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Make no mistake about what the DFL stands for on health care. Four of the 6 major DFL gubernatorial candidates prefer a single-payer health care system. Rebecca Otto went so far as to propose her Healthy Minnesota Plan. According to Ms. Otto’s website, her plan will cover “every Minnesotan.” It will protect “the relationship between you and your care provider.” Further, it will eliminate “insurance premiums and deductibles.” Finally, Ms. Otto’s Healthy Minnesota Plan will be funded “fairly – half from redirected public dollars, and half from a package of fair and progressive taxes to be developed with bipartisan input.”

Frankly, that’s spin. There isn’t a snowball’s prayer in hell that Republicans will support that plan. Any talk of bipartisan support is delusional thinking. Either that or it’s an outright lie. Ms. Otto might attract Dave Durenberger or Arne Carlson but that’s about it.

These DFL candidates have tied themselves to a failing system. This article highlights what happens when the government runs health care:

In recent years, a number of areas have introduced delays for such patients, with some told operations will be put back for months, during which time they are expected to try to lose weight or stop smoking. But the new rules, drawn up by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire, say that obese patients “will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight” at all, unless the circumstances are exceptional.

Make no mistake about this. This form of health care is expensive. That’s why Ms. Otto’s plan includes a major tax increase. Further, Otto isn’t just pushing all in with single-payer. She’s all-in with Cap & Trade, too:

Monday, President Trump held a joint press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Click this link to read the transcript.) One of the things President Trump highlighted during the Q and A portion of the presser was how the Democrats’ obstructionism hurt with getting things done for the American people.

Specifically, President Trump said “Just so you understand, the Republican Party is very, very unified. When we get things approved, we have to go through hell because we have no Democrat support, we have nobody. We don’t have a vote from the Democrats. As an example: massive tax cuts — we may not get any Democrat votes. Now, we also may get three of four, but we may get no — for massive tax cuts. We’re the highest-taxed country in the world, and yet we may get no Democrat support. And that’s because they’re obstructionists and they just basically want us to do badly, but that’s not going to happen.”

This can’t get emphasized too much. Think about it this way. Even during the Obama administration, Democrats didn’t pass any reforms that made life better for Americans. Democrats passed the omnibus budget bill that funded the government. Democrats also passed the annual debt ceiling increase. After that, crickets.

That isn’t to say that Republicans shouldn’t get criticized. Susan Collins, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Rand Paul certainly deserve criticism. They’ve lied to their constituents. They’ve let the American people down. McCain and Paul both deserve the highest criticism, though, because I didn’t expect much from Sen. Collins or Sen. Murkowski.

Democrats haven’t offered constructive, substantive policies. They’ve insisted on maintaining the status quo that’s failed the American people the past 8 years. When 2018 comes around, Democrats will have to defend that record of obstruction and advocating for the status quo. Forgive me if I don’t think that’s a winning message.

Jonathan Turley’s op-ed highlights the Democrats’ illogical health care hissy fit. In his op-ed, Turley wrote “There appears no end to the villainy of President Trump. This week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra denounced Trump as nothing short of a saboteur while members have lined up before cameras to denounce his latest executive order as tantamount to murder. His offense? He rescinded an unconstitutional order by President Obama and restored the authority of Congress over the ‘power of the purse.’ The response to what Becerra called “sabotage” has been a call for a rather curious challenge where Democrats want the judicial branch to enjoin the executive branch from recognizing the inherent authority of the legislative branch. It is an institutional act that would have baffled the Framers.”

He continued, writing “I had the honor of serving as lead counsel, with an exceptionally talented team from Capitol Hill, for the U.S. House of Representatives in its challenge to unilateral actions taken by the Obama administration under the Affordable Care Act. In a historic ruling, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled in favor of the House of Representatives and found that President Obama violated the Constitution in committing billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury without the approval of Congress.”

If I had to bet, I’d bet that Gen. Becerra knew he was grandstanding when he did this interview:

In the interview, Becerra said that President Trump either made illegal payments during his first few months in office or he’s breaking the law now. That’s the truest statement he made in the interview. Prior to this decision, President Trump made unlawful payments. Now that that’s ending, Democrats have 2 options. They can either engage in some good-faith negotiations to fix all that’s broken with the ACA or they can get rejected in court, which will certainly happen.

These Democrat attorneys general might win in the 9th Circuit. There’s no doubt that they’ll get stopped in the Supreme Court, though.

Darin Broton is a prominent DFL spinner and lobbyist. The last I heard, he was working for Move Minnesota, working hard to raise a ton of taxes to pay for roads and bridges but also to sneakily pay for light rail projects. Thankfully, that effort failed because Minnesotans utterly rejected increased taxes. But I digress.

During this Sunday morning’s At Issue, Broton did his best to spin President Trump’s eliminating President Obama’s illegal insurance company bailout. Broton said that President Trump now “owns health care.” That’s BS. It’s still called Obamacare. Last year at this time, long before Trump shocked the world in defeating the inevitable Hillary Clinton, Gov. Dayton admitted that “Ultimately … the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people. We’re going to need both state and federal governments to step in and do what they need to do to remedy these problems.”

I can’t wait hearing Mr. Broton explain how that’s President Trump’s fault. Whatever argument he makes, I can pin the blame for health care back on President Obama and the Democrats. For instance, it’s indisputable that the ACA’s required coverages drove up health insurance premiums.

President Trump made insurance more affordable by letting people buy policies that aren’t as loaded with government-required coverages. Broton’s argument essentially is that government bureaucrats and DFL politicians know what’s best for families. Forgive me if I don’t agree.

Later in the segment, Broton characterized the 2017 session as unproductive. He even said that legislators running for governor would have a difficult time explaining away their part in the session. That’s BS. Sandy Layman’s op-ed refutes Broton’s spin:

In the first month of session, we passed the 2017 Health Care Emergency Aid and Access bill.

Then there’s this:

Through many hours of negotiations, the House, Senate, and governor’s office came to an agreement to provide $650 million of tax relief targeted toward middle class Minnesotans.

After that, there’s this:

We passed a bipartisan transportation bill that included a multi-billion investment in roads and bridges without raising taxes.

Jeremy Miller summed things up in this op-ed:

Things got going quickly with some huge accomplishments early in session, and the progress didn’t slow down. Some of the major accomplishments include emergency health care relief, the stabilization of the individual health insurance market, Sunday liquor sales, and the passage of Real ID so Minnesotans can use their driver’s licenses to travel domestically or enter federal buildings and military bases.

What planet does Broton inhabit? I’m not certain it’s the one we’re living on.

Broton isn’t alone in peddling these myths. Other DFL activists/strategists have spread the myth that this was an unproductive session, too. Unfortunately for the DFL, the proof tells a different story.

In her attempt to attract Bernie Sanders voters, State Auditor Rebecca Otto is proposing universal health care, saying “I’m providing a path for us to change what we’re doing as a state.”

According to the article, “Under Otto’s plan, every Minnesota resident would get basic health care coverage and would be able to choose his or her doctor. There would be no premiums or deductibles. Doctors would be paid to improve patients’ overall health rather than just treat ailments.” Later, Otto said “We should be able to reduce our cost of health care by 15 percent overall. That’s a big deal.”

That would be a big deal if it was possible. Unfortunately, it isn’t. In fact, it isn’t even close to possible. It’s a pipe dream. I wrote this post about California’s attempt to implement single-payer. It was scrapped when they found out how expensive it was. According to the article, “California’s single-payer plan would cost their state $400,000,000,000. Per year.” That’s half a trillion dollars per year for California. If the cost per patient was the same in Minnesota, Minnesota’s bill would be approximately $56,000,000,000 per year. That’s roughly the size of Minnesota’s biennial state budget plus an additional 33%.

Clearly, this isn’t a serious policy proposal. It’s meant to be a play for Bernie Sanders’ voters. That’s entirely predictable considering the fact that Tim Walz just picked Peggy Flanagan, a woman with impeccable ‘Bernie credentials’, as his running mate.

Otto did not put a price tag on her plan. She said the cost still needs to be worked out. Otto said the plan will rely on existing state and federal health care money, which would be redirected to a dedicated trust fund. She said a tax increase would also be part of the equation.

Then there’s this fantasy:

Despite strong Republican opposition to tax increases and to an expanded government role in health care, Otto is convinced that she can get bipartisan support for her proposal. She said Republican small business owners have already approached about fixing health care.

I suspect that that’s an outright lie. I suspect that that’s a lie because there isn’t a chance that Otto’s tax increase would be directed at the middle class. Small business owner won’t volunteer for a tax increase to pay for an expensive universal health care plan. Anyone that thinks that’s possible is using expensive illegal narcotics.

The first thought I had after reading this article was “That’s the best you’ve got? Seriously?” Speaking to the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Annual Conference, Gov. Dayton said “The face of our country’s federal government is grotesque. The damage they’re doing to so many people, from destroying families through deportations, encouraging discrimination against transgender youth, to taking affordable health care away from the indigent and the elderly, is already severe and is becoming worse with every 3 a.m. tweet.”

What’s stunning is that Minnesota’s chief law enforcement officer, Gov. Dayton, is advocating for people to break the law to move into this nation. Later, Gov. Dayton accuses President Trump of “taking affordable health care away from the indigent and the elderly” just a year after Gov. Dayton admitted “Ultimately, the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people. We’re going to need both state and federal governments to step in and do what they need to do to remedy these problems.”

Gov. Dayton, it’s impossible to take “affordable health care away from” people if “the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people.”

Asked about the president’s decision to halt federal subsidy payments to health insurance companies, Dayton said it was a “destructive” and “cruel-hearted” action.

There’s a common theme found throughout Gov. Dayton’s statements. According to him, President Obama did the noble thing by unilaterally ordering bailouts of insurance companies without Congress appropriating the money. That’s otherwise known as breaking the law. Further, rather than addressing the ACA’s structural flaws, President Obama attempted to hide that major flaw by employing an unconstitutional action.

Much like Gov. Dayton’s my-way-or-the-highway style of negotiating, President Obama tried insisting that Republicans do things his way. When they didn’t, he started whining rather than negotiating.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

There’s little doubt that Democrats think Obamacare is a winning issue. That’s the message sent from their filing a lawsuit aimed at forcing President Trump into paying the Obama-era subsidies. The Democrat AGs have 2 major problems staring at them. The first deals with a legal issue. The other deals with a political issue.

First, let’s deal with the legal issue. The AGs’ problem is that they’re attempting to compel President Trump to pay out money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress. That isn’t opinion. It’s a finding of fact by a federal district court judge. George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley was the lead counsel for the House of Representatives in their actions against President Obama. According to Prof. Turley, what happened was that the ACA provided for subsidies to insurance companies. The bad news for President Obama was that he needed Congress to appropriate the money for those subsidies. When Congress said no, President Obama ordered the Treasury Department to pay the subsidies.

As Professor Turley explains in this video, the court ruled in Congress’s favor:

According to the article, “The states are asking the court to force the Trump administration to make the next payment to insurers, scheduled for Oct. 18. In a separate court case, the Justice Department notified a federal appeals in court in Washington Friday that payment ‘would not occur.'”

In their filing, the AGs “claim that Trump’s decision to halt the payments constitute an attempt by the president ‘to gut the health and well-being of our country.'” The reality is that President Trump is sending the message that he’ll follow the Constitution’s instructions for appropriating money. The ACA allowed Congress to appropriate money. It didn’t instruct Congress to appropriate money for these subsidies.

As for the political problem, Democrats are hoping that they can portray Republicans as heartless, which is pretty much the Democrats’ entire playbook. Republicans’ reply should immediately be that they’re prepared to work out a long-term fix of the ACA but that it requires Democrats to engage in good-faith negotiations.

That’s the last thing that Democrats want. They’d prefer demagoguing the issue. Unfortunately for them, this issue is too sensitive for that. That isn’t to say that Republicans are in the clear on this. It’s just that this turns into a wash, with both sides getting hit with negatives.

Professor Turley nailed it when he said “We don’t have a lot of options in the democratic process. You can compromise and try to convince people in Congress or you can try to change Congress but you can’t circumvent Congress.” President Obama tried ignoring Congress. The courts shot him down. Now, these Democrat AGs are going to try re-litigating the case that President Obama just lost. Good luck with that.

When it comes to shooting their mouths off without hearing the details, it’s impossible to find anyone more willing to make unsubstantiated accusations based on whatever than Democrats. Let’s be blunt in setting this up. President Trump signed an executive order instructing his HHS secretary and other federal departments to look for ways to give the American people the ability to buy health insurance across state lines, thereby increasing competition. He’s also instructed his HHS secretary to change the definition of Qualified Health Plans, aka QHPs, so that the people don’t have to purchase Cadillac plans.

It’s worth noting that the ACA instructs the HHS secretary to fill in tons of blanks on a wide range of provisions. For instance, “there are more than 2,500 references to the secretary of HHS in the health care law (in most cases she’s simply mentioned as ‘the Secretary’). A further breakdown finds that there are more than 700 instances in which the Secretary is instructed that she ‘shall’ do something, and more than 200 cases in which she “may” take some form of regulatory action if she chooses. On 139 occasions, the law mentions decisions that the ‘Secretary determines.'”

In other words, this Republican administration is instructing “the Secretary” to do what the ACA requires the Secretary to do. Did Democrats applaud President Trump’s decision? Get serious. This Washington Examiner article recorded the Democrats’ reaction:

Congressional Democrats said Thursday that President Trump’s executive order to relax insurance rules is the latest evidence of Republican “sabotage” against Obamacare.

Nancy Pelosi couldn’t wait to weigh in:

“I do know it is a sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and quite frankly a disservice to the American people,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a press conference Tuesday.

Remember that Ms. Pelosi didn’t have any details about President Trump’s EO when she criticized President Trump’s EO. Coming from the woman who infamously said that they had to pass the bill to find out what’s in it, that’s pretty rich.

What’s interesting about the Democrats’ criticism of President Trump’s EO is that it increases competition. President Trump’s EO lets the people pick the health insurance plan they want rather than having to buy the plan that the government instructs you to buy.

That isn’t sabotaging anything. The people might argue that President Trump’s EO enhances their options. It’s funny that Democrats instinctively criticize President Trump each time he’s modified and/or improved an Obama bill. Why can’t the Democrats just once celebrate President Trump’s improvements? This is insulting:

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said in a series of tweets that the order could create more “junk” insurance plans since it could lead to bypassing pre-existing condition protections on the individual market. “It would allow cheap, low-quality plans onto the market that could discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, seniors, women,” he tweeted.

Implicit in Sen. Kaine’s tweet is that the American people need the government’s help in picking health insurance plans. Why don’t Democrats think families, after consulting with their physicians, can make informed decisions?

Earlier this week, I wrote about Paul Gazelka’s Strib op-ed in this post but I missed Speaker Daudt’s op-ed. I’m upset with myself that I did. That’s because Speaker Daudt’s op-ed opened my eyes to something that I hadn’t considered previously.

The first paragraph that caught my attention was when Speaker Daudt wrote “That’s why at the end of the last legislative session, I was so proud of the historically productive results we achieved. A Republican-led House and Senate worked with our Democratic governor and balanced the budget while investing a historic amount into roads and bridges; boosted funding to our schools; passed Real ID enabling Minnesotans to travel; lowered health insurance premiums; and reduced taxes for millions of Minnesotans. Most important, we did it together.”

Lots of people have written about the fact that this was a productive session. There’s no disputing that fact. The paragraph that got my undivided attention was where Speaker Daudt wrote “The Legislature didn’t get everything it wanted, and the governor didn’t get everything he wanted. But in working alongside one another, we brought the session to a productive conclusion. Then, perhaps after hearing complaints from members of his own party, Gov. Mark Dayton expressed second thoughts about the compromises he had negotiated. Despite personally having agreed to each and every one of the bills, including the amount and provisions within the tax relief bill, the governor tried to go back on his word. He line-item-vetoed funding for the Legislature in an attempt to force us back to the negotiating table.”

Think about that a split-second. Neither the governor nor the legislature got everything they wanted but they negotiated a deal that both supposedly could live with. After Gov. Dayton agreed to the size of the tax relief bill and the provisions in it, the legislature passed the bill and sent it to Gov. Dayton. Despite the agreement and the fact that Gov. Dayton got lots of the things he’d prioritized, Gov. Dayton line-item vetoed the funding for the legislature.

Gov. Dayton said he vetoed their funding to coerce the legislature into renegotiating the Tax Bill. I’m betting that isn’t why he vetoed it. I’m betting that his special interest allies told him that they were vehemently opposed to the tax bill for ideological reasons. In 2011, Gov. Dayton reneged on a budget agreement he’d negotiated with then-Speaker Zellers and then-Senate Majority Leader Koch. They reached an agreement. They returned to their caucuses to tell them they had a deal. When they returned to Gov. Dayton’s office, they learned that Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk talked Gov. Dayton into reneging on the deal that he’d agreed to and initialed.

There’s a significant part of Gov. Dayton that simply can’t sign a bill unless he’s certain he’s getting the better end of the agreement. He’s simply too rigid. That’s why 3 of the 4 budget sessions during Gov. Dayton’s time in office required a special session. What’s particularly upsetting is that Gov. Dayton won’t admit that he’s attempting to preserve his bargaining leverage when the legislature returns in February. Both sides know that the legislature has some reserve funds that they can use but they both know that it isn’t enough to fund the legislature for the rest of the biennium.

It’s also upsetting to hear Gov. Dayton accuse the legislature of lying to him and to the Supreme Court:

Gov. Dayton needs to quit with his my-way-or-the-highway shtick. It’s getting old.

HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned this evening for his misuse of chartered flights. President Trump accepted his resignation. This isn’t a surprise. The “announcement came shortly after Trump told reporters he considered Price a ‘fine man’ but that he “didn’t like the optics’ and planned to make a decision by the end of the day. ‘I’m not happy, I can tell you that. I’m not happy,’ Trump said as prepared to leave the White House en route to his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J.”

President Trump immediately announced that President “Trump would designate Don J. Wright as acting secretary. Wright currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.”