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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Honest Truth: Senate Democrats Are Getting This Wrong - For Now

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 01/12/17 19:58, Edited: 01/12/17 20:06

by Dave Mindeman

Alright, I am going to explain something. This is about facts not partisan foolishness.

You are going to hear from Democrats (in fund raising letters) that the GOP Senate in Washington took away the ACA coverage on pre-existing conditions.

Actually, this is not true.

An amendment failed that would guarantee pre-existing coverage but it failed because of procedure....not any wish to actually kill this coverage.

The process that the Congressional Senate is using to repeal the ACA has to meet certain criteria to avoid the use of filibuster to block it. If that amendment had passed, then the bill would be changed enough to warrant a filibuster attack.

The bill (this is a procedural bill, not actual repeal) passed with 51 votes (Rand Paul voted against because, so far, it does not include replacement language).

So fundraising on this vote is a little dishonest. Yeah, stuff like this goes on all the time, and Democrats will get attacked in the future because they may need the same tactic.

But I want readers of this blog to know what is true.

I have decided that this will be the true purpose of this blog...that to the best of my ability, the writing here is going to give you the facts as I know them. Sometimes my understanding may be wrong, but it will not be without effort of finding the reality of a situation. And if I find what is wrong, I will correct it.

I know I have a liberal slant. I freely admit to that and won't change that. But one thing I hate most is hypocrisy. I call Republicans out on it a lot, because they do it a lot. Democrats do as well and when it is the wrong thing, I will call that out as well and give a fair representation.

The process for repeal of the ACA is going to be an ongoing process and you need to know the realities of it, not the spin.

Personally, I believe that a lot of people are going to be hurt by this repeal. And most of them will be the rural voters who were so sure that Trump was the answer to all their problems.

Trust me on this one....he is not.

The Congressional Senate will soon move to the next phase and their is no actual guarantee that pre-existing condition protection will be included, but it is not dead yet. Trump has indicated he still wants that, but the irony of that is, that any replacement plan with these popular ACA protections but without the payment provisions will NOT give more access - will NOT guarantee you get to keep the same coverage - and will absolutely NOT be costing less for anyone....absolutely.

So feel free to contribute to the Democrats...that is still a necessary thing because they are at a clear disadvantage in this fight - but don't do it because of scary language that is not true....just yet.

I will give it to you straight on this blog and on my Twitter account. I'd appreciate your readership and your following.

We have a lot of very serious work to do.
comments (7) permalink

Kurt Daudt Is Just Bad At His Job

Category: Kurt Daudt
Posted: 01/12/17 03:40, Edited: 01/12/17 03:47

by Dave Mindeman

Kurt Daudt needs to be held accountable. Really, how does he get away with this stuff?

A politician pulling the kind of stunts this guy does while Speaker of the House are really shameful.

Wasn't it nearly 3 months ago that Daudt got all haughty and puffed up and chastised the Democrats for the high premiums in the individual market? And then said something needs to be done about it "immediately"?

In fact, here are the Speaker's words on September 30, 2016:

"What is the Governor waiting for?" Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said of Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat. "Minnesotans need more affordable health care options, and they need them before the end of this year."

They need them before the end of this year. That sounds like a timetable.

Well, Dayton responded. By October 21st, he outlined the problem in more specific detail than Daudt....

For the 95 percent of Minnesotans who are covered through the Medicaid expansion, MinnesotaCare, or their employer, the law is working. It's working for the 3 percent, who qualify for the federal tax credits through MNsure. But the law isn't working well for the 2 percent of Minnesotans in the individual market, who don't receive any financial assistance to pay for their coverage.

But then Gov. Dayton did something that Daudt did not. He offered action:

During the past couple of weeks, some legislative leaders have said a special session is critical. It is now time to walk the talk and agree upon a solution to provide much-needed relief. I urge the four Caucus leaders to decide quickly how they want their members to work with our administration to devise a plan of action for these Minnesotans who are not eligible for federal tax credits. That plan should be agreed upon before November 1st, so that the Minnesotans needing our help can know what it will be, before the Open Enrollment Period begins.

Then...one week later, the Governor came up with a specific plan to meet his own Nov. 1st deadline.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday proposed issuing rebates to an estimated 123,000 Minnesotans facing steep health insurance premium hikes but who make too much to qualify for federal tax credits. Dayton said his primary objective is a fast solution that provides "immediate financial assistance to people" and costs no more than $313 million.

Meanwhile...during this time, Daudt did nothing, offered nothing and only then began to talk with Sen. Bakk about the issue.

Time passes. On November 1st, enrollment begins. Daudt is still talking...

"I think there is a common realization, that folks in the Legislature understand that we're going to need to help some folks. This is really a crisis for the Minnesotans that are going through it," Daudt said.

Yes, it is a common realization. Dayton's proposal still on table.

Then the exchange runs into robocall problems and the people on the individual market must begin making choices.

Dayton's offer still there for special session. Daudt complains about MNSure, but no movement on agreements.

We move to the election. The attack ads on the Democratic responsibility for the health care mess are mailed in mass. Daudt continues his criticism, but still offers no solution.

The Republicans make gains in the House and take the Senate.

Daudt has an explanation...

Skyrocketing health care costs for individual buyers and problems with the MNsure insurance marketplace were huge concerns for Minnesota voters who delivered big wins for the GOP, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt said.

Yes, they were huge concerns, but they could have been addressed. Should have been addressed. Still could be addressed. But Daudt is too busy claiming victory to be bothered with it at the moment.

Another month passes.

December 7th...special session talk continues, but now tax bill and bonding bill are on the table.

Even though there's bipartisan agreement that all three of these things should be done, Democrats and Republicans have not yet agreed on the specifics -- and haven't been able to in on-again, off-again negotiations since May.

The parties said they were close. A time line emerges.

The real, final deadline to reach an agreement for a special session this year could be next Wednesday, Dec. 14. That would give staff time to prepare bill language by Friday so lawmakers and the public could review it that weekend. Under this timeline, lawmakers would return Dec. 20 to pass the three bills.

But no action. Dayton said he was willing to extend the deadline...again. And Dayton, obviously frustrated communicates with Daudt - who is now in the Virgin Islands for a conference...

"I have not spoken with you for almost two weeks, since you have been in Hawaii and the Virgin Islands," Dayton said in the letter, which accused Daudt of shifting his demands of a proposed Dec. 20 special session. In a news conference, he said Daudt and Republicans are not keeping their word.

Again, more delays and the "emergency" still exists.

More time passes....

Legislative session begins. More promises of action on individual premiums.

Dayton puts out a familiar plan:

Dayton, who rolled out his $313 million plan on the first day of session

But wait...there is stirring amongst the Republicans....

On Thursday, House and Senate Republicans rolled out their $300 million proposal to provide premium relief in 2017 and promised to act quickly. Their plan would include a three-month, 25 percent premium reduction for everyone on the individual market who does not qualify for subsidies -- an estimated 123,000 Minnesotans. After three months, only individuals who make less than $95,040 annually or a family of four making less than $194,400 would qualify for relief. The money to pay for the proposal would come out of the state's rainy-day fund.

Finally, a Republican proposal.

But wait a minute.....the Republican plan has a kink in it....

Budget wonk, Myron Frans, outlines the issue....

The Republican plan in question calls on the Minnesota Management and Budget office, which Frans runs, to administer nearly $300 million in relief checks to more than 120,000 Minnesotans on state's individual health-care marketplace -- people who saw their insurance premiums skyrocket in 2017 but don't qualify for subsidies. Under the Republican plan, after several months Frans' office would also have to determine if someone met specified income thresholds to continue to qualify for relief. That will require a whole new system, Frans said, one that will take at least six months and $20 million to set up. "This is going to cost a lot of money, and it's going to take a lot of time," Frans said. "If we're going to go down that road, then it's going to make it very difficult to get this implemented in 2017."

So, the people involved in the emergency of high individual market premiums may have to wait till 2018 before getting any relief. That is a helluva response to an "emergency".

Dayton continues to offer his 25% rebate across the board...which costs roughly the same amount as the GOP plan, but is simple enough to implement quickly and efficiently.

So...there is the timeline for that health care emergency, where Daudt, at the beginning, asked the question,

"What is the Governor waiting for? Minnesotans need more affordable health care options, and they need them before the end of this year."

A relevant question at the time. But when the Governor responded and responded and responded, the more pertinent question became:

"What is Kurt Daudt waiting for?"

I think we know the answer.....Kurt Daudt is just bad at his job.
comments (0) permalink

A Long Four Years

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 01/12/17 00:19, Edited: 01/12/17 01:37

by Dave Mindeman

It is getting kind of embarrassing to watch the news these days. Today Donald Trump had a news conference. At least, I think it was a news conference.

It had an unusual line-up. First, his spokesperson comes out and reams out the press for negative story telling. Then Mike Pence takes over and proceeds to fawn all over the great humanitarian Trump. Then Trump comes out and points to press people who ask questions - which he rarely actually answers and then bellows at the ones he thinks are treating him unfairly.

And it would seem that everything remotely critical of Donald Trump is labeled "unfair" or "sad" or "untrue" or "witchhunt" or "dishonest.... which is about the only stable of descriptions that he seems to understand.

But getting back to the news conference....Trump had a brief interlude when he brought in a Philadelphia lawyer to explain how he will avoid the conflicts of interest problems that arise from his business holdings. Showing off about 400 pounds of files on a table, she claims that every possible problem was accounted for....except for one thing....his family will still operate the business. The very thing that the Office of Government Ethics said was the first absolute requirement to meet ethics criteria....divestiture.

So the long drawn out explanation and piles of paper were essentially meaningless. As well as the lawyer's Constitutional explanation of how Trump is NOT in violation of the emoluments clause (also wrong). None of it matters because the essential premise is that the Trump business is still run by his family.

Then he went back to badgering the press again, instead of answering questions; denying everything, admitting to nothing, and blaming everybody else. He even threatened a journalist who tried to respond to an accusation Trump made about his network (CNN).

And while all of this was going on, the confirmation hearing of Rex Tillerson was going on in Washington - and many probably missed his defense of business in climate change and his answers to questions about Vladimir Putin (whom he considers a "friend";).

And speaking of Putin. Of course, Trump denied all of the crazy allegations that got leaked from the addendum intelligence report. Crazy stuff that has not been verified by anybody....but Trump managed to mix it all together with the legitimate concerns about how Russia interfered in the 2016 elections and the unusual Trump defense of all things Putin in his statements.

The craziest thing about the wild conjecture that was circulating around this report is, as we have gotten to know Trump over the last couple of years, every thing in that report is totally believable.....yeah, Trump is capable of that....yeah, I can see that happening.

It would come as no surprise to anybody that all of it could be true.

It has all become seriously embarrassing. Other countries are laughing at us. We have a totally fact challenged man about to become President of the United States.

It is going to be a very long four years.....sigh.
comments (1) permalink

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