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Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka should reject Gov. Dayton’s proposal to ‘reform’ health care by going to a single-payer plan. The article starts by saying “A new form of health insurance could be available next year to Minnesotans in the individual health insurance market if a proposal by Gov. Mark Dayton gains approval of state legislators and the federal government.”

While that excites hardline progressives, aka socialists, like John Marty, the vast majority of legislators (including Democrats) will reject single-payer health care. That’s because it’s failed each time it’s been tried. Mssrs. Daudt and Gazelka should investigate the numbers that Gov. Dayton is pushing because they aren’t credible. According to the article, “The new public option would be available to most Minnesotans for an average price of $469 per month, about 12 percent less than the $538 monthly premium for private insurance in 2017, the Dayton administration said. Dayton’s office estimates the plan would save families an average of more than $800 per person annually in 2018 compared to 2017.”

The chances that those numbers are accurate are virtually nonexistent. Let’s understand that these figures come from the party that insisted that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

Further, let’s understand that Gov. Dayton’s goal is to prop up a failed government program by proposing another big government ‘solution’. As I’ve said before, single-payer either fails outright wherever it’s tried or it dramatically reduces health care options.

Then there’s this:

Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, applauded the governor’s public option plan. “Access to quality, affordable health care is the benchmark for success, and this is exactly what Minnesotans will get with this expansion,” he said. “Passage of this plan would restore comprehensive networks in rural Minnesota, and give hope to many Minnesotans who are struggling to keep up with health insurance costs.”

At the bill-signing ceremony for MNsure, Sen. Lourey saidThe people won on this bill.” Considering how much pain MNsure has caused, should we think that Sen. Lourey’s opinion isn’t worthless? I certainly don’t think it’s worth anything. Watch this video before forming an opinion on whether Sen. Lourey is a legitimate health care expert or a political shill:

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To: Speaker Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka
From: Gary Gross, uppity peasant
Subject: Health insurance premium relief

Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka, I’m sure you’re well aware of Gov. Dayton’s insistence that you pass his health insurance premium relief plan, aka passing his wimpy political relief proposal. According to this article, he wants you to pass his wimpy proposal virtually immediately.

As a loyal conservative activist, it pains me to say this. I’m asking you to follow his direction (with an asterisk.) I know that the GOP plan includes premium relief. I know that the GOP legislation isn’t the same as Gov. Dayton’s wimpy proposal. (Thank God for major miracles, right?)

Please pass the GOP legislation ASAP, then send it to his desk. When it’s passed, I’d recommend that you hold a major press conference right at 6:00 pm CT that night so that each of the Twin Cities TV stations is forced to cover the press conference/celebration announcement. Also, circulate this comparison table to the media:

Highlight to Minnesotans that the GOP legislation that you’ve passed in the opening days of the regular session includes extensive premium relief that Gov. Dayton insists get passed. Then highlight for Minnesotans that it also includes plans to improve access to care, competition & choice and make provider networks more family friendly.

Dare Gov. Dayton to veto your legislation. Dare him to explain why he didn’t work with you on these issues that would improve Minnesotans’ lives. Dare him to explain why he vetoed a bill that’s attracted significant bipartisan support.

Highlight to Minnesotans that you’re fighting for them. Highlight to Minnesotans that Gov. Dayton’s fighting for … well, who knows what he’s fighting for these days.

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This morning, KSTP’s Tom Hauser interviewed incoming Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and incoming House Minority Leader Melisa Hortman. One of the first topics they discussed was MNsure. Sen. Gazelka quickly made the point that Minnesota’s system prior to the ACA was significantly superior to the system we’re currently dealing with. To her credit, Rep. Hortman quickly agreed with Sen. Gazelka. Later in the show, former DFL State Party Chair Brian Melendez complimented Sen. Gazelka and Rep. Hortman before stating his optimism that their exchange showed that a deal might be reached this session.

I’d like to think that there’s hope but I’m not optimistic about it. IMO, there are 2 people standing in the way of getting something positive done. One of the people that will likely try jamming things up is Paul Thissen. I’m certain that he’s running for governor. If he runs, I’m confident that he’ll run a scorched earth campaign, criticizing Republicans for not getting anything done.

While I’m confident that Rep. Thissen will play the obstructionist card frequently, I’m certain that Gov. Dayton will continue with his hissy fits. The opening paragraphs of David Montgomery’s article say it all:

There was so little trust left between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt by Friday that the two leaders wouldn’t agree to meet in private as they tried to salvage a package of bills to cut taxes, build roads and water projects and help people struggling with health insurance premiums.

Instead, the two sat down in front of television cameras to try to salvage a deal they’d been fighting over in various forms since May. The cameras didn’t help. After just 17 minutes of accusations and arguments, both Dayton and Daudt walked out of the room, unable to agree.

It’s obviously a very disappointing outcome,” Dayton said afterwards.

Gov. Dayton’s quote is a lie, at least from his perspective. Gov. Dayton hasn’t wanted to work in good faith with Republicans. He stated it matter-of-factly in multiple op-eds by asking voters to give him DFL majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate. (Instead, Minnesotans gave him GOP majorities in the House and Senate.)

Let’s be clear about this. Gov. Dayton is an obstructionist at heart. He’s shut down state government twice. The first time, it’s possible to argue it was the Republicans’ fault. It isn’t a strong argument but it’s an argument. The other time, though, it’s all on Gov. Dayton. Gov. Dayton vetoed bills from a bipartisan budget agreement negotiated by Speaker Daudt and then-Senate Majority Leader Bakk. (It’s worth noting that Rep. Thissen sabotaged both negotiated agreements.) It wouldn’t be surprising if Gov. Dayton shut down the government again this summer. He’s done it before. He apparently thinks that it’s the only way he’s relevant in the budget process. This is Gov. Dayton’s definition of good faith negotiating:

Daudt accused Dayton of breaking the early-December deal earlier this week, when he unveiled proposed language for all three potential special session bills. The proposed infrastructure bill, Daudt said, took away Republican priorities without harming any of Dayton’s own.

It’s time, after 6 long years of the Dayton administration, to call him what he is. Gov. Dayton is Minnesota’s Obstructionist-in-Chief.

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It isn’t a secret that Gov. Dayton will resist attempts to improve Minnesota’s health care system. This article includes a quote from Gov. Dayton that indicates he’s still in denial about Obamacare.

First, it’s worth noting that Gov. Dayton said “The average wait time has been measured in seconds. If they’re going to be attacking MNsure and wanting to abolish it, they should at least do it on the basis of the current situation, not [what happened] three years ago.” Though I’m not the GOP spokesman, I think it’s safe to say that Republicans use the term MNsure to talk about Minnesota’s health care system.

Right now, Minnesota’s health insurance system isn’t affordable. Lot’s of people have health insurance but can’t afford health care because of Minnesota’s high health care premiums and high deductibles. One of the things that was talked about at this press availability was the need to return Minnesota to having a high-risk pool:

Leader-Elect Gazelka highlighted MCHA multiple times during his press availability. Specifically, WCCO’s Pat Kessler asked about whether Republicans could maintain Minnesota’s 96% insured rate. The clear inference was that the Republican plan would kick people off of insurance. Had Kessler done his homework, he’d know that the Republicans’ plan was likely to maintain that 96% insured rate. In 2007, Minnesota’s insured rate was 92.8%. Of those that weren’t insured, half were eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health care. That means that the effective insured rate pre-ACA was 96.5%.

Most importantly, Minnesotans’ health insurance was affordable prior to the Anything But Affordable Care Act. Why would Gov. Dayton and the DFL resist returning to a health insurance system that worked and was affordable? I predict that that’s what Gov. Dayton and the DFL will do. With Dayton’s propensity to shut the government down, I think it’s likely that Gov. Dayton will attempt to shut state government down for the third time in his time in office.

Gov. Dayton’s legacy will be ruined if MNsure is discredited. Gov. Dayton and the DFL were bigtime cheerleaders for the ACA and MNsure. It’s possible that the ACA will get gutted before Trump is sworn in. The individual and employer mandates are guaranteed to be repealed. Shouldn’t Gov. Dayton say yes to keeping the exchange intact but then accepted the major overhaul of Minnesota’s health care system?

Shouldn’t Minnesotans have the option of HSAs and catastrophic policies if that’s the best fit for their situation? Why should government tell families what their policies have to include? Democrats say that “a woman’s right to choose” must always be between her, her doctor and her god because it’s a highly personal decision. Shouldn’t providing health care for their family be a highly personal decision, too?

Families, not bureaucrats, know what’s best for their family. That’s why families, consulting with their doctors, should be given their choice. Gov. Dayton and the DFL insist that they know best. Here’s a hint for Gov. Dayton and the DFL: Any politician that doesn’t remember that the tax bill he negotiated has a sales on farm equipment repairs shouldn’t be trusted with making health insurance decisions for families.

Finally, how can Gov. Dayton and the DFL insist on maintaining a system that’s driving health insurance companies out of the individual market? Apparently, they’re that willing to hurt families rather than admit that they made a colossal mistake.

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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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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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