This morning, I paid a quick visit to Zach Dorholt’s priorities page to see what
Tina Flint-Smith Alida Messenger told him he believes. Earlier this week, at the St. Cloud Times-sponsored candidate forum, Dorholt said that he’d support a single-payer health care system. That was startling news to most of his constituents.
It’s startling because Dorholt avoided talking about the subject on his priorities page. On Dorholt’s priorities page, he said “As someone who works in the healthcare field I regularly see issues that if reformed, could make healthcare more efficient and affordable. Too many policies are made in St. Paul without the guidance of those who actually work with patients on a day to day basis. When elected, I will work to make sure that healthcare remains accessible and affordable to all of our citizens and that we get our fair share of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from Washington.”
First, it’s noteworthy that Dorholt is an ideologue first. It’s incidental that he works “in the health care field.” Further, it’s noteworthy that working in the health care field doesn’t automatically make you an expert on health care policy. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t have health care professionals on the MNsure board. I’m just arguing that we shouldn’t just pick someone for the board because they work in the health care industry.
Next and most importantly, Dorholt’s a little late in saying he’d “make sure that healthcare remains accessible and affordable to all our citizens.” The premiums in the individual market aren’t affordable. That isn’t just my opinion. It’s also Gov. Dayton’s opinion (sometimes) and Bill Clinton’s opinion:
It’s worth noting that Gov. Dayton initially said that the Affordable Care Act wasn’t affordable 2 weeks ago. This week, he’s written an op-ed saying things aren’t so bad. I’m betting that Hillary’s campaign called him and lectured him on saying something like that.
Finally, Dorholt can’t admit that the system Minnesota had prior to Obamacare/MNsure, complete with its high-risk pool, did a fantastic job insuring people with pre-existing conditions while keeping health insurance premiums for healthy people relatively stable. I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it here: the federal government should’ve modeled their plan after Minnesota’s system. Unfortunately for Minnesota, our senators crumpled like spineless wimps and voted to destroy Minnesota’s system.
Right after the Orlando night club bombing, US House Democrats pushed a bill that sounded logical but that would’ve violated Americans’ civil rights. That bill was called No-Fly, No-Buy. During the Pelosi sit-in, Rep. Nolan took to the microphone and said “I represent rural communities in northeastern Minnesota. Everybody in my neighborhood has shotguns and deer rifles – including me. I’m proud to strongly support the Second Amendment. But the fact is, when you’re out duck hunting, you can only have three shells in your gun. Why? To protect ducks! That’s right; we put limits on guns to protect ducks. So why can’t we do the same for our elementary schoolchildren? For our friends and neighbors in places of worship? For our families who want to catch a Friday night movie? For our LGBTQ community who just want to go out for some fun and dancing on a Saturday night? Surely they deserve the same concern and safety that we afford to ducks.”
This is proof that Rep. Nolan is either an idiot or incredibly dishonest or perhaps a little of both. Stewart Mills’ latest videotape highlights what’s wrong with Rep. Nolan’s thinking (if it can be called that):
Here’s a partial transcript of Stewart’s video:
One of his initiatives is called No Fly, No Buy. It sounds simple enough, until you understand that if you find yourself on the secret government no-fly list, they can take away your Second Amendment rights. There’s no evidence that this unconstitutional proposal, based on an arbitrary set of secret government lists, would have prevented any of the recent terrorist attacks here on US soil. No Fly, No Buy is an assault on your constitutional rights. Not only does it violate our Second Amendment. It also violates our Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Government can’t take away our rights without due process. Period. Our Second Amendment rights are just as sacred as our First Amendment rights to free speech, to assembly and to religion.
Rick Nolan’s speech is a display of Rep. Nolan’s apathy towards the Constitution’s protections.
As for Rep. Nolan’s statement that he strongly supports the Second Amendment, the truth is that he protects a liberal’s definition of the Second Amendment. That’s a warped interpretation of the Second Amendment. Further, it’s totally apparent that Nolan isn’t fighting for our Fifth and Fourteenth amendment protections.
Technorati: Rick Nolan, Nancy Pelosi, Gun Control, No Fly, No Buy, Democrats, Stewart Mills, Second Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Civil Rights, Constitution, Republicans, Election 2016
The St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids school districts sit side-by-side geographically. Despite that geographic closeness, they’re heading in opposite directions enrollment-wise. Kirsti Marohn’s article on the Sauk Rapids school district shows a vibrant, growing district. Jenny Berg’s article tells the story of a stagnating, shrinking district.
Marohn wrote that as of Oct. 1, “the district’s total enrollment is 4,459, up from 4,294 at the end of last school year. That’s an increase of almost 4 percent.” Berg wrote that “The number of elementary students attending St. Cloud schools dropped by approximately 10 percent from last year’s numbers, according to enrollment data released by the district Thursday.”
Additionally, Marohn wrote “The growth is due to a combination of higher birth rates in the Sauk Rapids-Rice area new families moving into the district and students from other districts choosing to attend Sauk Rapids-Rice schools through the open enrollment option, Bittman said. A demographer’s report predicted the district will grow by as much as 17 percent n the next five to 10 years.”
Then there’s this:
Januszewski predicted Tech would gain even more students in the coming years if the referendum passes and a new school is built on the south side of town. The new school would most likely lure students from other districts, he said.
That’s wishful thinking. People are moving into the Sauk Rapids-Rice district in droves. They don’t have a shiny new building. What’s attracting these students to the district? It might be that parents are using open enrollment to abandon the St. Cloud district’s sinking ship.
This article by Tom Steward of the Center for the American Experiment highlights how corrupt the DFL and SEIU is. At the heart of the matter, personal care attendants, aka PCAs, are trying to decertify the SEIU.
Steward writes “Minnesota Personal Care Attendants (MNPCA) are suing the State of Minnesota for undermining its drive to decertify the Service Employees International Union by failing to provide up-to-date lists of PCAs as required, the coalition of home care workers and advocates today announced at a State Capitol press conference.” The SEIU has a perverse incentive for not wanting the PCAs to get up-to-date lists from the Dayton administration.
According to the article “SEIU is estimated to receive as much as $4.7 million in annual revenue from the PCA program.” That’s exceptionally perverse considering that Kris Greene, a PCA from Lakeville, said “I don’t need a union to help me take care of my daughter. And I don’t need a union taking three percent of our money,” Decertification is the only way to get the SEIU out of our homes and wallets!”
Simply put, the SEIU wouldn’t care about these PCAs if they weren’t lifting $4.7 million from their wallets. Ms. Greene is right, too, in saying that she doesn’t “need a union to help” her take care of her daughter.
This is telling:
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota established the union with the votes of 13 percent of the estimated 27,000 home-based PCAs in Minnesota at the time.
That sounds like a rigged election. The DFL is constantly harping about suppressing votes. This time, they didn’t, though that’s understandable. The truth is that SEIU Homecare and the DFL love rigged elections if it puts $5,000,000 into the DFL’s campaigns each cycle.
“Our impression after contacting thousands of PCAs around the state is that they just did not know about the election, and many still do not know they are being represented by the SEIU,” said Kim Crockett, Vice President and Senior Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. “If successful, it may be the largest decertification in U.S. labor history.”
If the MNPCA gets an up-to-date list of PCAs, those PCAs will decertify SEIU Healthcare in a heartbeat. This isn’t what the PCAs wanted. It got shoved down their throat. Expect a similar result to this decertification vote, if it happens, as the vote by in-home child care providers to reject unionization by AFSCME. Those in-home child care providers rejected unionization by a vote of 1,014-392.
Last week, Gov. Dayton said that the ACA was unaffordable. This week, in Gov. Dayton’s Strib op-ed, he’s insisting that things really aren’t that bad, saying most people “will NOT see actual health insurance increases of 50 percent or more, because many people, who buy their policies through MNsure, will receive federal tax credits that will significantly lower their costs.”
Gov. Dayton, if these subsidies “significantly lower” health insurance premium costs, why did you insist that the “Affordable Care Act isn’t affordable” anymore? We know you said that because it’s captured in this video:
Gov. Dayton’s most stunning admission in his op-ed is when he said “And while it is true that the Minnesota Department of Commerce finally “approved” the health insurers’ rate increases and enrollment caps, that approval was required to prevent those companies from following Minnesota Blue Cross Blue Shield and major insurers in other states from pulling entirely out of the individual market. Their departures are forcing about 2 million people in 32 other states to also find new coverage.”
That’s admitting that the major insurance companies will pull out of the individual markets if they aren’t granted major premium increases each year! It’s worth noting that Sen. Rubio forced this by getting a bill passed that ended insurance company bailouts. Think about that. President Obama knew that his signature achievement would bankrupt insurance companies if it didn’t have a bailout provision in it.
Compare that with Minnesota prior to Obamacare/MNsure. Minnesota virtually eliminated the uninsured by establishing a high-risk pool in 1976. Thanks to that system, Minnesota’s uninsured rate was a paltry 7.2% in 2007. Last week, I wrote this post, noting that the national uninsured rate was 15.5%.
Gov. Dayton and the DFL enthusiastically passed MNsure when the DFL controlled the legislature and Dayton was the DFL governor. In his op-ed, Gov. Dayton insists he needs an all-DFL legislature:
I ask you to vote for two years with DFL majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate, in order to fulfill my pledge to you: A Better Minnesota.
Minnesotans, the last time we had a DFL governor and DFL majorities in the House and Senate, we got a Senate Office Building for fat-cat politicians and skyrocketing health insurance premiums. Exploding health insurance premiums and a $90,000,000 building for fat-cat politicians isn’t taking us in the right direction. I’m betting people think that that’s taking Minnesota in the wrong direction.
Finally, Gov. Dayton, if things aren’t that bad, why are you, Rep. Thissen and Commissioner Rothman calling this a crisis?
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Paul Thissen, Mike Rothman, Individual Market, Minnesota Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Special Session, Barack Obama, Obamacare, Insurance Company Bailouts, DFL, Marco Rubio, MCHA, High Risk Pool, Kurt Daudt, MNGOP, Election 2016
It’s a certainty that Paul Thissen will either lie outright or, at minimum, exaggerate when talking about MNsure. Thissen’s op-ed in the Winona newspaper contains such an exaggeration.
In Thissen’s op-ed, the leader of the DFL in the House said “One of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act forbids insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. This has helped dramatically reduce the number of uninsured Minnesotans, which means fewer uninsured Minnesotans are receiving care in emergency rooms — the most expensive form of health care (which is paid for by all of us).”
Actually, the ACA didn’t help “dramatically reduce the number of uninsured Minnesotans” because Minnesota already had a great system for insuring people with PECs. It was called MCHA, aka the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association. MCHA was eliminated when MNsure was created. MCHA was a high-risk pool that took in people who had applied for health insurance but were rejected because they had a pre-existing condition. It was a guaranteed issue plan.
As a result of MCHA, Minnesota’s uninsured rate in 2007 was 7.2%. In 2012, Minnesota’s uninsured rate had dropped to 5%. It’s impossible to honestly say that the ACA helped “dramatically reduce the number of uninsured Minnesotans” when the number of Minnesotans who were uninsured was microscopic. If Rep. Thissen had been honest, he would’ve said it marginally helped “reduce the number of uninsured Minnesotans” but that isn’t how Rep. Thissen operates. It’s all exaggeration all the time with Rep. Thissen.
Here’s something else that Rep. Thissen said that’s false:
But a consequence has been more high-cost patients in the individual market, many more than insurers anticipated. Additionally, the cost of health care continues to rise. The escalating price of prescription drugs and other procedures is driving up the cost of health care for everyone, whether they are on the individual market or receiving insurance through their employer.
That isn’t true. Republicans predicted this exact scenario. They predicted that young people wouldn’t sign up for health insurance because it was too expensive. Republicans predicted that the people who signed up were people who had the biggest health issues. They were right.
Rep. Thissen is right that “prescription drugs and other procedures is driving up the cost of health care for everyone” but that was true prior to the ACA. The premium spikes in the individual market are directly attributable to the ratio of people who use health insurance a lot and the people who don’t use it often.
Obama, Gov. Dayton and the DFL needed lots of young healthy people to buy insurance. They didn’t. They were threatened with fines and the young people said ‘no thanks.’ The DFL tried enticing them with subsidies. Young people still said no thanks. A product must be terrible when people won’t buy it even when the government holds a gun to their heads. This paragraph is especially infuriating:
Second, we must stabilize the individual market. Scrapping MNsure entirely, as Republicans have favored, would not solve the underlying instability of the individual market. Rather, we should consider Minnesota-driven solutions. For example, to reduce costs we could spread the cost of the sickest Minnesotans across a larger group of Minnesotans through a reinsurance fund. We could also improve competition and choice by allowing Minnesotans to purchase insurance directly through MinnesotaCare regardless of income. It would be naïve to say this is an easy problem to solve. We should work together as Democrats and Republicans to solve it.
At the time that MNsure was created, Republicans tried getting the DFL to not eliminate MCHA. The DFL didn’t listen. Now that there’s a crisis that threatens the DFL’s stranglehold on St. Paul, Rep. Thissen is praising the reinsurance plan.
Democrats will always do the right thing — when it’s the only option left. Even so, lots of DFL legislators, including Zach Dorholt and John Marty, are pushing single-payer health insurance. Simply put, the DFL can’t be trusted to do the right thing with health insurance.
There’s never been any doubt that Stewart Mills didn’t like Obamacare. That disapproval comes through vividly in a recent conversation with a small business owner who will be one of Mills’ constituents if he’s elected.
Before I get into the video’s content, it’s important that we put into context Mills’ opponent, Rick Nolan. Nolan unapologetically favors a government-run single-payer health system. At a recent debate, Nolan “doubled down on the Affordable Care Act, saying he favored movement toward a single-payer universal system.” Meanwhile, “Mills punctuated his opposition to Obamacare and preference for privatized health care by saying poignantly enough, ‘Just being insured doesn’t mean you have access to health care.'”
Mills is on firm footing with that statement. Many of the policies that are getting written have huge premiums and even higher deductibles. Often, families have to spend tens of thousands of dollars of their own money before the insurance company pays out a penny. Even then, the health insurance companies still lose money.
Nolan has consistently portrayed Stewart Mills as a rich fat-cat that’s out-of-touch with the Eighth District. Nolan’s campaign is best described as all class warfare all the time. There’s no substance to Nolan’s campaign. This videotaped conversation between Stewart Mills and Butch Karcher of Karcher Foster Services is particularly impacting if you have an open mind:
Anyone that can watch that video with an open mind has to admit that Nolan’s characterization of Stewart Mills is an outright lie. Not only isn’t Stewart Mills not out of touch with the average person. Mills is actually an expert on health care. Meanwhile, Nolan is just a mean-spirited, dishonest ideologue on the subject. Watching the entire videotaped interview is instructive, especially if compared with the intellectually wimpy stuff Nolan puts in his videos.
Recently, a memo was sent out talking about the need for SCSU to embrace “diversity and encourage the celebration of multicultural traditions.” The email says that “two Meditation and Prayer Rooms are available on campus to students, faculty, staff and visitors for reflection, prayer and meditation. The rooms, located in Atwood Memorial Center and the Miller Center, are open to all and cannot be reserved.”
While that sounds fine, what LFR has learned is that Semya Hakim, a Human Relations and Multicultural Education professor and adviser to the Muslim Student Association, pushed this initiative. LFR has also learned that SCSU has spent over $11,000 thus far on the prayer and meditation room in Miller Center and that that price will definitely go higher. Prior to Prof. Hakim’s intervention, SCSU showed no signs of caring about religious diversity.
Considering Prof. Hakim’s background as an adviser to the Muslim Student Association and their ties to CAIR, it isn’t exactly a stretch to think that Prof. Hakim wasn’t that worried about the civil rights of people of other faiths.
In this article about CAIR, Hakim said that the definition of Islamophobia is the “extremely strong dislike or fear of Islam and the people who practice it.” Prof. Hakim then said that Jaylani Hussein’s talk would “likely talk about definitions of Islamophobia, incidents that have displayed it and what people can do in response.”
SCSU is running another deficit this year, especially since headcount enrollment dropped another 2.4% this semester. The fact that budgets were cut while this project was approved is disturbing. It’s disturbing that SCSU put a higher priority on displaying their diversity than they put on getting the University’s finances in order. Unfortunately, it isn’t surprising.
It’s unfortunate that the special interests run SCSU. Until it changes, its struggles will continue.
The biggest things I took away about Dan Wolgamott, the DFL-endorsed candidate for SD-14, from yesterday’s candidate forum is that he’s an empty suit and that he’s prone to talking himself in circles. On the subject of transportation, for instance, his opponent, Jerry Relph, said he opposed raising the gas tax as the solution to fixing Minnesota’s roads and bridges because it isn’t a stable funding source. Relph added that the gas tax might be used as a patchwork to fixing roads and bridges.
When it was Wolgamott’s turn, he said that raising the gas tax wasn’t his first choice, either, for the same reasons. Wolgamott added that there’s no disputing the fact that Minnesota’s lagged in investing in transportation. Wolgamott then said that he has the ability to bring people together (one of his go-to lines when he’s grasping for what to say next) before finishing by saying that all options have to be on the table, including raising the gas tax. If it doesn’t provide a stable funding source, it doesn’t have to be kept on the table.
There’s no doubt that, if given the time, Wolgamott would talk himself into opposing the gas tax increase again.
On a health care question that I submitted, Wolgamott said that “There’s been a lot of boogey-manning going on about MNsure” before saying “we’ve got to take immediate action to help these families who are in these situations.” No kidding, Captain Obvious. Premiums are increasing by 50%-67% and Wolgamott says that “we’ve got to take immediate action to help these families who are in these situations.” Unfortunately, he didn’t admit why they’re increasing that much.
Perhaps that’s because Wolgamott doesn’t want to admit that the DFL screwed things up by moving away from the system they had that was working. Perhaps it’s because he isn’t bright enough to figure that out.
Warren Bradbury’s LTE highlights the fact that the DFL thinks voters are stupid. Bradbury said that “There was no stalemate on funding vital transportation programs.” That’s technically true because the DFL legislature totally ignored transportation issues when they controlled the legislature.
The DFL ignored transportation issues because they were too busy passing a bill to build a $90,000,000 office building for fat-cat politicians. The DFL ignored transportation issues because they were too busy imposing tax increases on farmers and businesses with warehouse operations. The DFL ignored transportation issues because they were too busy shoving unionization down the throats of in-home child care providers.
Then-Rep. Dorholt voted for each of those things in his first year. In his second year, after getting blistered by his constituents for his votes on raising taxes, he voted to repeal the tax increases he voted for in his first year.
This LTE says “As state representative from 2013-2014, Zachary Dorholt balanced the budget, got all our district bonding bills passed and reduced local school tax burdens through increasing state funding.” Actually, then-Rep. Dorholt didn’t reduce “local school tax burdens.” I know because I wrote this post to highlight how Dorholt failed to lower property taxes:
St. Cloud school district has imposed its largest tax levy increase in six years for 2015. The district’s property-tax levy will increase by $3.3 million, or 14.75 percent, to nearly $26 million. The school board voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the 2015 levy. District officials say the increase is needed to pay for a spate of improvements to facilities.
This LTE is dishonest, too:
Zach has worked diligently for the people of this legislative district, and, with your help, we can return him to finish this good work, and continue to move our state forward.
This is what that paragraph looks like if written truthfully:
Zach has worked diligently for the union special interests. He ignored in-home child care providers who opposed forced unionization, instead siding with the unions that contribute thousands of dollars to his campaigns.
The forced unionization bill passed on a straight party-line vote, with Dorholt voting with AFSCME. This past March, in-home child care providers told the DFL that they thoroughly rejected the DFL’s forced unionization:
In the end, in-home child care providers rejected AFSCME’s forced unionization plan. In fact, the vote wasn’t that close. According to this article, the ‘vote was 1,014-392 in a Tuesday count by the state Bureau of Mediation Services from ballots mailed to providers last month.”
The truth is that Dorholt is a special interest magnet. He wouldn’t have gotten elected if not for his campaigns being funded and run by the DFL’s special interest allies. A quick glance at Dorholt’s campaign finance report highlights the fact that Mr. Dorholt is bought and paid for by the unions: