Archive for February, 2014
Dr. Patricia McLaughlin has a dispute with Sen. Harry Reid. Sen. Reid’s statement that the “horror stories” being shown nightly on TV are all untrue doesn’t fit with Dr. McLaughlin’s experience with the ACA:
Here’s a partial transcript of her interview with Greta van Susteren:
GRETA: You have patients that have insurance and that go to you but now you’ve been knocked off one of the networks. Is that correct?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I’ve not been dismissed but I have not been offered participation status in some of the subsections from one of the insurance companies and that would be insurance that would be covering individuals taking out insurance through the Affordable Care Act or through small business plans outside of the Affordable Care Act. It also included them.
GRETA: Does that mean that some patients of your’s can no longer go to you unless they pay for it out of their pocket?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That’s correct.
GRETA: Have any of your patients said anything to you? Are they distressed or are they just happy to move onto another doctor?
DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, most patients are attached to their doctor. We’ve had longstanding relationships. We don’t just take care of the illness. We take care of the human spirit as well. So we know things about their spouse, their children, their parents. We’ve been through their trials and tribulations. There’s a relationship. Of course, they’re distressed.
Let’s be succinct about this. The horror stories that Sen. Reid lightly dismisses are real. I think Sen. Reid knows that. Further, I think Sen. Reid won’t hesitate in lying about this to deflect attention away from the fact that the ACA is a failure that Sens. Pryor, Begich, Hagans, Udall, Landrieu, Franken and others voted for.
Sen. Reid knows that the AFP ads are devastating. Sen. Reid knows that AFP’s ads are hitting his vulnerable incumbents frequently and hitting them hard. If those ads weren’t working, Sen. Reid would lightly dismiss them or totally ignore them. It’s painfully obvious that Sen. Reid is worried that he’ll be Senate Minority Leader and his committee chairs will be ranking members within a year.
The bad news for the American people is that the Affordable Care Act is a trainwreck. The bad news for Democrats is that the American people might just take their frustration out of Senate Democrats this November.
Ronald Reagan once famously said that a recession is when your neighbor is unemployed, that a depression is when you’re unemployed and that the recover starts when Jimmy Carter was unemployed. This year, that should be translated into the recovery starts when Sens. Begich, Franken, Hagans, Landrieu, Pryor, Shaheen and Udall are unemployed.
Technorati: Harry Reid, Al Franken, Mark Begich, Mark Udall, Kay Hagans, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Democrats, Insurance Cancellations, Insurance Networks, Doctor-Patient Relationship, Election 2014
One thing that can’t be tolerated is a Republican candidate who treads lightly on the issue of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Sen. Ortman’s statement about Obamacare is disappointing:
Regarding the federal health care law, known as ObamaCare, she said: “There are some things about that that are good but I think that when you engage in a conversation in such a comprehensive way, you are going to see some things that people like and you are going see some things that people don’t like. And I think, overall, the system doesn’t work.”
This simply won’t cut it. Obamacare, aka the ACA, is a gigantic failure that should be scrapped and replaced with something that limits governmental ‘participation’. Preferably, the replacement bill should permit families and their physicians to determine what coverages they need or don’t need.
One of the significant flaws of the ACA is that the legislation created a one-size-fits-all plan across America. That’s the last thing we need. Another thing that’s counterproductive to getting rid of the plague of Obamacare is Republicans criticizing the attempted repeal of Obamacare:
“I’m not a full repeal person. I think the House of Representatives has voted 40 times to repeal it. The Senate is not going to repeal it. So if plan A is ‘Let’s do a repeal,’ we better start talking about Plan B. Because plan A got nowhere,” she said. Ortman said she would like to see Congress go “piece-by-piece through that new law and figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
As conservatives, the first thing we need is to admit that the ACA isn’t fixable. If we think that it’s fixable, then the only path forward is tinkering around the edges. That won’t work. What’s needed is a replacement plan that’s patient-centered, a plan that lets families and the physicians they know and trust choose what’s best for the families.
Anything that tinkers around the edges is defeatist thinking. I don’t accept the premise that the ACA is fixable because it’s exceptionally complex. For instance, if you think that government shouldn’t be in the business of telling families what coverages their health insurance policies must include, then catastrophic policies must be offered. The problem with that fix is that that totally messes up Obamacare’s funding mechanism.
That means Obamacare a) isn’t sustainable financially and b) doesn’t put families in charge of their health insurance. That isn’t acceptable.
Here’s Sen. Franken’s (predictable) position on repealing the ACA:
But repealing the law would strip Americans of this new freedom and take us back to the days when big insurance companies had the power to decide what care residents of Minnesota could receive-allowing them to once again deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, cancel coverage when people get sick, and place limits on the amount of care people can get, even if they need it. What’s more, without the law, insurance companies could overcharge for insurance just to boost their profits, or use fine print to deny medical treatments that are covered under people’s policies.
Ask people who can’t keep the policies they bought and liked because Washington, DC said they knew what’s best for families if they like their new options. Across the nation, people are telling their horror stories. If Sen. Ortman agrees with Sen. Franken that repealing Obamacare isn’t the right thing, then she’s sending the wrong message to Minnesotans.
How unpopular is the IRS’s proposed rule that would limit 501(c)(4)’s? I think that looking at a sampling of the organizations opposed to the rule would indicate the rule’s foolishness. Let’s start with this criticism from the League of Women Voters:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has proposed very significant changes in the regulations that govern what kind of political activity and how much of that activity a Section 501(c)(4) organization can carry out. This step is our best chance to rein in the secret “dark money” that has been polluting our elections since the Supreme Court’s terrible decision in Citizens United. At the same time, the current proposal would undermine the League’s ability to conduct truly nonpartisan voter service activities across the country.
The LWV truly thinks it’s nonpartisan even though their agenda definitely fits into the Democrats’ agenda. That’s why it doesn’t hide its feelings by saying that they don’t have a problem reining in “the secret ‘dark money'” that’s allegedly polluting elections since the Citizens United v. FEC ruling. Leftists like LWV aren’t the only organizations that despise the IRS’s proposed rule. Americans for Tax Reform, aka ATR, opposes the proposed rule, too:
According to the IRS’s own website, groups “qualify for exemption under section 501(c)(4), [if] the organization’s net earnings [are] devoted primarily to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.” This allows a myriad of citizen groups to educate their communities about issues which would affect them. Because of these activities, citizens can research laws and disseminate the information for free to those who might be impacted by the policies.
But with the proposed changes, organizations would lose their tax exempt status if they continued to spend sizable parts of their budget on the most basic civic activities. Among these activities are:
•Voter registration drives and “get-out-the-vote” drives.
•Distribution of any material prepared by, or on behalf of, a candidate or, by a section 527 political organization (PAC).
•Preparation or distribution of voter guides that refer to candidates (or, in a general election, to political parties).
•Holding any event within 60 days of a general election (or within 30 days of a primary election) at which any candidate appears as part of the program.
Under these criteria, any effort to educate the public about candidates, or the laws being passed by legislatures would be construed as “political activity” and will be used to suppress the free speech of social welfare groups. Candidate debates, although they are useful to the general public, would be shut down in a Machiavellian attempt to prevent ideologically inconvenient groups from threatening the government’s agenda.
This is McCain-Feingold in regulatory form. The BCRA, aka McCain-Feingold, was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its Citizens United v. the FEC ruling. The Supreme Court ruled BCRA unconstitutional because it limited citizens’ rights to participate in the electoral process, which the First Amendment prohibits.
Both ATR and the LWV recognize the fact that the IRS’s rule would eliminate citizens groups from participating in the political process. That’s why they’re both opposing the IRS’s proposed rule.
What’s stunning is the volume of opposition to the IRS’s proposed rule. According to the IRS’s website, 122,135 comments had been left on the proposed rule. By comparison, there were 7,000 comments left for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The DFL’s hostility towards businesses has been frequently documented. Tax the Rich became their mantra in 2008. It’s still part of their mantra today. Unfortunately for Minnesotans, Gov. Dayton and the DFL didn’t just ‘tax the rich.’ They dropped a ton of taxes on the middle class and the working poor.
Speaker Thissen officially went on the record at a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce event that the DFL will raise the minimum wage and that it’s likely to be closer to $9.50 per hour than $7.75 per hour:
Tuesday’s Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Session Priorities event may have been full of literature, displays and speeches promoting business interests, but House Speaker Paul Thissen wasn’t shy about telling business leaders that they won’t be getting some of the biggest items on their wish list.
For starters, the highest income tax bracket is not going away, the DFLer from Minneapolis predicted. There will be a minimum wage hike, and that new minimum wage will be closer to the high end than the low end, he said.
“Quite frankly, I think this is the right direction for Minnesota to go. I know that’s going to disappoint a lot of the people in the room, but I think it’s where we should head,” Thissen said at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, where 1,650 tickets were sold to the annual event.
The short-term effect of raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour is that fewer teenagers will find jobs if the minimum wage is raised. In this sluggish economy, employers will have an additional excuse not to hire teenagers for summer jobs.
What’s most disturbing is that Thissen thinks that Democrats think this is the right direction to head in. It indicates that the DFL doesn’t understand what creates prosperity. One of Thissen’s top lieutenants, Rep. Ryan Winkler, repeatedly says that raising the minimum wage doesn’t hurt hiring. He’s both right and wrong. There’s sufficient proof that raising the minimum wage during good times isn’t tragic for businesses. It isn’t helpful but it isn’t catastrophic.
Likewise, there’s sufficient proof that raising the minimum wage during a struggling economy hurts hiring, especially with young people looking for their first job.
Finally, it looks like the warehousing services sales tax and the farm equipment repair sales tax will be repealed. Two weekends ago, SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo-Alicea tried spinning the repeal of these taxes as DFL tax relief. That’s the most deceitful spin I’ve heard in ages.
The DFL legislature passed a Tax Bill that raised too many taxes. After a lengthy public outcry, they’ve decided that it’s in the Democrats’ political self-interest to repeal their mistake before voters punish them this November. This isn’t about the Democrats realizing that their tax increases will hurt businesses.
It’s important to remember that these taxes were in Gov. Dayton’s initial budget. They were stripped from the Democrats’ Tax Bill thanks to an intense lobbying campaign by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. On the final weekend of last year’s session, the DFL put the tax increases back into the final bill.
Simply put, Democrats thumbed their noses at the Chamber. The DFL only changed directions when they noticed how upset the Chamber was with these tax hikes. Thissen is especially worried because the Senate isn’t up for re-election. That means all of the Chamber’s anger will be directed at House DFL legislators.
That isn’t automatically catastrophic with a statewide candidate, though it can’t help. It’s likely to have the biggest impact in House races where a well-funded challenger can defeat a vulnerable incumbent. That’s why Thissen is rightfully worried.
Technorati: Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton, Tax Increases, Warehouse Services Sales Tax, Farm Equipment Repair Sales Tax, Ryan Winkler, Minimum Wage Increase, DFL, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Election 2014
After reading this article about MNsure, I’ve got more questions than answers. Here’s what I’m talking about:
With the new projections, the exchange now expects that Minnesotans will purchase about 500,000 months of coverage through the online marketplace this year, and more than 1.1 million months of coverage next year.
Thankfully, Rep. Greg Davids issued a statement that explains things nicely. Here’s the text of Rep. Davids’ statement:
“The numbers released today demonstrate that Governor Dayton dramatically overstated MNsure’s enrollment projections,” said Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston). “MNsure revised revenue projections from the insurance premium tax down 44 percent this year and 31 percent in 2015. As a result of the administration’s wildly inaccurate financial assumptions, MNsure will likely run a significant deficit next year and into the foreseeable future.”
Here’s what MNsure announced today:
The MNsure Board of Directors announced Wednesday that it dramatically reduced enrollment expectations for 2014. The board released a new projection showing that 50,518 households will enroll in individual market plans, and 1,313 will enroll in small group plans through the SHOP exchange. In March 2013, the Dayton Administration estimated that 164,000 would enroll in individual market coverage, and 13,125 would enroll through the SHOP exchange. In October 2013, the board projected individual market enrollment of 102,800, and SHOP enrollment of 13,125.
That’s stunning. The Dayton administration estimated that 164,000 households that had purchased their insurance through the individual market would buy insurance through MNsure. Today, MNsure admitted that that estimate would only be 50,518 households. The Dayton administration’s estimate was off by almost 70%.
The Dayton administration estimated that 13,125 households would purchase insurance through small group plans. MNsure verified today that only 1,313 households will enroll in small group plans via the SHOP exchange. That estimate is off by 90%.
Those e-tab e-tab revenue projections for the Vikings stadium were off by 95%. These projections are getting into that neighborhood. That’s a frightening thought.
The best rule of thumb with this administration is that this administration doesn’t deal with serious projections. Rather, they specialize in Statistical Wild Ass Guesses, aka SWAG.
Please, Say it Ain’t So!
by Silence Dogood
A press release from October 11, 2011 highlights the new rebranding campaign: “Education for Life.”
Just about every webpage at SCSU has the new tagline:
In the university’s press release, according to Damien Navarro, Chief Visionary/Managing Partner for Earthbound Media Group (EMG), “The Education for Life tagline communicates partnership. It underscores the university’s dedication to providing students with an education that goes well beyond the classroom.”
The rebranding was necessary because as President Potter states: “Unfortunately, our reputation—our brand—is not as good as we truly are.”
The United States Patent and Trademark Office maintains a website that is searchable online:
If you perform a Trademark Search for “Education for Life” it turns up fifty documents. Not all of them are relevant but two are of interest.
The first document of interest, from the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTMO) shows that on November 30, 1995 Briarwood College (since 2010 is now Lincoln College of New England) filed a patent application in the supplemental register for the Word Mark “EDUCATION FOR LIFE”. (the document appears at the end of this article)
The second document, which was filed on May 14, 2010, is a patent application in the principal register for “Standard Character Mark” for “EDUCATION FOR LIFE.” (the document appears after the first document at the end of this article.)
I’ve been informed that the supplemental register is more for international protection and the primary register is for U.S. protection and requires additional information and filings. However, essentially both the words and form are covered by U.S. Trademark Protections.
The first image comes from the Standard Character Mark from the patent application:
The second image is SCSU’s new branding tagline:
Microsoft’s “Word’s” spelling and grammar checker indicates that the tagline “Education for life” ending with a “.” is a fragment and should “consider revising.”
The good news is that the use of poor grammar may, on a technicality, eliminate a trademark infringement concern because no one would confuse Lincoln Technical Institute’s motto with SCSU’s ‘mistaken’ grammar. If adding the period to make it poor grammar didn’t solve the problem, perhaps raising the height of the first letter of each word and using a sans serif font might make it different enough to avoid trademark infringement? Or perhaps putting a box around the text would again make it different enough to avoid claims of trademark infringement.
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Is anyone really going to argue that SCSU’s new tagline doesn’t share a lot of ‘genetic material’ from the patented phrase despite the poor grammar, font substitution, and surrounding text box? However, this is where lawyers get involved and usually a lot of money changes hands.
It’s hard to believe that the Earthbound Media Group failed to do a trademark search before selling SCSU on the new tagline. So perhaps we have entered into a licensing agreement with the trademark owner for its use as SCSU new branding tagline? I just wonder how much that’s going to cost? It certainly would be an embarrassment to SCSU if a claim of trademark infringement was filed and the embarrassment could become an expensive matter if the court granted injunctive relief to the trademark owner. In cases of trademark infringement, awards are based on each time there is an infringement which could be a lot of cases since each webpage downloaded and every email counts as a case.
Since I have not had any legal training whatsoever, I won’t offer an opinion on the merits of a trademark infringement claim on SCSU’s use of “EDUCATION FOR LIFE.” Hopefully, the administration’s legal counsel will issue a statement regarding the potential for infringement. At best, there is paperwork from EMG that provides the university the clear right to use “EDUCATION FOR LIFE” as our new “statement of intent.” At worst, we are unwittingly using a trademarked phrase without permission. If the second case is indeed correct, it would directly support President Potter’s earlier statement that “our reputation—our brand—is not as good as we truly are” because the university will have tarnished it’s “brand” by a careless and possibly ethical/legal lapse and another effort to create a new branding campaign will need to be launched.
After reading this article, I’m wondering if I’m living the United States or in the former Soviet Union. Seriously, does anyone think that governments should be able to use eminent domain to take private property from a family to build biking hiking trails? That’s what Dakota County is attempting to do:
The county is seeking a “quick-take” condemnation, effectively a compelled sale, of four parcels of land in the park reserve, offering a total of about $2 million.
County commissioners voted in November to take the land, saying the properties are a key part of a planned trail and other features.
What’s more important: private property rights or giving government to take any piece of land to do with it whatever it wants to do? This is stealing. What’s especially appalling is the taking of the land to build biking and hiking trails. What’s worse is that Dakota County is attempting to steal this private property for a questionable project while offering the property owners settlements at far less than fair market value:
Aho said the county hasn’t shown enough progress on other planned improvements besides the trail to demonstrate a need for condemnation.
She also said the county’s offer for the land, $370,000, “drastically undervalued” assets like a marina and 1,000-plus feet of lakeshore.
After WWII, eminent domain was used to buy the land needed to build the interstate highway or other high priority pieces of infrastructure that led to great increases of wealth and prosperity to the masses. Since Kelo v. New London, eminent domain has been used to take property from private property owners and give it to government so it can create parks or bike trails.
What’s upsetting to me is that Dakota County thinks that the perceived wishes of the many are more important than the rights of the individual. They aren’t. First, the community’s wish list shouldn’t rate as a higher priority than a private property landowner’s rights. The thought that the landowner’s rights are getting set aside is disturbing enough. The thought that they’re getting set aside for something as frivolous as a community park is especially upsetting.
Next, it’s worth noting that special interest organizations are likely behind this taking. County commissioners don’t just wake up one morning and say to themselves ‘Hey, let’s create a new park.’ It isn’t a stretch to think that they’re approached by special interest organizations who have an agenda but who don’t live near the proposed takings.
Finally, check out the government’s arrogance:
“There’s a great need for this,” commissioner Kathleen Gaylord said at the meeting. “We do need to move forward. The board has come to the conclusion that it is time to move forward. This is a needed piece of property in order to complete our trail in the Spring Lake Park area and to provide the access to the park that our master plan has envisioned for decades. We’re just coming to the head now. It’s time to move forward.”
The board’s conclusion. The commissioners’ needs. The project’s vision. What’s appalling is that Kathy Gaylord and 5 other commissioners put the government’s wish list ahead of the private property owner’s rights. Apparently, Kathy Gaylord and the other slugs who voted to take this land don’t care about these families’ rights.
Anytime that government puts a higher priority on their projects than they put on individuals’ rights, our nation moves closer to authoritarian rule. That isn’t who we are as a nation.
We The People should reject this type of tyrannical government ASAP.
Technorati: Takings Clause, Fifth Amendment, Kelo v. New London, Constitution, Dakota County Commissioners, Kathleen Gaylord, Special Interests, Moscow on the Mississippi, Authoritarianism, Weaponized Government, We The People, Private Property, Private Property Rights, Life, Liberty and Property
If this article is right, then we’re seeing the first signs that opposition to the Senate Office Building is mounting:
Lawmakers in Minnesota had hoped to break ground in March on a $63 million new state Senate office building next to the state Capitol in St. Paul.
But a fight has broken out over the project, which critics have called an unnecessary expense in a city with high office vacancy.
The project has been delayed amid the debate, and now could face further delays because a committee of the state House of Representatives intends to hold a hearing in coming weeks rather than vote immediately on the project.
House Majority Leader Erin Murphy said in an interview that she felt some of the concerns raised by critics were legitimate. “Before we’re going to take that vote, I want to make sure that we’ve had ample time to consider the options before us,” she said. Those options include using existing government space to house Senate workers, she said. “I think that it is important to get this right, versus get it fast.”
Yesterday, I wrote this post to highlight the fact that Sen. Bakk shrouded this project in secrecy because he knew that publicity would kill the plan. In that post, I highlighted the fact that Sen. Bakk didn’t write a standalone bill for this project.
That’s exceptionally odd for this big of a project, especially in light of the fact that legislators routinely write bills for tiny projects to be included in the Bonding Bill.
Sen. Bakk didn’t write a bill for this project, opting instead to introduce this project as an amendment to last year’s Tax Bill. Testimony wasn’t taken for or against Sen. Bakk’s ‘amendment’, probably because Sen. Bakk didn’t want the publicity.
Opposition to this project must be building. If it wasn’t, Erin Murphy wouldn’t be exercising this tiny amount of fiscal restraint. Rep. Murphy is lots of things but the taxpayers’ watchdog isn’t one of those things.
This feels like a sinking ship. Holding a hearing on the project will bring out tons of angry taxpayers protesting this project. I’m betting there won’t be many people testifying that the project should proceed. I’d bet the proverbial ranch that Sen. Bakk won’t testify that this project is needed.
Like the Tax Bill this project was contained in, this project is a portrait of the Democrats’ lack of fiscal restraint. Now that it’s exposed, they’ll try telling us that they had to vote for the Tax Bill. The Tax Bill itself is part of the Democrats’ attack on taxpayers.
This weekend, Javier Morillo-Alicea tried spinning the repeal of the B2B sales tax increases as proof of the DFL’s plan for tax relief. That’s chutzpah personified. They raised those taxes last May. If people hadn’t expressed their disgust with those tax increases, they’d still be in the bill.
Thanks to that opposition, they’re likely to repeal those sales taxes. Thanks to this uprising, they’re likely to defund the SOB (Senate Office Building).
The thing to remember is that the Democrats’ first instinct was to a) raise taxes on the middle class and b) spend money on a lavish, ill-advised palace for themselves. They voted for the Tax Bill. They voted against stripping out the Senate project. Democrat legislators can’t credibly say that they oppose it. They cast their votes. They expressed their priorities.
They’re opposing this project because they’d get clobbered this November if they didn’t.
Keep the pressure on. Don’t relent. Plan on attending this hearing. Plan on testifying against this project. Let’s sink this project once and for all.
If anything is gaining traction as a totally unexpected issue, it’s the DFL’s palace, aka the Senate Office Building. In January, Joe Soucheray wrote this blistering piece about the SOB foolishness. He wasn’t finished. He’s written this article to blast the foolishness again.
The duplicitous DFLers in the state Senate are moving the marble around under the thimbles. Again. Watch it. Keep your eyes sharp.
As near as I can understand it, they are now informing us that a new Senate office building they want to build for themselves has always been a part of the plan to renovate the Capitol building.
We didn’t know that. Most of us are on board to renovate the Capitol, but we didn’t sign on to build a new office building for 44 of the 67 senators as part of the project. No, they tossed that new building into a tax bill in the closing minutes of the last legislative session and are now trying to sell us on the idea of how desperately they need the new space and that was the plan all along.
Let’s cut through the DFL’s spin. It’s entirely possible that Democrats, starting with Sen. Bakk, always planned on building this monument. Before you get upset with me, take time to think of it from an Obamacare perspective. After President Obama said that people could keep their health plan if they liked it, they followed that up by saying it was never their intent to let people keep their “substandard health insurance plan.” There’s no disputing that.
Pay attention to this thinking. President Obama and DC Democrats always planned on quietly pushing people out of the health insurance plans that they liked. Likewise, it’s totally plausible that Sen. Bakk and the Democrats supported this ill-advised project if it was done quietly.
If you need to seriously remodel your house to the point where you have to move out, it is unlikely that you are going to build a new house for yourself in the interim. No, you would rent a house.
The senators can rent office space in St. Paul. They don’t need an opulent $63 million building with a $27 million parking ramp on the side. That parking ramp is a beautiful window into the minds of the people who brought you light rail. In fact, light rail will swing right by the Capitol. So they should put their mouths where your money is, rent some of the extraordinarily available office space in St. Paul, hop on the train and get dropped off at the Capitol for votes and meetings and whatnot. Why would they need a parking ramp? They don’t even like cars.
Let’s get to the heart of this. Had the Capitol press paid attention and if they were in touch with Main Street Minnesota, they would’ve highlighted this foolish spending. Rather than actually reading bills and asking questions about whether the bills working their way through the legislature, the Capitol press spends most of its time tracking down quotes from legislators.
That isn’t journalism. That’s stenography. If newspapers want to increase readership, they should require their reporters to read the bills that are getting passed.
Part of the problem, unfortunately, is because people don’t care until after the outrage has happened. If people don’t want money to be spent foolishly, the citizenry should be eternally vigilant. Then, if politicians spend money this foolishly, the citizens should boot their arses out.
Finally, let’s have a straightfoward discussion about what Sen. Bakk perpetrated. Sen. Bakk didn’t want anyone to testify about his ill-advised initiative. That’s why he slid the proposal into the Tax Bill as an amendment in the final weeks of the session. If you look, Sen. Bakk didn’t author legislation proposing construction of the Senate Office Building.
It’s time for Minnesotans to step forward and speak with a loud, passionate and unified voice that any politician that isn’t willing to stop this project dead in its tracks will be targeted and defeated this November. Legislators who aren’t the taxpayers’ watchdog are utterly worthless. They should be fired this November.
That’s the only remedy for this disease. When people get re-elected after spending money foolishly, citizens are sending the signal that they’re ok with foolish spending. I’m not ok with this foolish spending.
Defunding this project is imperative to good governance and protecting the taxpayers’ pocketbooks. The House Rules Committee can stop this ill-advised project with a simple vote. Here’s the committee website. All of the GOP legislators will vote against the project so it’s imperative to call or email the DFL committee members and politely but firmly tell them that a vote to approve this project is a vote that will be remembered this November.
Technorati: Tom Bakk, Plutocrats, Senate Office Building, House Rules Committee, Committee Hearing, Legislative Amendment, Secrecy, Pork, DFL, Accountability, Transparency, Taxpayer Revolt, MNGOP, Election 2014
Predictably, the DFL’s spinmeisters are doing their best to put the happiest face on MNsure possible. This time, ABM and the public employee unions aren’t the only DFL spinmeisters plying their craft. Now they’ve got Scott Leitz, the interim CEO of MNsure, painting rosy pictures. This time, though, it’s time to dispel the myths that the DFL is working feverishly to establish. First, let’s look at what Mr. Leitz said in painting a hopeful picture:
“With regards to the private side, we are running about 30,000 right now, but we do anticipate because of the mandate that people have health insurance coverage by March 31,” Leitz said.
It’s time to see what official MNsure documents say about the health of the MNsure initiative. First, let’s look at how enrollment is going:
According to MNsure’s report, approximately 26,000 people had signed up for qualified health plans, aka QHPs, as of Jan. 4, 2014. As of Feb. 8, 29,493 people had enrolled, an increase of approximately 3,500. That’s an increase of approximately 13.5%. During the same timeframe, enrollments in Medical Assistance increased from approximately 28,000 to 41,591, an increase of over 13,500. That’s an increase of 48%.
That certainly isn’t the ratio MNsure was hoping for.
Here’s more bad news for MNsure and the DFL:
According to that chart, approximately 100 people are signing up for QHPs per day. If enrollments in process continue at this pace, MNsure won’t meet its goal of 69,904 until March…of next year.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the worst news. This pie chart should frighten Gov. Dayton and every DFL legislator who voted for the exchange legislation:
According to MNsure’s own statistics, only 21% of the enrollees in QHPs are in the 19-34 age cohort. That’s far below the 40% the federal government said is needed to pay for the benefits of less healthy people. Without 40% of the enrollees being young healthies or invincibles, health insurance premiums will spike this fall.
That should frighten Gov. Dayton, President Obama and Democrat legislators and senators to death because there’s nothing President Obama can do to stop insurance companies from announcing big premium spikes before this fall’s election. Those rate spikes will be announced in September or October.
If Democrats think they’re slamming into fierce headwinds now, they ain’t seen nothing yet. When that rate spike happens, employers will dump coverage and pay the penalty. Employees will get hit with the worst sticker shock they’ve ever experienced.
September and October will be difficult months for Democrats. The only month worse for Democrats than those months will be November.