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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The ACA Is Still Standing-But The Fox (Price) Is In The Henhouse

Category: Health Care
Posted: 03/25/17 02:50, Edited: 03/25/17 02:50

by Dave Mindeman

Well, Obamacare is still standing. It weathered a frontal assault and managed to withstand it.

But there is still a big problem.

The ACA still needs some fixing and we currently have a party in charge that will fix nothing.

HHS is now run by Tom Price. As the Commissioner, he has extraordinary powers to make the law work or make it fail. I think you know what his preference will be.

The Republicans will probably continue to attack the ACA on the margins and they can do more to cut the basic funding for the law's operations. They already have done some of that.

Obamacare can still operate...but it will probably depend on how the insurance companies approach this. It is possible that without any new law on the horizon, they will work with the law as it exists and begin again. Or they could just keep pulling out of the exchanges and try to sabotage it with death by a thousand cuts.

The Republicans and Trump have no incentive to upgrade the law. And that will hurt people. Their insurance will get more complicated and there will probably be less variety of options.

The one thing that should help keep people on the roles is that Medicaid expansion will continue. Red states that did not do the expansion may be more tempted to join it, because otherwise they will be dipping into their own coffers....or possibly get blowback from so many people uninsured.

It may be up to the states to do the fixing. As long as the basic ACA is in place, states could tweak their own health care to make up for the problems and stabilize the marketplace.

Watch California and New York. They will probably be the first to undertake needed fixes and may serve as models for the rest of the country.

We are in a very unusual situation. Be vigilant.
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On Health Care: Republicans Just Never Seem To Get It

Category: Health Care
Posted: 03/23/17 22:13

by Dave Mindeman

Well, the Republicans failed in the first attempt to pass this horrendous health care bill. They will be coming back, and maybe they can squeeze it through, but it has a tough road ahead.

Republicans seem to miss the point when it comes to health care. The whole point. They seem to assume that people are upset about the mandate requiring the purchase of a health care policy. And yes, there are a few.

But here is the issue. People need to have health care. Most people realize it and those that don't will, at some point, end up needing it regardless, because nobody can live forever.

One of the things that the ACA addressed was the costly emergency room health care that hospitals had to endure. They can't and won't turn people away who do not have insurance. Those bills were killing hospitals...especially the rural ones. They had huge write offs and they were forced to spread that cost around to everyone else. And those costs have been affecting premiums for everybody.

Republicans want to go back to that.

And then there is the mandatory coverages. Yeah, it seems absurd that maternity leave would be required in a policy for older women...or men for that matter. But for those families that want kids, should they be burdened by higher specialty premiums? Should women always have higher costs than men? Should older people have 5 times more costs than everyone else? Should people with disabilities and special needs children be left to the "marketplace"?

Republicans support doing those things.

And then there is mental health and addiction recovery programs. The Republicans think that is a luxury item. That people who need those things need to pay the additional coverage costs. Republicans act as though society as a whole does not have a stake in people that are victimized getting the help they need. Mentally ill people are involved in gun violence. They can adversely affect law enforcement needs. Opioid addiction has crime costs. People die from overdose. And the loss of work time is hard to even measure.

Republicans don't care about that.

Health care is needed. It is an unwritten right. It is gross negligence for the government to not deal with this on a societal basis - like every other western democracy in the free world does. The Republican bill keeps a few of the ACA mechanics - but not nearly enough of them. Millions will opt out of coverage or just plain lose it; especially the poor and most sick. We will be ignoring the very reason we worked so hard to get the ACA in place. Health care is a very basic economic and personal function.

And Republicans work against these very basic needs.
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MN Legislative GOP Trying To Kill Off Transit

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 03/22/17 09:12, Edited: 03/22/17 09:12

by Dave Mindeman

The Minnesota Legislative Republicans seem to be all in on the Metro - Greater MN divide. They have fired a mortar shell into the heart of our transit system by sending a letter to the current administration to withdraw the Federal funds pending for Southwest Light Rail.

Daudt's fear of trains raises its ugly head again.

Funny, this doesn't have anything to do with the State budget. It doesn't save any state money - we are already invested. All this does is kill a project that has taken years to set up.

I guess it doesn't matter that former Republican minority leader David Hann lost his job over opposition to SWLRT. It doesn't matter that the metro area is essentially paying for the project. It doesn't matter that at some point in the future we are going to have revisit all of this (if the project is cancelled).

None of that seems to matter because Minnesota Republicans hate trains.

This action, if successful, will hurt the Minnesota economy. Not only will it kill the construction jobs that go along with a project of this magnitude, but it will kill the development that has been lining up along the corridor. It will stop the ability of workers from other areas to help fill needed jobs for business. It will continue the traffic congestion that road construction cannot keep up with.

Minnesota Republicans are lousy stewards of state progress - and it is time we face the fact that they need to be thrown out of state government.

If Daudt thinks he can run for governor on pissing off the central population center of the state, then he is more than welcome to try.

I, for one, am tired of these constant costly battles and delays. SWLRT has been a costly project, but if it dies now and we waste our investments, only to have to come back and try again at twice the cost, then it is on the Minnesota GOP.

Daudt is bad at his job. He would be worse at being governor.
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