According to this email from Corie Beckerman, the director of Student Health Services at St. Cloud State, MnSCU has decided to drop its “domestic student health insurance plan for the 2014-2015 academic year”:
To all SCSU Faculty and Staff:
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) has decided to no longer offer a domestic student health insurance plan for the 2014-2015 academic year. Due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect January 1, 2014, the cost of insurance for domestic students by our current provider would have increased substantially. There are several insurance coverage options available to students, which include being covered on their parent’s policy until age 26 or purchasing coverage through the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange (MNsure). A detailed explanation of this MnSCU decision can be found at www.stcloudstate.edu/healthservices.
MNsure has numerous resources available on their website for students to help navigate their system as well as address any health insurance questions – www.mnsure.org or toll-free 1-855-366-7873.
For assistance in the in the St. Cloud area, students may contact Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid at email@example.com or 1-320-253-0121.
International students will continue to be required to purchase health insurance through the MnSCU sponsored health plan, as in the past, in accordance with MnSCU Board Policy 3.4.1 part 3, subpart B.2.
Corie Beckermann, Director
Student Health Services
St. Cloud State University
720 Fourth Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
This sentence jumps off the page in importance:
Due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect January 1, 2014, the cost of insurance for domestic students by our current provider would have increased substantially.
This is a stunning admission that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, isn’t affordable. MnSCU is filled with people who support President Obama and Obamacare. This isn’t a decision they made lightly. It’s instructive that MnSCU didn’t make this decision out of spite.
MnSCU made this decision because the ACA, aka Obamacare, is exceptionally expensive.
Last week, President Obama had his “Mission Accomplished” moment in the Rose Garden. The thing he highlighted most was the enrollment numbers. That moment will be fleeting. Most people have forgotten about the enrollment figures. Since that event, the administration has gotten hit with stories like MnSCU cancelling its health insurance program for domestic students and other horror stories.
Kathleen Sebelius must feel like the weight of the world’s been lifted from her shoulders now that she’s resigned. She won’t have to deal with the ACA mess once her replacement is confirmed.
That’s the opposite of Gov. Dayton. This is just another reminder that the ACA is anything but affordable.
Jeffrey Meitrodt’s article shows how anxious Gov. Dayton and the DFL is to put their mismanagement and inattentiveness behind them:
DFL Rep. Joe Atkins, co-chairman of the oversight committee, said he “prefers to look forward” and not rehash the decisions that brought MNsure to where it is today. He praised the agency for signing up 181,000 customers since Oct. 1, well above its conservative goal of 135,000.
Whether Rep. Atkins prefers looking forward or not, I won’t until I highlight the terrible decisionmaking made by Gov. Dayton and April Todd-Malmlov. I won’t look forward until it’s exposed how disinterested the DFL-dominated MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee was about the systemic mismanagement problems Republicans were highlighting.
I wrote here that Sen. Lourey admitted that the Republicans were asking legitimate questions:
State Sen. Tony Lourey, the DFL co-chair of the oversight panel, said Republicans have “legitimate questions” that deserve to be answered.
It won’t be long before Sen. Lourey gets a call from Gov. Dayton’s enforcer. They can’t afford for him not to be on the same page with Gov. Dayton and Rep. Atkins.
Republican committee members, however, were frustrated with their inability to question administration officials about MNsure’s rollout. Dayton blocked key officials, including Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, from appearing Wednesday before the panel.
“We can’t improve things if we can’t work together,” Benson said.
Republican members of the panel said they welcomed tough media coverage of MNsure, citing the Star Tribune’s report that revealed Dayton was informed of major problems with MNsure’s website 12 days before the exchange launched. Dayton acknowledged this week that he “misspoke” when he previously said he was unaware of technical problems until November.
Sen. Benson said that she doesn’t think Gov. Dayton lied about his being unaware of MNsure’s difficulties. I disagree. Gov. Dayton didn’t misspeak. He lied about not getting briefed on MNsure’s impending disastrous rollout. Meitrodt’s article provided proof that Gov. Dayton was briefed by April Todd-Malmlov 12 days before MNsure went live.
The only way Gov. Dayton didn’t know about Todd-Malmlov’s brieifing is if he’s got Alzheimers. Since there isn’t any proof of that, it’s safe to say Gov. Dayton lied about MNsure for political/re-election campaign purposes.
Tuesday, Gov. Dayton made a major political mistake. He told legislators of both parties that the architects of MNsure couldn’t testify at an oversight hearing. Then he said that the Republicans’ strategy was a farce. Then Sen. Lourey, one of the co-chairs of the oversight committee, said that Republicans had legitimate questions that should be answered.
Thanks to his foolish tactics, Gov. Dayton’s flailing to regain his political footing. He’s acted like a monarch ruling from his throne. Until this week, Gov. Dayton had a likeability factor. Thanks to his imperious actions, he isn’t as likeable.
It’s been a topsy turvy day in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, After reading Commissioner Sivarajah’s statement announcing her intent to run in the GOP primary, I’m left wondering if she hasn’t already admitted she can’t win the primary. Here’s what she said that makes me question her:
“We are told we need to broaden the base of the Republican Party and a primary will help accomplish that,” she observed. “I am eager to take my record of achievement to the voters of Sixth Congressional District which will allow all voters–Republicans, Independents and Conservative Democrats, to have a say in who they think will best represent them.”
There aren’t many conservative Democrats or independents that’ll vote in this August’s GOP primary. Politically speaking, Tom Emmer’s support is a mile wide and a mile deep. They’ve passionately supported him since he ran for governor. Their enthusiasm for him hasn’t dipped since 2010.
I wrote in this post that “activists will show up en masse for the primary, too, possibly in record numbers to send the message to Sivarajah and Krinkie” that they enthusiastically support Tom Emmer.
“Voters are hungry for an accomplished conservative candidate,” she said. “My record of cutting taxes and reducing the size of government is unmatched by any other candidate in the race. People want results, not rhetoric.”
That’s been Commissioner Sivarajah’s battle cry since getting into the race. It didn’t sell during the precinct caucuses and it didn’t sell during the BPOU conventions. Even Commissioner Sivarajah admitted that Tom Emmer will win a first ballot endorsement victory.
What activists know, however, is that Tom Emmer didn’t have a prayer of cutting taxes because the DFL was the majority party in the Senate. Cutting taxes with a conservative majority is considerably easier than cutting taxes with an intransigent, obstructionist DFL majority in the Senate.
“I don’t fear the voters,” Sivarajah concluded. “People are not swayed by inevitability; I want to earn their vote. I am confident I will do so.”
That last paragraph of Commissioner Sivarajah’s statement makes me question whether she’s serious. She’s an experienced candidate so she knows how to count votes. Commissioner Sivarajah knows she lost the CD-6 Straw Poll by 50 points. Even before Wednesday’s announcement, Commissioner Sivarajah knew she was heading for a first ballot defeat at the CD-6 Convention.
That’s before factoring in her pathetic fundraising totals the last 2 quarters and Emmer’s significant name ID advantage. If independents and Democrats don’t turn out to vote for Sivarajah in historic numbers, Commissioner Sivarajah will lose the primary by 30-35 points. It won’t be that close.
According to Mark Sommerhauser’s article, Phil Krinkie and Rhonda Sivarajah are taking the gluttons-for-punishment path:
Anoka County Board chair Rhonda Sivarajah will take her campaign to a GOP primary election, she confirmed Wednesday in an interview with the Times.
The 6th District seat is being vacated by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who isn’t seeking a fifth term. Republicans are set to endorse a successor at a convention Saturday in Monticello.
The other 6th District GOP candidate, former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, said Wednesday that he won’t attend Saturday’s convention or seek the party’s endorsement. Krinkie also said for the first time that he’s mulling a third-party run for Congress, but said he still sees a Republican primary run as his most likely path forward.
Both Sivarajah and Krinkie have left open the possibility of running in a primary. Only Emmer has said he’ll abide by the GOP endorsement.
Sivarajah finished a distant second in the CD-6 Straw Poll, with Krinkie finishing far behind Sivarajah:
6th District Congress (97% Reporting):
Tom Emmer with 67.7%, Rhonda Sivarajah with 17.7%, Phil Krinkie with 10.1%
If Commissioner Sivarajah and Rep. Krinkie want to run in the primary, that’s their option. I just question their judgment. They don’t have a chance of winning. With an August primary, most of the turnout for the primary will be the dedicated activists that showed up for the precinct caucuses on a snowy Tuesday night this past February. These activists will show up en masse for the primary, too, possibly in record numbers to send the message to Sivarajah and Krinkie that their political careers are history.
That’s before factoring in Tom Emmer’s 100% name recognition, the fact that he handily carried CD-6 in 2010 when he ran for governor and the fact that he’s got an overwhelming cash-on-hand advantage.
If Krinkie runs as the Independence Party’s endorsed candidate, the backlash against him will be overwhelming. If he runs as a third party candidate, they’ll run him off the board at the TaxPayers League. I’d totally support TPL if they did that.
This statement is telling:
Sivarajah still intends to seek the Republican endorsement Saturday, but said she expects Emmer to garner delegates’ support on the first ballot.
Does Commissioner Sivarajah want to get thumped another time? She lost the straw poll by 50 points. She’s going to lose the endorsement on the first ballot. She’ll get thumped in the primary. That’s a helluva trifecta, though it isn’t one that’ll endear her to the activists.
Somewhere near Monticello, a fat lady is getting ready to sing. If I were a betting man, I’d bet she’ll sing a dirge sometime Saturday morning.
Technorati: Phil Krinkie, Taxpayers League, Rhonda Sivarajah, Anoka County Commissioner, GOP Primary, Third Party Candidacy, Tom Emmer, Endorsing Convention, Precinct Caucuses, Republican Activists, Election 2014
After watching this video, it’s apparent that Gov. Dayton is attempting to hide something from Minnesotans:
This article has more than a whiff of desparation to it.
Gov. Mark Dayton vowed Tuesday not to cooperate with a legislative panel that wants to question top officials in his administration about technical problems that marred the Oct. 1 launch of MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange.
If Gov. Dayton doesn’t change his attitude ASAP, this will hurt him. Here’s why:
Legislative Auditor James Nobles, who is conducting a review of MNsure, said Todd-Malmlov has so far declined to discuss her stewardship of the agency. Nobles said he will take the unusual step of issuing a subpoena and using the courts to compel her testimony if she does not come in voluntarily for an interview.
“We think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in a thorough and objective way,” Nobles said. “We want to hear her perspective. … She was at center stage, so to speak, and knows more than probably anybody.”
Mr. Nobles has subpoena power, meaning his questions will get answered. If that means compelling Tina Smith’s and Lucinda Jesson’s testimony, then that’s what he’ll do. Gov. Dayton’s contrived diatribe sounded exceptionally desparate:
During a news conference Tuesday, Dayton said Republicans are “making a mockery of the word oversight” and engaging in a “propaganda campaign” aimed at destroying MNsure.
“It is really irresponsible,” Dayton said. “The fact that they can pretend this is part of the oversight process is just ludicrous. They want to trash MNsure. … They want MNsure to fail.”
Gov. Dayton’s faux outrage isn’t convincing. Gov. Dayton insists that Republicans are “making a mockery” of the oversight process. That won’t last long:
State Sen. Tony Lourey, the DFL co-chair of the oversight panel, said Republicans have “legitimate questions” that deserve to be answered.
“We do need to answer for how the rollout occurred, and we certainly will,” Lourey said. “I am totally open to that.”
This is political trouble for Gov. Dayton. Jim Nobles, the much-respected Legislative Auditor, launched an investigation into MNsure’s disastrous rollout. Sen. Tony Lourey, the DFL co-chair of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee, just said the Republicans’ questions are “legitimate” and that they deserve to be answered.
Most importantly, Gov. Dayton is acting like a monarch, telling the uppity peasants what he will and won’t do. If Gov. Dayton continues acting like royalty who can ignore legitimate questions, he’ll be in for a difficult re-election campaign.
It’s difficult to picture this turning out well for him if he continues acting like this.
Who is Responsible for Creating a Great Place to Work?
Interpreting Survey Data
by Silence Dogood
If you look at the information from the Great Place to Work Institute (GPTWI) explaining the Survey Methodology for their Trust Index Survey it states:
“Employees are instructed to respond to each statement by selecting one of the following five choices, most accurately reflecting his or her experience in the workplace.
1 = Almost always untrue
2 = Often untrue
3 = Sometimes untrue/sometimes true
4 = Often true
5 = Almost always true
Your organization’s results are calculated and reflect the percentage of respondents indicating a statement to be “often true” or “almost always true.” For example, a result of 65 on a particular statement means that 65% of respondents that statement with either 4 or 5, and the remaining 35% rated it 1, 2, or 3. If a respondent did not rate a particular statement, it is excluded in the computation of the overall results for that statement. A rating of 4 or 5 reflects a consistently positive experience in the area the statement measures. The overall tally of 4s and 5s measures the consistency in employees experiencing the organization as a great workplace. Employees were asked to respond to each statement twice, once for their own work group and once for the organization as a whole. The following definitions of work group, organization and management are included in the instructions:
Work Group refers to all people in your immediate unit or department. Management of your workgroup refers to immediate supervisor.
Organization refers to your company as a whole. Management of the organization refers to the President and Executive management Group (or equivalent)”
All fifteen questions in the survey from the PowerPoint slides released on March 5th, 2014, which begin “Management…” are presented in what follows. Specifically, the results are presented for the response under the category of “Organization.” As a result, the cumulative effect of these fifteen survey items serves as a surrogate for a simple vote of confidence or no confidence in the management of the organization. These fifteen questions are a direct evaluation of the President and his management team. The data presented have not been edited except in the format used in presentation.
For all of the data, the red bar represents the average value for the “100 Best Companies.” All of blue bars represent the derived values from those who completed the survey at SCSU. Where there are no red bars, the question was generated locally so the number must be interpreted without a comparison.
From the methodology used by the GPTWI to create its index, a comparison of the blue bars with the red bars clearly indicates that the employees at SCSU have little confidence in the Potter management team. For some of the faculty, these results just put a number to the growing dissatisfaction in President Potter and the team of managers he has assembled.
For people who are interested in the reporting and analysis of data, the methodology used by the GPTWI is outside the norm for surveys using scaled responses. In fact, it is hard to believe that this type of methodology would be acceptable for any peer-reviewed scholarly publication except as an example of a poor methodology.
Essentially, the GPTWI is a public relations firm which is designed to make institutions look better than they really are—think advertising.
Consider the following example: “Management is competent.” The result for SCSU is 32 (as compared to the average of the top 100 great places to work value of 90). So the management at SCSU is not viewed as competent by 68% of respondents and if competent management is associated with great places to work SCSU doesn’t look much like a “Great Place to Work”. Remember a result of 32 means 32% of the respondents answered 4 or 5 and 68% responded 1, 2 or 3. However, without the raw data (the numbers of 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s), it is not possible to calculate a true arithrimetric average response (mean), the response with the greatest number of responses (mode), the mid-point of the distribution of responses (median), and all of the normal statistics used in describing the results of surveys using scaled items.
The reason why this might be important is illustrated in these three possibilities. For a result of 32, consider the following three hypothetical distributions that all have 32% of responses being either a 4 or 5.
For distribution I, each of the responses 1, 2, and 3 have the same value and represent a total of 68% of the scores. Similarly the scores 4 and 5 have the same value and represent 32% of the scores. Calculating the arithmetic mean gives a value of 2.80.
For distribution II, 68% of the scores are 3s and 32% are 5s, which yields a mean of 3.64.
For distribution III, 68% of the scores are 1s and 32% are 4s, which yields a mean of 1.96.
According to the GPTWI, all three of these distributions have the same “result.” However, the same “result” gives three widely differing means and three very different findings, three different interpretations, and three different conclusions.
It’s a shame that the raw data is not available. If it were, it would be possible to perform a more thorough analysis. However, even with all of its shortcomings, the data as presented by GPTWI demonstrates that the employees feel there are significant problems of trust resulting from the competence and truthfulness of President Potter’s management team. Even after only a cursory look at the GPTWI findings, an obvious conclusion is that St. Cloud State University is a very long way a way from being a great place to work!
It is strange that President Potter has stated that the numbers from the survey are not where “we” would like them to be and “we” have some work to do (St. Cloud Times Editorial Board interview February 21, 2014). Who is the “we” President Potter refers to and is we the same each time he uses it? Perhaps it is simply a ‘royal we.’ It is hard to believe the employees at SCSU are responsible for these ten items that were surveyed.
- Management is approachable.
- Management shares information openly and transparently.
- Management keeps me informed.
- Management delivers on its promises.
- Management’s actions match its words.
- Management makes sound financial decisions.
- Management has a clear view.Management is competent.
- Management seeks suggestions.Management involves people in decisions
President Potter has said he is going to schedule “listening sessions.” In my opinion, there is not much that the faculty and staff can do about these ten items. All of the improvement regarding these ten items needs to come from President Potter and his team of managers. Perhaps if President Potter was on campus more and actually talked with faculty and staff more frequently some of these statements would receive higher ratings of truthfulness? It is time for President Potter and his ‘gang of thirty,’ to change their behaviors. Here’s a suggestion for a change in behavior:
Truly keep everyone informed and share information “openly and transparently” rather than just saying that management is being open and transparent. Saying something doesn’t make it true and actions speak louder than words.
The results from GPTWI show that management’s actions at SCSU do not match its words or that management delivers on its promises. How are the faculty and staff going to be able to “work” to make SCSU a better place when what is needed is a change in management’s behavior? All of the ten items from the GPTW survey that start with the word “Management” are items that must start with the managers. It is time for these managers to lead and lead by example.
The Potter management team has not involved people in decisions and certainly does not seek suggestions from the faculty and staff or involve people in making decisions. Case in point. The administration simply announced at a Meet and Confer that they had signed a contract with the GPTWI to conduct a “Trust Survey.” Had President Potter asked for input from the faculty and staff BEFORE making the decision, a better survey might have been performed. But finding out once again after the decision has been made shows President Potter’s seemingly utter contempt for the faculty and staff and their opinions and views.
President Potter has not shared his vision (see results for Management has a clear vision) for the future other than saying he’s “right sizing” the university. To date, no information has been shared as to the “right size.” A cynic might say that perhaps when we get there, he’ll tell us. However, an unexplained full-year enrollment drop from FY10 of 15,096 to FY14 of 12,401 represents a loss of 2,695 FYE or a drop of 17.9%. (The enrollment numbers come from the MnSCU website and are current as of April 7, 2014).
Without a doubt, it is not within the power of the SCSU faculty and staff to make the administration competent—there is simply nothing they can do to fix a belief that the administration is not competent. The only way the result for the competence question can improve is for President Potter to demonstrate competence. That might begin with his actually participating with the faculty and staff in shared governance.
“What you do is what matters, not what you think, say or plan.”
Jason Fried (from the book Rework)
From now through Election Day, Gov. Dayton and the DFL will employ an ostrich strategy. They’ll pretend they didn’t know MNsure would be a disaster ahead of time. This article proves that they knew but chose to pretend everything was fine:
Twelve days before Minnesota unveiled its $100 million health insurance exchange known as MNsure, a grim meeting was held at Gov. Mark Dayton’s residence in St. Paul.
April Todd-Malmlov, who had led the project, delivered a warning to the governor and his top advisers: No one was certain the new website built to help thousands of uninsured Minnesotans get health coverage would actually work.
The number of computer bugs in the system had recently surged from 237 to 270. And one-third of them were so severe that no stopgap fixes were possible.
After HealthCare.gov started with a crash, Gov. Dayton and the DFL trumpeted MNsure’s success compared with HealthCare.gov’s failures. At the time, the Twin Cities media just took their word for it. The Twin Cities media ignored complaints of systemic mismanagement at MNsure from Sen. Michelle Benson:
SEN. MICHELLE BENSON: I think we have a systemic management problem. Not prioritizing, not focusing on the things that are essential to have done on October 1. Data privacy is essential. Having good processes in place is essential. Now they made sure to roll out the Paul Bunyan ads and they made sure they had money for that and they kept that secret until they were ready to launch. But when it comes to the agents’ information, that wasn’t sequestered. It wasn’t treated with delicacy. The training — we found out today that navigator training isn’t moving at speed. Counties aren’t trained. Brokers aren’t trained. Those all should’ve been much higher priorities than the softer skill sets.
Sen. Benson made this statement during an interview given on Sept. 24, 2013. The list of things that weren’t ready is lengthy. These things were brought up that day at the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee hearing earlier in the day. Despite this lengthy list of substantive problems, Sen. Lourey and Rep. Atkins, the co-chairs of the Committee, didn’t hold another meeting of the Committee until January, 2014.
By that time, data security had failed repeatedly. MNsure’s executive director, April Todd-Malmlov had resigned. That’s after she took a 2-week vacation in Costa Rica with her lover. By the time the next hearing was held, thousands of dollars in bonuses had been paid to people who’d totally screwed up the system.
Then there’s this:
“I lament that I didn’t ask the simple question: Do we really have to do all of this by Oct. 1?” said MNsure Board Member Thompson Aderinkomi. “I should have asked.”
That’s stunning. This confirms my suspicion that MNsure Board members weren’t serious about administering the program. They were there because they were told to be there. Gov. Dayton didn’t pick serious people to administer the program. The DFL legislature wasn’t interested in conducting serious oversight hearings.
That’s how disasters happen.
“It was a very complex project and there was never enough time,” Dayton said. “I don’t know of anybody who wasn’t operating with good intentions and trying their utmost to make this as good as possible.”
That’s insulting. I don’t care if people were “operating with good intentions.” I’m just interested in fixing things. Gov. Dayton apparently thinks that it’s ok to screw up as long as people operate “with good intentions.” The thousands of people who received cancellation notices because their policies didn’t meet Obamacare’s standards don’t care if these people operated “with good intentions.” They just wanted a system that worked so they weren’t without health insurance.
Five state agencies were involved in the project, and they weren’t always working together. The contractors also were having trouble coordinating efforts, “putting the project at risk,” according to a December 2012 e-mail from MN-IT Chief Information Officer Tom Baden, who was overseeing the vendors’ work.
“Those items need to be addressed within a week or [Houston], we have a problem,” Baden said in his e-mail, sent to Todd-Malmlov and another state official.
E-mails and internal reports show a lack of coordination among various groups throughout 2013. Program managers openly fretted about not catching major problems quickly enough.
Gov. Dayton should be criticized for not getting the right people working urgently on fixing this crisis. Sen. Lourey and Rep. Atkins should be criticized for not being interested in making sure the building of the website was on schedule. Apparently, they thought their chief responsibility was to be MNsure’s cheerleaders, praising the work being done whether the project was a disaster or not.
In May 2013, the first outside audit was delivered, revealing MNsure was below standard on most of the 135 tasks under review. Only one category earned a passing grade — project cost. At the same time, federal officials found dozens of problems, concluding the state had “underestimated” the scope of the work.
This election season, the DFL will undoubtedly attempt to paint the picture that things couldn’t be better. They should be called out each time they try lying like that. Things aren’t rosy. The website has improved. The product is still terrible.
The TEA Party Nation’s endorsement of Julianne Ortman just shrinks TPN’s credibility. Here’s why:
She is running and has racked up an impressive series of endorsements. She has been endorsed by our friends at Tea Party Express, the Conservative Campaign Committee, Citizens United and most recently she was endorsed by Sarah Palin.
She is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-low taxes and perhaps most importantly in favor of a complete repeal of Obamacare.
Julianne “I’m in my comfort zone” Ortman isn’t pro-low taxes:
The TPN is entitled to their opinion. They aren’t entitled to their own facts. Saying that Ms. Ortman is pro-low tax is making up their own facts. Here’s the transcript to the video:
Sen. Tom Bakk: “Senator Ortman.”
Sen. Ortman: “Good morning Mr. Chair and members. Thank you for hearing this bill. This bill proposes a new tax. It’s the first time I’ve ever proposed a new tax, and so-“
Sen. Bakk: “How’s it feel?”
Sen. Ortman: “I definitely feel like I’m in the hot seat, but that’s alright. I’ve been a lightening rod before and I probably will be again. I’m back in a zone of comfort.”
What’s more important is that Ms. Ortman doesn’t believe in the free market:
But let’s be honest, 15% should be more than enough interest in an economy when banks can borrow at the federal funds rate (0.25%), and the prime lending rate hovers at 3%.
Who made Ms. Ortman the arbiter of free markets? The TEA Party activists I know and agree with would recoil if they heard Ms. Ortman’s statement.
Andy Parrish can brag about the endorsements but what he can’t do is honestly say that his candidate is a principled conservative. That’s because she isn’t a conservative. She’s a career politician with a moderate bent.
UPDATE: Just minutes ago, TEA Party Nation attacked me because I correctly stated that they aren’t intellectually honest. Here’s the text of their tweet:
@LFRGary If I had a nickel for every time a liberal told us we were losing credibility, we’d be rich.
If I had $1,000,000 for each time someone called me a liberal, I’d be worth $1,000,000.
Apparently, TPN isn’t interested in doing their homework. Calling me a liberal, which is what they just did, just isn’t credible. If TEA Party Nation had done their homework, they’d know I’m a rock solid conservative. Then again, if they’d done their homework and if they were intellectually honest, they’d know that Julianne Ortman selectively believes in free markets and low taxes.
TEA Party Nation is a high profile organization. In this instance, however, they aren’t intellectually honest.
There’s an old saying that what goes around comes around. That’s especially true for career politicians who adapt to different political climates by changing their positions on important issues. Grassroots activists and the media notice when you go from a moderate Republican who won’t repeal ObamaCare to a candidate who wraps herself in the Gadsden Flag while calling for the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Julianne Ortman, I’m looking at you.
Specifically, MinnPost noticed the difference between Sen. Ortman and Julianne Ortman, TEA Party activist wannabe:
“I’m not a full repeal person,” she told the Star Tribune in a September 2013 interview. In Tuesday’s debate, she joined her fellow candidates in calling for an end to Obamacare, with no exceptions.
It isn’t difficult to see the fact that Ms. Ortman isn’t a principled politician. Last summer, Ortman was proud to tell Tom Hauser that she wasn’t a full repeal person. She told him that the bill had been passed, that President Obama had signed the bill and that the Supreme Court had upheld the bill. Then she said the bill needed to be changed without saying what changes needed to be made.
The difference between Ms. Ortman and Mike McFadden is that she’s attempting to sound like she has a solution, whereas Mike McFadden stands proudly behind his solution:
Before we can make the kind of changes Americans deserve, we need to repeal the “Unaffordable Care Act” and replace it with a patient-centered, market-based solution that will lower costs and increase accessibility for all Americans. Minnesota has some of the best health care minds in the entire world. Instead of looking to bureaucrats in Washington, we can take charge and develop homegrown solutions for health care. By restoring power to the states, we can free Minnesota to become a laboratory for innovation and a standard-bearer for health care solutions that work.
Ms. Ortman didn’t change positions until after I’d exposed her as sounding like Al Franken. Quicker than you can say chameleon, Ms. Ortman changed her position. When blogger John Gilmore insisted that Ms. Ortman was a champion of full repeal of Obamacare, I reminded people that she’d consistently opposed full repeal with this quote:
“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.”
Actually, Plan A got somewhere. As a result of the pressure that House Republicans put on the Senate and the White House, President Obama has unilaterally and unconstitutionally changed the Affordable Care Act almost 40 times. Now Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s former press secretary, is telling the world that the Employer Mandate likely will never be implemented:
Julianne Ortman doesn’t take principled stands on the most important issues of the day. She’s shown that while being a state senator. Why think she won’t be more unprincipled if we send her to Washington, DC?
Saying that MNsure is an expensive failure is understatement. Here’s another example of how MNsure continues to be an expensive failure:
St. Paul- The Minnesota House of Representatives passed an ObamaCare bailout bill (HF 3172) Thursday by a vote of 70 to 59. In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton and Democrat lawmakers passed a budget that increases all-funds spending by $1,500 for every man, woman and child in Minnesota. This bill spends an additional $323 million in Fiscal Year 2014-15 and increases spending in Fiscal Year 2016-17 by nearly $1 billion. One of the largest expenditures in HF 3172 shifts money from the General Fund to fill a gap in the Health Care Access Fund that has been drained by ObamaCare in Minnesota.
That’s only part of the problem with Obamacare, aka the ACA. MNsure dramatically underperformed, despite the DFL’s attempts to characterize it as a great success. Here’s some statistical proof that it’s a failure:
Projected Enrollment in March 2013: 164,000 to 270,000
Revised Enrollment Goal in October: 69,904
Actual Enrollment: 47,046
Percentage Below March, 2013 Projection: 71% to 83% below projection
Percentage Below October, 2013 Projection: 33 percent below projection
Spending over $1,000,000,000 over the next 3 years on this bailout is immoral. That didn’t matter to the DFL, though. The DFL didn’t hesitate in foolishly spending the taxpayers’ money on this underperforming program. All that mattered to the DFL was that President Obama said that Obamacare is a rousing success. That’s all the DFL needed to hear to squander $1,000,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money.
Kurt Daudt summarized things perfectly:
“After historic increases in wasteful spending last year, Democrats proved once again they can’t stop themselves from wasting more tax dollars. This bill irresponsibly spends more than a billion dollars over the next four years and puts Minnesota at risk for future budget deficits to bailout the failed ObamaCare health law. ObamaCare has hurt Minnesotans with higher cost and fewer choices for health care, and now is hurting Minnesota’s budget,” said House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt (Crown).
Thanks to this foolish spending, Minnesota’s general fund budget spending will reach almost $39,000,000,000 for this biennium. Spending from the previous biennium was an already-too-high $34,000,000,000, an increase of almost $5,000,000,000. That’s a 12.5% increase in spending over the previous budget. Let’s remember that that budget was the biggest budget at the time.
Let’s be realistic. When the DFL was pushing HF5 down our throats, they said that 270,000 people would purchase qualified health plans through the exchange. They missed that figure by 223,000. That 47,000 figure is only 17.5% of 270,000.
Scott Leitz, Gov. Dayton and the DFL’s spinmeisters gleefully told Minnesotans that they’d exceeded their goal of 135,000 enrollments. What the DFL spinmeisters didn’t tell Minnesotans is that the vast majority of those enrollments were in the MinnesotaCare and Medicaid programs.
MNsure, aka Obamacare in Minnesota, is a failure. That’s why the DFL legislature just approved a $1,000,000,000 MNsure bailout for the next 4 years.
Successful programs don’t require $1,000,000,000 bailouts. Tell that to the DFL the next time you hear them brag about how successful MNsure is.