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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Strib Endorses Mills : Praises His (Ahem) Health Care Expertise

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 10/27/14 22:58

by Dave Mindeman

The Star Tribune has endorsed Stewart Mills III for the 8th District.

That is absolutely incredible! and ridiculous!

And their reasoning is even more stunning. Listen to this;

Having begun his Fleet Farm career scrubbing toilets and emptying trash, Mills today is vice president in charge of the chain's health care plan, covering 6,000 employees and their dependents. He has developed a hands-on understanding of the intricacies of the health care marketplace, coming to see wellness and prevention as keys to controlling costs.

Mills says his objections to the Affordable Care Act are central to inspiring his run for Congress. His candidacy follows what he calls the "Hunting Camp Rule": If you complain about something, you get the job of fixing it. His condemnation of the ACA is too sweeping, given that he backs the law's key goals. But the market-based approaches he prefers -- including more price transparency and tort reform -- could contribute to needed improvements in the law.

Stewart Mills III understands the "intricacies" of health care? Really? That is one of the main reasons you decided to recommend Mills for Congress?

I can't begin to say how completely wrong that scenario is.

I have worked in health care for 40 years. I have dealt with and studied the ACA ever since it was passed in 2009. I have watched its development; I have done comparisons; I have examined its flaws.

A person who operates health care for one company, his own company, does not develop expertise in health care. THEY DO NOT.

The Star Tribune has been rolling out a lot of endorsements. I even endured the endorsement of John Kline by their editorial board. I half way expected that one - because they tend to stick with incumbants and they have a history with Kline.

But Mills?

Mills has worked with group insurance at Mills Fleet Farm. He deals in employer based health care. Obamacare doesn't change that - it left that aspect alone (unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, but employer benefit health care did not change). Mills' job in health care was to shop carriers for the best group rate deal and then implement it.

How does that make him an expert in health care? Especially Obamacare?

Mills does not have a clue as to how to deal with the individual market place. It is a completely different animal - and it is why we had high rates of uninsured Americans in the first place. Mills went by the group rules set up by the carrier he chose. He had a large enough group that they could sometimes override some of the insurance rules, provided the company was willing to pay the override cost.

But people outside of a group rate protection is something Mills has no idea how to approach. He pretends that his company group health experience is all he needs. That assumption is, itself, dangerous and naive.

The Duluth Tribune was fooled by this facade as well....

"I am for health care reform ... that actually brings down costs and increases access, and I'm also for the goals of the Affordable Care Act, which is making sure that people don't have to worry about pre-existing conditions, lifetime maximums, or, if they have a catastrophic health condition, that they don't have to worry about where the care is coming from," Mills said in a candidate forum this week in Duluth sponsored by the News Tribune and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.

Anybody can say that they want to make sure they take care of people with pre-existing conditions, care about lifetime maximums, and catastrophic care. You can say that and it will sound compassionate.

The problem is how to incorporate it into a health care system with adequate cost containment. Has anyone asked Mills how he would pay for his assumptions? Yes, he probably can take care of a few individual health care problems within the confines of a employer group policy with 6,000 individuals to spread out the cost. But an individual in an exchange? How does he handle that.

I guarantee you, he does not know. HE DOES NOT KNOW.

If the Star Tribune couldn't dig down deep enough to pull back the layers of rhetoric that hide that simple fact, then they shouldn't be endorsing anyone.

comments (2) permalink

Fearmongering In America - Making Us Wimps?

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 10/24/14 19:17, Edited: 10/25/14 00:00

by Dave Mindeman

Republicans must think that US citizens are all wimps.

I mean they seem to think that we are scared of everything. Ebola, ISIS, the IRS, Taxes, our shadow....

I find it a little insulting that the Republicans in the US House of Representatives think that I cannot understand scientific explanations of how the Ebola virus works and the protocols that can prevent it. They tell me that I should want to shutdown air travel....and not trust the CDC to give me proper information.

I should be scared - and that means to vote against those Democrats.

On the one hand, the GOP puts out this message that the US is the most powerful nation on earth. We are not afraid of anybody and can take on anything. USA!

Then, on a dime,they turn it around and expect us to cower in fear at the very mention of ebola. To hide behind the closet door when ISIS is discussed. To live in constant terror because Democrats are in the government.

When they give us these dire warnings, they seem to forget that it is the Republican House GOP Majority that controls the purse strings of government and has for the past few years. They have blocked funding allocations for critical research. They voted for the sequester and the defense cuts.

They have an Intelligence Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee and a Defense Appropiations Committee which are supposed to analyze our defense posture and then translate that into proper funding mechanisms.

They are as much at fault for any ISIS problems or ebola shortcomings as any of the Democrats or the President.

Yet, they sound the alarms at every opportunity. Run away, America. You are not safe. Elect Republicans before it is too late. Don't listen to anyone behind the curtain. Run, run, run.

It is a shameful exhibition, but unfortunately fearmongering works in the way we do elections. You can say anything in a 30 second sound bite. You can make scary pictures in a lit piece and mail it anywhere.

Yes, America is the greatest country on earth - except when it is not.
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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.
comments (1) permalink
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