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This article highlights how out-of-touch Gov. Dayton is. It says that Gov. Dayton thinks the 2011 government shutdown was the Republicans’ fault. It wasn’t. He said that Republicans were extremists in 2011. According to the AP article, “Though Dayton conceded Minnesota voters are divided and said he was willing to compromise when he’s outnumbered for a second time, he put the blame for 2011’s discord squarely on Republicans. ‘They were the extremists. They were unwilling to compromise,’ he said.”

During the 2012 campaign, DFL candidates insisted that they were moderates. Minnesotans voted to give the DFL legislative majorities in the House and Senate. In 2014, voters thoroughly rejected the DFL, restoring Republicans to the majority in the House. In 2016, the first time DFL senators were up for re-election since giving the DFL total control of St. Paul, voters dumped the DFL as the majority party in the Minnesota State Senate.

According to the article, “Dayton had urged voters to send him Democratic Legislature, the path of least resistance to his goal of expanding early education and metropolitan transit options for his final two years in office. Dayton said Wednesday that he knew a Democratic takeover of the House was a reach but that he expected to hold the Senate.” Think of 2016 as a total repudiation of Gov. Dayton’s agenda.
This video strongly suggests that Gov. Dayton will attempt to mischaracterize Republicans as extremists:

This portion of Gov. Dayton’s press availability lays the foundation for that belief:

GOV. DAYTON: Minnesotans are very narrowly divided. That was very clear in the vote for president, very clear in the vote for some of the contested congressional races. It was very clear in the vote for the Minnesota State Legislature. We are a closely divided electorate in Minnesota and across the nation. The question now for all of us who have the responsibility to lead is if we’re going to push those divides farther or are we going to do what we can to rise above them and to bring people together.

While this election’s results were tight mathematically, voters sent a clear message to politicians.

Nationally, President-Elect Trump tapped into what I’m calling rural frustration. Big city elitists essentially ignored people who worked in mines or built infrastructure. In Minnesota, the DFL minorities in the House and Senate are mostly from urban areas.

The DFL lost seats on the Range. Tom Saxhaug and Tom Anzelc, 2 longtime DFL stalwarts, got thumped. Anzelc lost by almost 2,500 votes. Saxhaug lost by 545 votes. The DFL lost seats in rural Minnesota in 2014. It’s indisputable that the DFL doesn’t understand rural Minnesota. It’s like the DFL thinks of Willmar, Alexandria, Brainerd and Marshall as foreign planets.

The summarization is simple. While Minnesotans are tightly divided numerically, they’re essentially divided geographically. As long as the Metrocrats dominate the DFL, that won’t change anytime soon.

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The MNsure/individual market debate just changed dramatically. This article highlights what LFR has been talking about for more than a month.

The article starts by saying “Medica has hit its enrollment cap for those buying through the MNsure state-run exchange, meaning only one option for people in dozens of Greater Minnesota counties who want to switch to a new health plan.”

Prior to this, we’d heard about the caps that the Dayton administration approved. A month ago, the caps were an abstract concept. Now they’re reality. People in “Greater Minnesota” are hitting that brick wall. Then they’re being pushed into Blue Plus, the most expensive insurance option available in Minnesota. Blue Plus has the highest premiums, the biggest deductibles and the narrowest networks.

Think of Blue Plus as a catastrophic policy with Cadillac Plan premiums. Put differently, think of them as downright expensive.

This changes the MNsure discussion dramatically. This information means this isn’t just a discussion about rebates. It’s transforming the debate into other parts of the ACA. Things like insurance options, doctor accessibility and network size now are legitimate topics up for debate. Then there’s this:

Incoming Senate Majority Leader, Republican Paul Gazelka is pushing for “substantial reform” to deal with skyrocketing health insurance premiums. Gazelka says, “If we have Obamacare, then we have to repair this. I mean, that’s the obvious point. If we don’t, then we can go to something different.”

Here’s why Gov. Dayton likely will oppose GOP reform proposals:

Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act — even though he did say before the election that is has become unaffordable.

With Hillary defeated, President Obama leaving office soon and the Democratic Party demoralized and disorganized, it isn’t a stretch to think that Democrats won’t be able to put up much of an argument. Still, Gov. Dayton still has the ability to veto legislation. It’s possible that he vetoes reform legislation because admitting that Republicans were right about the ACA/MNsure isn’t part of his nature.

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Ever since Republicans took control of Minnesota’s state House of Representatives, Gov. Dayton has thrown a hissy fit against Republicans pretty much every week. Based on this Strib article, it’s apparent that Gov. Dayton’s hissy fits will continue through the end of his administration.

In a sharply-worded letter to Speaker Daudt, Gov. Dayton said “I have not received a reply to this proposal from you or your Caucus. I left a voicemail message with you yesterday morning and have yet to receive a reply. (Your) press remarks … contained yet another round of the same pre-election attacks on MNsure, the Affordable Care Act, and me. That partisan political rhetoric is counter-productive.”

Apparently, Gov. Dayton is either getting absent-minded in his old age or he’s incredibly dishonest or a little of both. I wrote this post to highlight Greg Davids’ letter to the various committee chairs and ranking members as well as to House and Senate leadership of both parties. I wrote that post on Oct. 27. While it didn’t have legislative language, it was detailed enough to lay out Republicans’ priorities in fixing Minnesota’s health care system.

One part of Chairman Davids’ proposal deals with out-of-network expenses:

Create a tax credit to reduce out of-network-costs that arise from seeking care from a long-time primary care physician. Minnesotans were promised that if they liked their doctor they could keep their doctor, but too many are losing their long-time doctors due to narrow networks. Continuity of care needs to be addressed to ensure that we do not lose sight of the importance of actual health care when we look at the problems with health insurance coverage.

Another part of Chairman Davids’ plan deals with expanding choices:

Allow Minnesotans to purchase non-qualified health plans (QHPs), and seek a federal waiver to waive tax penalties for those who purchase a non-QHP insurance plan. If the federal government will not approve the waiver, Minnesota should provide a rebate to cover the cost of the non-QHP penalty.

I suspect that it won’t take long for President-elect Trump to announce that he’s open to granting waivers to the ACA. I further expect it won’t take long for individual states to start taking advantage of those waivers. Chairman Davids’ ideas fit into President-Elect Trump’s plan of getting rid of the ACA.

Gov. Dayton needs to stop throwing these hissy fits. They’re unsightly, undignified and intellectually dishonest. It isn’t that Republicans haven’t made proposals to fix the crisis that Gov. Dayton and the DFL created. It’s that Gov. Dayton doesn’t like the Republicans’ proposal. Gov. Dayton doesn’t like the Republicans’ proposal because it’s forcing the DFL to admit that they got their biggest policy initiative of the last half-century wrong.’

Gov. Dayton, it’s time to stop throwing your hissy fits. It’s time to put your big boy pants on and admit that the DFL got health care reform wrong. If you don’t do that ASAP, expect a Republican to get elected as governor in 2018.

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This op-ed by Peter Nelson, the “President and Senior Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment and a member of the Minnesota Health Care Financing Task Force”, highlights the fact that MNsure and the ACA are a disaster.

For instance, Nelson highlights the fact that residents “from Red Wing to Lake City to Wabasha to Winona already struggle with living in the highest cost region in the state. Yet for a family of four shopping through MNsure, the monthly premium cost of a benchmark plan (the second-lowest cost silver plan) will rise in 2017 by another 66 percent, from $1,136 to $1,883.” Unfortunately for Minnesotans, the bad news doesn’t stop there.

Another bit of bad news is that the “number of companies offering health plans in the area will drop from three to two, and the number of health plan choices will reduce by half from 30 to 15. But those health plan choices won’t be available to everyone. New enrollments in Medica health plans across the state are capped at 7,000 people to help limit financial risk and manage network capacity.” After that, the only options left are sold by Blue Plus:

When Medica’s caps are hit, choices for southeastern Minnesota residents will be limited to just three health plans offered by Blue Plus, and these choices will be costly. The monthly premium for a family of four will be $2,434 for the only remaining silver plan, an astounding 114 percent higher than the 2016 benchmark.

Higher premiums, tiny networks, fewer health insurance providers and sky-high deductibles identify this as a legitimate health care crisis.

When Sen. Gazelka was announced as Senate Majority Leader-Elect, he stated firmly that health care reform during the regular session had to include real reforms. He let it be known that rebates were part of the Senate Republicans’ plan but only part of the plan:

“Relief without reform will not get us where we need to go.”

Clearly, this crisis isn’t just about health insurance premiums. If the DFL isn’t prepared to do more than a temporary fix, they’ll earn the wrath of Minnesota voters. Republican Greg Davids has already put forward a plan that attempts to fix all of these problems. If the DFL or the Twin Cities media (pardon the repetition) question Republicans’ ability to govern, Republicans should throw their proposals in the DFL’s faces.

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The good news for Minnesotans is that the MNsure website is working again. The bad news for Minnesotans is that MNsure prices are still completely unaffordable. Despite Rep. Thissen’s statements that people’s premiums aren’t going up if they get the tax credits, the truth is that Minnesotans are faced with a multi-faceted health care crisis that’s largely caused by MNsure and the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Dayton insists that MNsure enrollments are “back on track” after Tuesday morning’s difficulties, saying “Minnesotans should be reassured they’re going to get good customer service” before also saying “187,000 people have visited the website and 13,000 have enrolled in health insurance plans.”

Friday night on Almanac, Paul Thissen and Speaker Daudt were interviewed in the opening segment, with MNsure/ACA being the chief topic. Thissen’s schtick was mostly that the DFL had proposed rebates weeks ago that would eliminate the sticker shock of skyrocketing health insurance premiums. There were 2 clear inferences. The first inference was that Republicans hadn’t proposed anything to fix things. The other inference was that skyrocketing premiums were the only thing that needed fixing.

Thankfully, Speaker Daudt fixed that insinuation by Rep. Thissen, saying that people in rural Minnesota didn’t have easy access to health care. That’s something that the DFL rebates wouldn’t fix. Another thing that Speaker Daudt highlighted was the fact that the rebate wouldn’t lower families’ deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses.

The right way to think of MNsure/ACA health insurance policies is that they’re selling policies that combine Cadillac plan premiums and catastrophic policy deductibles. Back during the good old days, it was possible to buy a policy that had a high deductible but with a cheap premium. It was also possible to buy a plan that covered everything and gave people a wide network to choose from. The trade-off was a high monthly premium.

Thanks to the DFL’s stupidity, we now have to choose between policies with high premiums and high deductibles or policies with extremely high premiums and lower deductibles or expensive co-pays. What we have now is the worst of both worlds.

Joe Atkins, one of MNsure’s staunchest supporters, apparently hasn’t figured it out that the ACA is too expensive:

The good news is that the ACA has been exposed as a failure. The bad news is that we still haven’t defeated Hillary so we can replace the ACA with something that works.

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Three weeks ago, Speaker Kurt Daudt highlighted a farming family whose health insurance premiums were literally doubling. That’s when Minnesota got introduced to David and Ann Buck. This WCCO-TV article quotes Ann Buck as saying “This is a crisis. There will be people on Jan. 1 who will not be insured.” She’s right. Unfortunately, that’s only part of Minnesota’s MNsure crisis.

Later in the article, WCCO reports that “The Bucks are among those who got cancellation notices from Blue Cross effective Dec. 31. They currently pay $1,600 a month in premiums with a $13,000 deductible for their family of four. They have been told next year their monthly premiums will jump to $3,300 a month with the same deductible. That would mean $40,000 in premiums, something the Bucks say they cannot afford.”

The good news for the Buck family is that Republicans and Democrats agree there needs to be a short-term fix for the Bucks and other families trapped in the same crisis. The bad news for the Buck family is that they never should’ve been put into this position. Now the Bucks are providing the DFL with a little well-deserved retribution:

Here’s the transcript of the Bucks’ ad:

DAVID BUCK: We run a family business on a tight budget.
ANN BUCK: The Democrats promised lower health care costs and that did not happen. Health care costs are soaring and families just can’t afford the premiums.
DAVID: Our rates are going up to $3,300 a month, $40,000 a year — $40,000 a year.
ANN: It’s insanity.
DAVID: Democrats got us into this mess with MNsure.
ANN: If we don’t vote against Democrats, we’re just going to get more of the same.

The truth is that the DFL created this crisis because they put a higher priority on achieving an ideological victory than they put on doing the right thing.

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I wrote this post to highlight what the SEIU and Gov. Dayton did to rig a unionization vote. Saying that what they did is unethical is understatement. What they did was unethical on steroids.

First, it’s worth highlighting the fact that Gov. Dayton’s Department of Human Services and Gov. Dayton’s Bureau of Mediation Services didn’t provide the Minnesota Personal Care Attendants association, aka the MNPCA, with an up-to-date list of PCAs in the state. (A judge just ruled that Gov. Dayton’s Department of Human Services has to give the MNPCA an accurate list of the PCAs in Minnesota.)

Next, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota worked with the Dayton administration to make sure that only a tiny percentage of PCAs voted in the unionization vote. Approximately 3,500 voted out of 27,000 PCAs. These PCAs didn’t vote because they were apathetic to the issue. They didn’t vote because they didn’t know how to get a ballot to vote in the election.

At this point, it’s worth asking why the Dayton administration, the DFL and the SEIU didn’t want everyone to vote. I’m betting that they only wanted the people that they’d identified as friendlies voting. This video offers an inside look:

This is how PCAs feel:

Minnesota PCAs don’t need a union. The SEIU is taking a cut of a public subsidy — and then taking credit for benefits the legislature provides anyway. That’s just wrong!

This FAQ offers some insight into Gov. Dayton’s and SEIU’s tactics:

Did the SEIU win a representation election?

In 2014, under this new law, the SEIU won an election that allowed them to claim exclusive representation of all 27,000 PCAs across the state. However, of those 27,000, only 3,500 PCAs voted in favor of unionization. That’s just 13%. Many PCAs were not aware of the vote or its ramifications and feel they were unwittingly trapped in a union they do not want.

That’s what corruption looks like. Gov. Dayton and the SEIU know that they can’t win that election if it’s fought on a level playing field. Don’t let DFL legislators off the hook, either. They passed the bill on the final weekend of the 2013 session.

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According to this article, a judge has ordered SEIU HealthCare Minnesota “to turn over a list of names of personal care attendants to a union decertification campaign.” Further, the article states “the Dayton administration admitted they have not been complying with a 2013 law that requires an accurate list of PCAs in the SEIU bargaining unit to be kept. This is a law which Governor Mark Dayton personally pushed for.”

Meanwhile, the MNPCA is “working to force a new election in an attempt to decertify the SEIU which won a low turnout victory in 2014 with only 13 percent of caregivers voting for unionization. MNPCA sued three state agencies in order to get up to date contact information in order to notify caregivers about the campaign, and won.”

The vast majority of PCAs “are women caring for a family member.” They “were unionized as ‘state employees’ in 2014” in what was essentially a rigged election. (See the previous paragraph on that.) It’s impossible to win a fight if you don’t have a list of people eligible to vote. Thankfully, Judge “Robert A. Awsumb ordered the Department of Human Services to turn over to MNPCA a list of all the names of all home care workers who have been active in the program in the last six months.”

This is additional proof that Gov. Dayton and the DFL are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the PEUs. Gov. Dayton apparently didn’t hesitate in tipping the scales in SEIU’s favor. That begs this important question: if SEIU is providing that good of a service, why did they need Gov. Dayton to tip the scales in their favor? The dirty little secret (and it’s definitely dirty) is that SEIU’s forced unionization play is the union’s latest attempt to take money away from people caring for loved ones.

That’s the opposite of compassion. That’s taking money away from families that need government assistance to care for their relatives. That’s the definition of legalized theft. The SEIU, combined with Gov. Dayton, are the poster children of weaponized government. This paragraph shouts corruption:

If a new contract agreement for PCAs is reached by the SEIU before being decertified, MNPCA would have to wait at least two years before trying to hold such an election again. The SEIU and the State of Minnesota announced they were working on a new contract after MNPCA started their election campaign. The current contract does not expire until June 30, 2017 and the new negotiations are well in advance of typical timeframes for such deals.

There’s nothing honest or trustworthy about this:

The Dayton administration had promised to inform the committee of any PCA contract negotiations, but only did so after the committee’s co-chair, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-21B) complained about the lack of notice.

Thankfully, we still have a judiciary that isn’t as corrupt as the Dayton administration or SEIU.

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The real reason behind Gov. Dayton’s guest column doesn’t get mentioned until deep in his article. That’s when Gov. Dayton starts pining for ‘the good old days’ of all-DFL rule. That’s when Gov. Dayton and the DFL destroyed Minnesota’s health care system. That’s when Gov. Dayton and the DFL raised taxes on small businesses and farmers one year, then repealed those taxes the next year after they’d gotten an earful from constituents.

In his article, Gov. Dayton wrote “A divided House and Senate could not agree on a bonding bill, which left unfunded very important improvements in state colleges and universities, parks and trails, and water quality all over Minnesota. There was also no agreement on the urgently needed transportation investments to repair and improve our state’s highways, roads, bridges and public transit.”

Actually, DFL senators killed the bonding bill because they insisted on funding for the Southwest Light Rail project. I wrote frequently that the SWLRT project doesn’t have a change of getting built for at least 5 more years. In other words, the DFL killed massive investments in Minnesota’s highways because they didn’t get the funding for a project they refused to fund in their $1,800,000,000 bonding bill. The problem wasn’t the House GOP. It was the Senate DFL.

If Minnesotans want things done right, throw out the DFL majority in the Senate and watch positive things happen. Watch them tackle the MNsure/ACA crisis. They won’t just apply a temporary Band-Aid to the problem. They’ll actually fix the things that are broken within the ACA.

Giving Gov. Dayton a blank check in the legislature gave us major tax increases, the MNsure disaster, the $90,000,000 Senate Office Building for fat-cat DFL politicians and obscene pay raises for incompetent commissioners. If that isn’t enough, the all-DFL legislature passed legislation that would allow for the organizing of in-home child care providers in the AFSCME union over the objections of in-home child care providers.

That organizing vote showed that the DFL didn’t listen to the people. That organizing vote showed that they listened to their special interest masters. In-home child care providers rejected unionization by a vote of 1,014-392.

I’ve laid out the proof that the DFL doesn’t listen to the people. I’ve laid out proof that they do what their special interest puppetmasters tell them to do. Going back to DFL rule would bring more disasters to Minnesotans.

No thanks!

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This article drives the point home that the DFL-created health insurance crisis isn’t just a story on the news. It’s about families in our city, in our neck of the woods. In this case, Rose and John Lang, farmers from Richmond are getting hurt by the ACA. According to the article, Rose said “I have been worried sick about this for weeks.” This happens to be rising health care prices.

Notice that I didn’t say health insurance premium increases. According to the article, “Rose said in 2012 their premium was $1,425 every three months. It increased to $5,000 every three months with a $2,000 deductible in 2016 for a total of $22,000 a year. The cheapest plan they can find now is a $4,000 premium every three months and a $16,000 deductible.”

Gov. Dayton and the DFL are painting the picture that it’s just health insurance premiums that are going up. Gov. Dayton and the DFL are doing whatever they can to con people that things aren’t as bad as they are. Rose Lang’s words should be thrown in the DFL’s face whenever Gov. Dayton or a DFL candidate try pretending that things really aren’t that bad:

The Supposedly Affordable Care Act is so expensive that Rose and John Lang are spending their life savings on health care while they’re still farming. The F in DFL supposedly stands for Farmer. The ACA is ruining farmers’ lives. In fact, when the DFL insists that “only 5% of Minnesotans buy their health insurance through the individual market, a high percentage of those families buying through the individual market are farmers.

The DFL is trying to salvage as many legislative seats as possible this election in their attempt to implement a radical ‘fix’ to the problem. They’re hoping to hold the few House and Senate seats they still hold in rural Minnesota. I think farmers like John and Rose Lang won’t be fooled by the DFL. That’s why I think rural DFL legislators will have a difficult night next Tuesday.

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