% loans to get me through a 5 year program. I paid off my debt in less than 10 years. Now we have consumer loans at 3 or 4%, but student loans are higher. Stafford loans moved to 4.66% this year, while unsubsidized loans are over 6% and Direct Plus is over 7%.

Couple that with shady recruitment by For Profits, who talk low income (and veterans) into borrowing to go to their schools....and then at the end they find out these schools don't have the accreditation to give them a useful diploma. What they do is criminal....and guess which Congressman they give their lobbyist money to? That's right, John Kline.

Now here's another part of that strategy....and the DCCC has to play their part on this one. Over in the 7th District there has been talk of Torrey Westrom giving Collin Peterson some trouble. There isn't any polling data to support that assertion, but the media still portrays it that way. Why? Because the Republican Congressional PAC is spending money there. Where the money is spent creates a contest. So why isn't the DCCC doing the same in the 2nd? Maher's involvement is a change. It is an unpredictable enhancement to this race - which is also a chance for the DCCC to at least explore and support that development.

And then there is the state DFL. I realize that they need to be more concerned with state wide races, but if you want to Get Out The Vote, Maher is creating an opportunity for you that needs to be promoted.

These are things that should all be happening now. If nothing else, Democrats, wouldn't it be nice to put the GOP on the defensive in the 2nd and take a little pressure off the outside money juggernaut in the 8th?

How about everybody sit back and think about that.

Then let's do something!
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Shame On The NFL - Shame On The Whole System

Category: Sports
Posted: 09/14/14 18:42

by Dave Mindeman

I am fed up with the rhetorical bullsh*t from the NFL. Here's what you do.

Ray Rice - (Ravens) Suspended -pending a conviction, banned from football for life.
Ray McDonald (49ers) - Suspended - pending conviction, banned for life.
Adrian Peterson (Vikings) - suspended for a year. Application for reinstatement pending court results. If convicted, banned for life.
Roger Goodell - Fired.
Greg Hardy (Panthers) - has been convicted, so he is banned from football for life.
Jerry Richardson (owner of Panthers) - returns award for domestic assault awareness. Fine of $1 million given to a domestic abuse charity. Suspended for one year.
Steve Bisciotti (owner of Ravens) - Same penalty except he didn't get an award.

New rule. Any NFL player convicted of a felony, banned for life.
New rule. Any owner unwilling to immediately address a personnel problem, suspended for 1 year.

The NFL seems to believe that they are above the law. Above the court of public opinion. That rules do not apply to them.

And they have the gall to dictate the rules of financial agreements that apply to them as exemplified by the Vikings stadium.

This is ridiculous. The NFL is the 1% of the 1% who are wealthy enough to play fantasy football with real players in a real league. And they also believe their fans are mere $$ signs that maintain this obscenity.

NFL football has players who are abused with violent play. They have owners who defraud their fans, their governments, and their cities. They have players who are protected when committing violent crimes. And they have a large portion of a fan base that forgives it all for the sake of keeping their spectator sport going.

It is all too ridiculous for words. And if people are going to be OK with how this is playing out, then shame on them. Shame on the fans, shame on the participants, and shame on the sponsors.
comments (1) permalink


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