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Erin Murphy was one of the first declared DFL candidates. Based on this article, it appears as though she’s all but officially dead in the water.

First, it’s worth noting that “Murphy criticizes capitalist models of health care, saying that a for-profit model of any part of the health care system is bad for Americans.” It isn’t surprising to read that “Murphy also supports Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) plan for Medicare for all across the United States.” From a DFL primary convention perspective, this isn’t a foolish strategy. She’s essentially just rolled out the red carpet for Bernie Sanders’ voters. Let’s remember that Sen. Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton by a 61%-38% margin in Minnesota’s caucuses.

This tends to support the belief that DFL voters are further left than a decade ago and significantly further left than during the Perpich era. But I digress.

Later in the article, it quotes her as saying “Let’s start by making MinnesotaCare an option available to everyone. Like Medicare, it’s tested, trusted, and affordable coverage, available everywhere in Minnesota.” The bad news for Murphy is that she’d be history if she made it to a general election. Here’s why:

NPR reported in May 2016 that expanding Medicare coverage to cover everyone in the United States would add $18 trillion to the national debt in just the next ten years. The current national debt is just under $20 trillion.

Murphy’s strategy appears to be to win the endorsement by winning over Sen. Sanders’ supporters. It likely also means she’s going hard left in the general election, too. Here’s what she said on her campaign website:

But for too many that’s not their reality. Too many of our neighbors are feeling forgotten, working harder than ever just to survive. Too many are at risk of falling further behind, and too many are not getting the opportunities they need to make progress.

That sounds like a repeat of Bernie Sanders’ or Elizabeth Warren’s stump speech.

Potentially, this sets up an interesting fight for the DFL endorsement for governor. Tim Walz appears to be running as a Blue Dog Democrat. That’s probably wise because I don’t think he can convince Sanders voters that he’s one of them. Murphy, however, appears to be running as the Bernie Sanders candidate. Here’s the question that we don’t have the answer to: will this split the DFL? Here’s another question: will the Iron Range finally reject a DFL gubernatorial candidate? At this point, that’s a distinct possibility if Rep. Murphy is the DFL’s candidate.

People will insist that I’m being overly dramatic about refugee resettlement. That’s fine. Some members of St. Cloud’s City Council have already suggested that people who’ve asked for information on the economic impact of the State Department’s refugee resettlement program are racists. The St. Cloud Times has accused people who have simply asked for information of being bigots or Islamophobes. While visiting St. Cloud in October, 2015, Gov. Dayton told lifelong residents that they should leave Minnesota if they didn’t accept Somali refugees. Our congressman, Tom Emmer, is disinterested in the subject.

According to this KNSI article, “St. Cloud residents voiced their concerns about refugee resettlement at Monday’s city council meeting. A group of five people addressed the council asking for refugee population statistics and economic data, saying they haven’t been able to get any answers on the issue.” After they spoke, Councilman George Hontos made a “motion for a study session on refugee resettlement.” Hontos’ motion failed on a 4-3 vote.

The cowardly councilmembers who voted against even talking about the issue were Steve Laraway, Carol Lewis, John Libert and Jeff Goerger. City Council President Lewis attempted to defend her vote by saying that it’s “a federal issue, it may have some state implications, but we really have nothing we can say.”

Lewis is right in the sense that the refugee resettlement program is a federal program run through the U.S. State Department. It’s also a cowardly answer in the sense that refugees use local resources like schools, hospitals and other resources. Those things are definitely within the City Council’s purview.

It’s important to note that this motion wasn’t on a resolution condemning the program. It was a motion to spend a study session studying the impact the program has on St. Cloud’s transportation system, schools and hospitals. Goerger, Laraway, Lewis and Libert were too cowardly to even agree to that.

When those councilmembers are up for re-election, I hope St. Cloud residents remember that these councilmembers voted against transparency and accountability. In my opinion, those politicians are a disgrace. Here’s the video of Gov. Dayton telling lifelong Minnesota residents they should leave:

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In 2018, expect the DFL to experience a difficult election season. For years, the DFL, led by Gov. Dayton, has patted themselves on the back profusely for how strong the economy was and how their policies were working, etc. Those days, like Gov. Dayton’s time in office, are slipping away. Last week, I cited this article as showing the DFL’s economic policies aren’t that great.

The article starts by saying “New data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that Minnesota was one of only seven states in the country to experience a shrink in its gross domestic product (GDP).” In the next paragraph, it states “In the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, Minnesota’s GDP shrank 0.3 percent. This is the seventh worst mark in the United States, ahead of only Montana, Kansas, Hawaii, Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska.” While Minnesota’s GDP shrinks, consumer confidence in President Trump’s policies keeps growing.

As of July 25, 2017, consumer confidence was recorded at 121.1. It was projected to be a still-healthy 116.5.

What’s worse for the DFL’s election chances is that “North Dakota’s GDP increased by 1.6 percent, while Wisconsin’s increased by 2.1 percent in the past quarter. This was the fifth best mark of any state.” Gov. Dayton has frequently talked about how much better Minnesota’s economy was doing than North Dakota’s or Wisconsin’s.

By the time that the conventions end next spring, it’s a distinct possibility that the DFL’s talking point of having a stronger economy than North Dakota or Wisconsin won’t be true anymore. Likewise, it’s possible that Republicans will be able to say that Minnesota’s economy is underperforming compared to the national economy. Consumer confidence was at 98.6 as of Oct. 25, 2016. Since then, consumer confidence has been 15-25 points higher.

Considering the DFL’s difficulties in rural Minnesota, it isn’t a stretch to think that the DFL and their special interest allies will sink their money into holding the governor’s mansion. If the US economy is doing well and Minnesota’s economy is faltering, it isn’t a stretch to think that the DFL might have their worst election cycle in a generation.

Tim Walz’s seat in Congress is likely to flip into the GOP column. It’s difficult to picture the DFL defeating Paulsen, Emmer or Lewis in their races. If Minnesota is underperforming the US economy, it’ll be virtually impossible to pin that on Republicans. That makes things plenty difficult for the DFL gubernatorial candidate, especially if their candidate is Tim Walz.

Let’s be blunt about something right upfront. Tim Walz is probably the DFL’s best candidate in a lackluster field of candidates. He isn’t charismatic. He won’t drive turnout. In 2010, Democrats were thirsty because President Obama had just led them to their holy grail of universal health care and because they’d been shut out of the governor’s mansion since 1991.

By contrast, Minnesota Republicans are hungry this cycle. They want unified Republican state government. They don’t just want to hold their majority in the Minnesota House. (The Minnesota Senate isn’t up for re-election.) They’d love to take over control of the congressional delegation, too.

Barry Casselman’s article said that “Trump’s strong showing came in the rural and blue-collar exurban areas, which responded to his antiestablishment message, and in the northeastern Range area, usually a DFL stronghold, where the vote was as much anti-Clinton as it was pro-Trump.” That’s actually wrong. President Trump’s message was a perfect fit for the Iron Range, just like it was in other parts of blue collar America. That President Trump won the Iron Range by 12 points isn’t surprising. Further, the Range was littered with Trump lawn signs all summer long.

Simply put, you can’t explain that away as simply rejecting Hillary.

First-term GOP congressman Jason Lewis in the 2nd District could be vulnerable next year. He represents a swing exurban district.

Jason Lewis will win re-election. Angie Craig has announced that she wants a rematch. The NRCC put together this devastating ad late in the campaign:

After that ran morning, noon and night, Angie Craig became synonymous with ‘toxic waste’. To be fair, the DCCC will dump tons of money into this race. The good news for the good guys is that she’s a bad fit for the district. She’s a crony capitalist who fought for special exemptions for her company while pushing unpopular policies on Minnesota.

Divided state government has produced some epic clashes, the most recent being Governor Dayton’s line-item veto of the entire budget passed by the legislature for the next two years. Republicans have sued the governor over what they assert was his unconstitutional use of the veto. The state supreme court will hear arguments later this month. Voters next year will try to resolve this stalemate.

That’s perplexing. The Minnesota Supreme Court will settle this soon. It won’t turn out well for Gov. Dayton or the DFL.

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Alpha News is reporting that Blue Cross Blue Shield “announced that it would be pulling its small business health insurance plans from the MNsure exchange due to ‘low enrollment and high administrative costs.'”

In the opening paragraph of her article, Preya Samsundar wrote “Small businesses will no longer be able to purchase health care plans from the Minnesota Exchange.” At this point, Minnesota small businesses don’t have any options left because MNsure is a messed up system. The first question that needs answering is why administrative costs are so high. Another question that needs answering is why small businesses aren’t enrolling through enrollment. Is enrollment low because prices aren’t affordable? Is enrollment low because too few healthy people signed up? Is it a combination of both factors?

What’s interesting is that Democrats insist that single-payer health insurance is the way to go. If administrative costs are already high, why would we think they’ll shrink single-payer? That’s foolish thinking.

Also included in Ms. Samsundar’s article is this information:

As reported by Alpha News, rates for health insurance will solely depend on whether the federal government approves the reinsurance plan passed by Minnesota legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton. With the reinsurance plan in place, individuals seeking health insurance could see increases up to 11 percent or a decrease in rates up to 41 percent. If the Fed chooses to deny approval for the reinsurance program, rates could increase anywhere from three percent to 32 percent.

It will be interesting to see whether the reinsurance program works. If it works, it might push Democrats into supporting health care reform that isn’t single-payer.

This is interesting:

For Minnesota small businesses, they will now have to seek health coverage through the insurance companies.

In other words, BCBS will still health insurance to small businesses. They’ll just avoid selling through MNsure. That sounds like a pretty pathetic system.

In this article, John Fund proposes how to get the Democrats’ attention and support to fix the ACA. Fund first explained that “Back in 2009, when ObamaCare was being debated, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was able to insert a provision requiring all members of Congress and their staffs to get insurance through the ObamaCare health exchanges. ‘The more that Congress experiences the laws it passes, the better,’ said Grassley.”

Fund then wrote that “During a congressional recess in August 2013, President Obama personally ordered the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises federal employment issues, to interpret the law so as to retain the generous congressional benefits. This overturned the intent of the provision Grassley added to the law.”

This is doubly underhanded. First, “the taxpayer-funded federal health insurance subsidies dispensed to members of Congress and their personal staffs, which now range from $6,000 to $12,000 a year and cover about 70 percent of the cost of insurance premiums,” were restored through President Obama’s executive action. Second, Congress didn’t need to vote to exempt themselves from the laws they passed for others. This video explains things nicely:

One of the first reforms promised in Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America was to “require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress.” There’s no other way to say this. President Obama, through his executive action, proved that he wanted Congress and his staff to be exempt from the punishment they’ve inflicted on others.

This paragraph is interesting:

Vitter believed his approach would be the best way to get the attention of Congress. “Many Americans are seeing their health coverage dropped by employers, and they are then forced into the exchanges,” he told me in 2013. “If Congress is forced into them on the same terms, it will be more likely to fix Obamacare’s problems for others.”

In this post, I asked this series of questions:

If Obamacare policies are so good, why is the individual mandate required to get people to buy health insurance policies? Is it because the product stinks? Is it because the product’s price is too expensive?

Publicly, President Obama and the DC Democrats have told us that the ACA is the best thing since sliced bread. Privately, they exempted themselves from the pain caused by the ACA. At the 1996 Republican National Convention, J. C. Watts famously said that “Character is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

President Obama and Congress have flunked that test pretty badly. Here’s hoping that President Trump gives these hypocrites a triple dose of accountability during their August recess. They deserve it.

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Don Davis’ article about the Thursday night vote on health care contains quotes from Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar. Specifically, both senators talk about the importance of bipartisanship.

For instance, Sen. Franken said “Tonight’s vote will go down in the history books. But we can’t rest easy; the fight is far from over. My message to Republicans is come back to the table … and work with us in a bipartisan way to improve health care for all Americans. If we want to do this the right way, it’s the only path forward.”

Sen. Franken, the Senate just debated health care. Lots of amendments were offered. Why didn’t you offer amendments to improve the bill? It isn’t like you didn’t have the opportunity. Was it because you didn’t want to defend your proposals on the Senate floor? It’s one thing to insist on bipartisanship. It’s another to not offer any substantive amendments that would fix the ACA.

By comparison, Sen. Klobuchar is quoted as saying “Time to work across the aisle…” Again, Sen. Klobuchar didn’t offer any substantive amendments. She just spewed happy talk about working across the aisle. That sounds nice but it isn’t a solution. Further, it was the Democrats’ ideas that created this crisis. At least she didn’t celebrate like Sen. Franken:

While Americans suffer from limited options and high prices, Sen. Franken and Sen. Warren celebrated. Left unanswered in all this is a simple question that the MSM intentionally hasn’t asked. When iPads first hit the stores, they flew off the shelves. When Microsoft Office first came out, it flew off the shelves. When FedEx first opened, it didn’t take long for Fred Smith to become a billionaire. Here’s the unasked question that Democrats haven’t answered: if Obamacare policies are so good, why is the individual mandate required to get people to buy health insurance policies? Is it because the product stinks? Is it because the product’s price is too expensive?

Democrats have frequently said that the ACA “isn’t perfect.” (That’s understatement.) They’re pretending that it’s only 1-2 minor tweaks away from being a hot-selling commodity. It isn’t. It’s a total mess. Democrats have said that insurance companies are bailing from the exchanges because Republicans are trying to destabilize them. They’re bailing because they’re losing tens of millions of dollars. Thursday night, I sent this constituent email to Sen. Klobuchar:

Sen. Klobuchar, I wish I could say I was surprised that you voted against each Republican health care reform proposal. Unfortunately, your votes were entirely predictable.

On Facebook, you said “We can still put aside partisanship and instead work together on bipartisan solutions that will help every American. That’s utterly insulting. When Democrats passed the ACA, Democrats displayed nothing but partisanship. In fact, Harry Reid didn’t allow Republican amendments to the bill. At the time, I don’t remember you criticizing Sen. Reid for this blatant act of partisanship. Now that Obamacare is a failure and insurance companies are either pulling out of the exchanges or they’re demanding huge premium increases, we’re being told that bipartisanship is a must.

Why do I think that talk of bipartisanship will disappear the minute Democrats retake the majority? Honestly, I don’t care if there’s bipartisanship if either party gets this reform right. Right now, I’ve seen that the Democrats’ plan has failed pretty much everyone except those with pre-existing conditions.

It’s time you admitted that your ideas failed. Further, it’s time for you to move in the Republicans’ direction to solve this crisis. That means voting for Republican ideas. The ACA has caused dramatic spikes in premiums while barely increasing the number of people insured.

In short, you’ve failed. It’s time for you to vote with Republicans. Period.

In summarization, the Democrats’ plan is failing. That’s because Democrats didn’t listen to the consumer on what the consumers wanted. Instead, Democrats told their constituents what they’d be forced into getting. Predictably, that top-down approach has failed. People want to have options. The ACA hasn’t given people the options that they’ve had prior to the ACA.

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This article is rich in reporting Sen. Franken’s and Sen. Klobuchar’s hypocrisy. It quotes Sen. Klobuchar as saying “We can still stop this bill. We can still put aside partisanship and instead work together on bipartisan solutions that will help every American.”

When the ACA was passed, Sen. Klobuchar didn’t criticize Sen. Reid for his pushing the ACA through with only Democrat votes. In fact, Sen. Klobuchar criticized Republicans for not supporting the ACA. Now that it’s a disaster and insurance companies are either pulling out of the exchanges or demanding gigantic premium increases, Sen. Klobuchar insists that senators work together.

Not to be outdone, Sen. Franken is also insisting on bipartisanship, saying “I strongly urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to back off this plan, because there’s still time to come to the table and work with Democrats on real solutions that improve people’s health care. Let’s have an open, bipartisan process under regular order, where we can work together on fixing the Affordable Care Act and do the things the American people actually sent us here to do: expand coverage, lower costs, and improve care.”

Sen. Franken voted for this disaster, too. The truth is that Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken voted to create this disaster. Now they want Republicans to vote with them on tinkering around the edges of the ACA so that they can blame Republicans. At this point, Republicans should drop ACA reform. Let Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar explain why Minnesotans’ premiums continue going up by thousands of dollars each year.

Republicans should be blamed for not fixing the ACA, though it’s worth noting that it’s virtually impossible to repeal an entitlement. Democrats, however, should be mocked mercilessly for creating this disaster. They inherited a system most people were satisfied with. Democrats were the ones who took a wrecking ball to that system. Thanks to Democrats, Minnesotans’ health insurance premiums have increased by thousands of dollars each year for the past few years.

Sen. Klobuchar, you created this monstrosity that’s hurting Minnesota’s families. Whenever your name is mentioned, here’s hoping you’re forever linked with that disaster.

It’s still shameful that MNsure is still rewarding failure. According to this article, “In early January, enrollment was over 103,000 people, with the enrollment window still open at the time. This is still a far cry from where the program was expected to be however. In 2013, a consultant estimated that more than 400,000 people would be buying private coverage through MNsure by the end of 2016.”

In other words, the DFL overpromised and underachieved. Then they rewarded one of their cronies. According to the article, “MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole will receive a slight pay raise of $835. Her new salary will be $150,816 annually, whereas her previous salary sat at $149,981.” Then the article said that O’Toole “From 2011 to 2012, she served as the state director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office.”

What’s worst is that “O’Toole received the pay raise, and positive reviews, from the MNsure board of directors as part of a 40-minute long closed door meeting.” Nowhere in the article does it say that Paul Thissen and other DFL legislators criticized the closed-door meeting. Last year, Thissen and a handful of other Democrats criticized Republicans for holding closed-door budget negotiations, complaining about a lack of transparency and the people not getting their input.

Let’s return, though, to the part about overpromising and underperforming. Dayton’s administration predicted more than 400,000 “people would be buying private coverage through MNsure by the end of 2016.” At the end of 2016, though, only 103,000 had bought private insurance through MNsure. Gov. Dayton’s administration was off by only the population of Bloomington, Duluth and Rochester. Another way of putting it is that Gov. Dayton’s administration was off by the population of St. Paul.

Minnesota’s senators voted against a proposal that would’ve increased competition on health insurance when they voted against the Cruz Amendment to the Senate health care bill. Only a pair of idiots would’ve voted against the provision, which would’ve let “insurers to sell stripped-down health plans, without maternity care or other benefits required by the Affordable Care Act, if they also sold plans that included such benefits.”

Actually, that isn’t fair; 55 other idiots voted against that provision.

According to this article, “The provision — a version of the Consumer Freedom Option pushed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz — would give insurers more flexibility in the plans they offer in the individual market. It would allow those that sell Obamacare policies to also offer plans that don’t adhere to all of the law’s rules, including those that protect people with pre-existing conditions. In an unusual joint effort, the nation’s two major insurer lobbying groups wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Charles Schumer to say they “strongly oppose” the provision. The amendment was included in a revised version of the plan unveiled on Thursday.”

The amendment would’ve let insurance companies sell policies across state lines, something that insurance company lobbyists passionately oppose. The last thing they want is competition from other companies. Consumers, however, love tons of competition. That’s what drives premiums down.

Both Franken and Klobuchar support the public option, which is essentially single-payer health care. I’d love hearing Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar explain why they support single-payer but oppose private insurers selling insurance policies across state lines. It’s apparent that Democrats think that government will do right by consumers but that insurance companies will shaft consumers.

The question I haven’t heard answered is why they think that. Haven’t Democrats seen corrupt VA bureaucrats cook the books in order to ‘earn’ bonuses? Isn’t that just as corrupt as they accuse insurance companies of being?

Democrats don’t trust insurance companies but they trust government. That’s stupid. I don’t trust either the government or the insurance companies. Why should I? This week, Democrats tried telling the American people that Democrats were on their side. Three days later, they voted against a provision that would’ve helped families by lowering health insurance premiums by increasing competition amongst health insurance companies.

This is something that Republicans should repeat constantly:

The proposed BRCA is a patient-centered, free-market approach that will cut the deficit, lower premiums and increase options. The bill will expand tax-free health savings accounts, give more funding control back to the states, protect pre-existing conditions, and allocate $45 billion to combat the opioid epidemic.

Let the world know that Democrats constantly voted against lower premiums and more options. Let the world know that Democrats voted for less competition, higher premiums and excessive government control. Let the world know that Democrats voted against families, too.

That isn’t standing with families. That’s standing against them. Shame on Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar. They’re shameful frauds.

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According to Potomac Watch columnist Kimberly Strassel’s column, it’s time to strip a handful of GOP senators of their cover for repealing the ACA.

Strassel’s column starts by saying “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at this point has busted pretty much every move in his effort to rally 50 votes for an Obama Care replacement. He’s listened. He’s negotiated. He’s encouraged. He’s cajoled. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Months later, still lacking a majority, the time has come for the Kentucky Republican to execute the final, clarifying move. It’s time for Mr. McConnell to make this all about his self-interested members. Up to now, this exercise has been about trying to improve health care and the federal fisc. The House bill isn’t perfect—no bill ever is—but it amounts to the biggest entitlement reform in history. It repeals crushing taxes. It dramatically cuts spending. And it begins the process of stabilizing the individual health-care market and expanding consumer freedom.”

In other words, it’s put-up-or-shut-up time for “Ohio’s Rob Portman, Nevada’s Dean Heller and West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito”, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Utah’s Mike Lee, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, “South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy.”

Ms. Strassel is right in saying “any Republican who votes against moving forward, ‘motion to proceed, ‘will forever be known as the Republican who saved ObamaCare. The Republican who voted to throw billions more taxpayer dollars at failing entitlement programs and collapsing insurance markets. The Republican who abandoned struggling American families. The Republican who voted against a tax cut and spending reductions. The Republican who made Chuck Schumer’s year.”

It’s time to play hardball. It’s time to tell these senators that they have to either stand for conservative principles or get primaried. It’s time they were told that it isn’t enough to talk a good game. It’s time that they walked the walk, not just talked the talk.

Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to lay out his course of action:

The time for playing pretend is over. The time for making life better for Americans is now. The time for demanding the perfect is over. The time for rejecting major improvements is proof of foolishness.