If you haven’t read this yet – and it’s been circulating for the past week or so – then get on it.
Then we’ll have a conversation about why things like school massacres happen, and what we can do about it.
If you haven’t read this yet – and it’s been circulating for the past week or so – then get on it.
Then we’ll have a conversation about why things like school massacres happen, and what we can do about it.
Over at MPR, Tom Scheck brings us the latest DFL chanting point; the “links” between two GOP legislators (Rep. Gottwalt and Sen. Hann) who pushed a healthcare privatization bill in the last session, and the insurance industry.
State Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, led the GOP effort to cut spending in the state’s Health and Human Services budget when the Republicans controlled the Legislature. Now, both he and his Senate counterpart [Hann] have business links to the insurance industry, which has some other lawmakers asking whether the arrangement violates ethics rules.
This is a chanting point that the DFL’s been working up for a while here. The DFL’s beef is that…
…some Democratic lawmakers are raising questions about the arrangement.
“I can see why the owner of the business was pushing for the bill. It’s more business for him,” said Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville. “The fact that [Gottwalt] is now working for him, I’m disappointed in that.”
Health insurance brokers backed the legislation, championed by Gotttwalt’s counterpart in the other chamber, state Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie.
The incoming chairman of the House ethics committee, Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said: “If these are payoffs, then the ethics committee needs to look at it.”
And if there are not payoffs – and there aren’t – then will Huntley, Marty, and the idiot leftyblogger chanting point bots apologize to Hann and Gottwalt?
Read Scheck’s piece for the details.
But I have a few questions, here:
Who else are you going to have working on healthcare finance policy? A bunch of lawyers and social workers? Who knows the financial side of the healthcare industry better than people who, y’know, work on the financial side of the healthcare industry?
Aren’t we cherrypicking the outrage we choose to feed to the media, DFL? Shouldn’t we bar teachers from committees on education appropriations? . Union activists oughtta be at least recusing themselves from votes on Right to Work and unionizing daycare and personal care workers! Do we want lawyers writing laws? And don’t be trying to hide, there, Erin Murphy; I’m told you were the executive director of a nursing lobby group, and became the ranking DFLer on the Healthcare Committee. Or Ryan Winkler, who is employed (heh) at Ted Mondale’s government-data-mining software company, sounding off about legislation that’d involve another data-mining company?
Of course, the DFL finds these kinds of non-corrupt “corruption” all the time, while practicing it themselves.
If only we had some institution – maybe with printing presses and transmitters, and people whose job it was to run down little facts like this? Perhaps those people working for that institution could think of themselves as a holy, truth-seeking monastic order? Call themselves “high priests of gatekeeping”, perhaps?
Just a thought.
By the way – lost in the contrived, DFL-agenda-driven “hubbub”: the program that Gottwalt and Hann developed has been a huge improvement for the Minnesotans it was intended to serve. ”Healthy Minnesota” gives its participants vouchers enabling them to buy a standard insurance plan on the open market; it’s cheaper than UCare, and the participants get better, more personally-focused coverage than provided by the state. There are gaps – every insurance plan has ‘em – but it was, as advertised, a huge improvement over UCare at lower cost.
In other words, it’s a government program that does what it’s supposed to do, and saves money to boot.
But “big business” is invovled, and that thought apparently gives DFLers explosive diarrhea.
Dr. Peter Weiss on the scam of Obamacare’s “Free Annual Examination”:
I have now posted a notice in my office and each exam room stating exactly what Obamacare will cover for those yearly visits. Remember Obama promised this as a free exam — no co-pay, no deductible, no charge. That’s fine and dandy if you are healthy and have no complaints. However, we are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code, say, for rectal bleeding. This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code — insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code.
If you are here for that annual exam, you will not be covered if you want to discuss any new ailment or unstable condition. I cannot bait and switch to another code — that’s illegal. We, the physicians, are audited all the time and can lose our license for insurance fraud.
You, the patient, will then have to make a decision.
Do you want your “free” yearly exam, or do you want to pay for a visit which is coded for a particular, new problem? You can have my “free” exam if you only discuss what Obamacare wants me to discuss… If you are complaining of a new problem, then you have to reschedule, since Obamacare is very clear as to what is covered and what is not. Obamacare — intentionally — makes it as difficult to be seen and taken care of as possible.
It really is as cynical as its proponents always called Big Insurance.
Hey, who needs a “death panel” if people die waiting on an appointment?
A few quick facts:
So who’s going to be the big loser when the Democrats take control (Control! Of womens’ health!) of healthcare, and – inevitably – need to ratchet up the rationing?
Come on, be honest. Don’t you want the federal government to have a complete overview of health care? The potential rationality is stunning. And one thing in this emerging rationality is clear: Although women tend to love the notion of government control more than men do, it is women who will be told they’ll have to cut back. On treatments. And years. You know we’ve been taking more than our share.
Read the whole thing.
And remember the example whenever libs start yapping about people voting “against their own best interests”.
Obamacare won’t raise taxes on the middle class!
Just on big bad businesses, usually owned by “the 1%”!
And they’ll just eat those taxes, right?
Well, no – in a number of senses, you will.
Read this excellent piece in the PiPress and figure it out for yourselves.
It does not look good.
Years ago, my old friend Moonbeam Birkenstock – who is much farther left than I am to the right – announced, with great noise and fury, that he was through paying the portion of his taxes to the Feds that went to defense.
“I refuse to contribute to the US military, which exists only to murder children and bomb innocent people” bellowed Birkenstock as we talked at a party.
I grinned a smug grin, pulled a pocket-sized copy of the US Tax Code from my pocket, and announced “You are teh LIER!!! Nowhere in the IRS Tax code can you find a single reference to rifles or bombers or bombs or any sort of military hardware at all!”.
Moonbeam pulled a can of mace and gave me a long, wet blast in the face. And as I coughed and hacked and wiped tears from my eyes, I knew I deserved it.
Eric Austin is a liberal blogger from somewhere in central Minnesota. We’ve run into him before – in one case, admitting in an audio passage that he condoned the bullying of the child of a conservative legislator because, in his words (seriously – follow the link and listen to the audio, if you can stomach it – it may be one of the most vile, reprehensible things I’ve ever heard) her mother had voted against a bill making bullying gay kids extra special illegal.
But that was then. This is now. Perhaps Austin’s rhetoric has improved with time and maturity?
Local conservative layabout, Gary Gross, has been churning out quite a few posts since the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act is, in fact, Constitutional. Any one of those posts could be the subject of another episode of Gross Inaccuracies but who has the time to keep up with a single childless unemployed blogger who lives off the government he loathes.
OK, ixnay on the whole “improvement” and “maturity” thing, I’d say I’m curious how Mr. Austin thinks this sort of ugly, personal name-calling advances his, or any, argument…
…but I’m not curious. It’s easy. The fact is, it’s incredibly easy for Minnesota liberals to grow to what passes for “adulthood” these days – through their feminized public schools, a university system that marginalizes and expunges conservative dissent from the dominant narrative, and a media that accepts liberalism as the baseline for good and, via its leading figure Jon Stewart, “snark” as its main rhetorical cudgel – without having the foggiest idea how to debate a conservative, or even what real civilized debate is.
Which is why most liberals’ “arguments” start with ad hominem and tu quoque (“Look! My opponent said or did something that is inconsistent with something else he says or does! That invalidates his entire argument!”) and proceed through…
Today’s episode of Gross Inaccuracies concerns the most ludicrous of these most recent posts about how terribly awfully no good it is to now have Romneycare (oops, I mean Obamacare). Gross fawns over an exchange on Fox News between Sarah Palin and the token Democrat on the show about how there really are DEATH PANELS in the Affordable Care Act.
Here is the relevant part of the exchange from Palin:
There’s a faceless bureaucratic panel and the acronym is the IPAB and the I-P-A-B, what that will be is that is a board that will tell you, Bob, whether your level of productivity in society is worthy of receiving the rationed care that will be the result of Obamacare.
Now there is a board called the Independent Payment Advisory Board but its purpose isn’t anywhere close to what Palin suggests. The duty of the board is to find ways to keep Medicare spending from growing out of control. However, one of its provisions specifically states that it may not recommend “rationing” care.
Right. So – like my friend Moonbeam Birkenstock in the example at the top of this post, Palin has completely botched the entire factual basis of the argument…
…well, no. She has assigned a role to one piece of the bureaucracy that will be practiced by another piece of the bureaucracy. It might be a government agency, or as Austin notes from the
mandate tax law…
From the Affordable Care Act:
‘‘(ii) The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums under section 1818, 1818A, or 1839, increase Medicare beneficiary cost- sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co- payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria. [emphasis mine]
So what this means – if you accept it at face value – is that the law will not deal, in and of itself, with rationing. That can is being kicked down the road.
Which brings us to a key fact of this debate, one that Obama and Obamacare’s supporters either don’t know or don’t want you to know. It’s true that there will likely never be a room somewhere in northern Virginia with a brass plate on the door engraved with the title “Death Panel Conference Room”, and that nobody in whatever bureaucracy takes over Obamacare will have “Death Panelist” on their job description.
But in modern health
care insurance parlance, the term you look for is “Case Management” (sometimes “Care Management”). The term was spawned in the eighties, in the HMO industry, to cover the intersection of insurance, medicine and actuarial science. And it’s the part of the health care insurance industry that goes through the utterly rational process of answering the question “if we have one transplantable liver, do we give it to the 43 year old guy with the curable degenerative enzyme disorder whose productive life expectancy will be increased by (on the average) ten years, or do we give it to the 70 year old chain-smoking diabetic alcoholic who has already run past her life expectancy given her current state of health”
To the 43 year old who gets the liver, it’s how the system works. I suspect to the family of the 70 year old, the body that made that decision could be viewed as a “death panel”.
The facts, however, are…:
While Palin continues to use a lie that has been repeatedly debunked by fact checking organizations and was even named the Lie of the Year by one,
Not by “one” – by “Politifact”, which has been pretty well shown (via the “Lie of the Year” canard and some even more egregious episodes) to be less a “fact checking” organization and more a Democrat propaganda mill.
Austin takes issue with Gross’ explanation of the various bureaucratic roles involved, and reaches some conclusion:
Let’s take a couple things here, Gary. First, the Independent Payment Advisory Board doesn’t look at any “individuals” but rather looks at the Medicare system as a whole and it explicitly states in its mission that it shall not recommend “rationing” health care. Second, the phrase “quality adjusted life years” is not used ANYWHERE in the Affordable Care Act.
This, Austin calls a “lie”. At the most, of course, it’s an “error” – “Lying” requires some intent to deceive.
And, like my friend Moonbeam at the top of the story, the only immediate error (or, if you’re a liberal talking about a conservative, “lie”) is in mixing up different layers of administrators.
Sophistic niggling about different layers of the bureaucracy is the kind of thing that sends tingles up law students and bureaucracy-nerds’ legs. But in terms of the actual effect of Obamacare on real people, they’re all distinctions without differences. They are all parts of a system that will, inexorably, lead to increased shortage, hiked costs and diminished availability.
Which will be arbitrated by some body, somewhere.
And you can call it a “Case Management Process”, a “Death Panel”, or a “Happy Time Commission” for all anyone cares. The result in terms that real people, real taxpayers, care about is always, and can only be, the same.
And with those immutable facts in place, I suppose responding to dissent with snark and ad-hominem is better, to some, than just admitting you’re wrong and addressing that whole “why do you promote the bullying of children?” thing.
The biggest burden of Obamacare – one of the biggest entitlement programs in US history – will be borne by middle class taxpayers.
The “99%”. Or rather, the half of the 99% that pay taxes, and maybe then some.
The left will try to divert this, saying that the penalty for not buying insurance is, in and of itself, not the biggest tax increase in history. And they’re right.
But it’s not the only tax that Obamacare imposes, and imposes squarely on the middle, entrepreneurial and working classes.
Gary Gross notes that Obamacare is a 21 tax salute for Minnesotans:
That includes a job-killing (or at least job-deferring, which if your’e unemployed is the same as a job kill) .9% addition to the payroll tax to pay for Obamacare, as well as a tax on dividends.
All of which, let us not forget, defiers the one thing that actually can help America get on top of the heath care crisis – job creation and recovery from the Obama recession!
From SCOTUSBlog’s liveblog of the Obamacare decision:
The money quote from the section on the mandate: Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.
And so like any other unjust or intrusive tax, we need to aboliish it.
If this isn’t the call to wake up, organize Republicans and get to the polls to vote airtight straight tickets for conservatives who wijll win, and who will go to Washington focused like laser beams on expunging Obamacare, then nothing is, and this nation is doomed.
Remember when Obama’s career as a “Constitutional Scholar” was supposedly a signal qualification for his bid for the presidency?
As we career toward the Supreme’s – ahem, the “Death Panel’s” – decision on Obamacare, either does law professor Glenn Reynolds:
Perhaps if Obama had ever written any scholarly articles on the Commerce Clause, he’d have had a better understanding. But then, he never wrote any scholarly articles on anything. As former Obama colleague Richard Epstein said: “I like Obama but I reject the suggestion that he is an intellectual. He is an activist merely mimicking the mannerisms of an intellectual.”
Not that being an intellectual is especially a qualification for the Presidency either; career academic Woodrow Wilson was not only one of our most disastrous presidents ever, but one of the most disastrous leaders in world history, whose incompetence caused problems we’re still paying for in treasure and blood (although he’s criminally overrated by the same academy he sprang from).
But as to those who said Obama’s tenure as a “constitutional law professor” was some sort of dispositive qualification for office? Baked wind. A President needs to know the Constitution about as well as a good policeman. He’s got people to do the detail work.
Although with any luck, Obama’s going to need some new ones tomorrow.
The SCOTUS kicked the can for the Obamacare ruling down the road to next week.
Just keep repeating to yourself, Democrats: “Single-payer is the only option! Single-payer is the only option’! Single-payer is the only option“.
Joe Doakes of Como Park writes:
Obamacare is in trouble at the Supreme Court. Earlier this week, NBC spent an hour on middle-aged single adults needing long-term care, but having no insurance (and Medicaid doesn’t cover them) so they’re hogging hospital beds at enormously higher cost. One woman actually got sent to a nursing home in Poland and now she won’t be able to see her grandkids. Yesterday, MPR had an interview with some official from Colorado – same topic, same plight.
Same solution . . . everybody must buy health insurance so we can treat these people properly.
Never heard a word about this problem until the Supreme Court arguments went poorly for the Home Team – now they’re flogging the fierce moral urgency to treat a few cases as justification for sweeping aside centuries of precedent. The noble ends justify any ignoble means, it seems.
Ditto “Stand Your Ground”: the laws have been successful (or, perhaps better still, non-notable) throughout the US. But the Martin / Zimmerman case gets saturation coverage for two months – just as “Fast and Furious” seems poised to cause Obama some electoral damage?
And Liberals wonder why Conservatives think there is a liberal bias in the media. Ignore the tone and word choice in these stories, just look at the timing. Obamacare is in trouble, we’re flooded with sob stories. We’re not supposed to wonder at the timing? Dan Rather’s “fake but accurate” memos just happened to run exactly 2 months before the election? These stories just happened to run this week, by accident?
From Star Trek, The Next Generation:
Taurik: “Sir, I’m little puzzled. Why are we intentionally damaging the shuttlecraft ?”
Geordi: “We’re evaluating hull resiliency. Starfleet requires periodic testing.”
Taurik: “I see… I don’t believe I am familiar with that requirement.”
Geordi: “Probably because you are not a senior officer. Fire a shot over here.”
Taurik: “That would be consistent.”
Geordi: “Consistent with what?”
Taurik: “With making it appear that this shuttle had fled an attack.”
Geordi: “What makes you think that’s what we are doing?”
Taurik: “The pattern of fire you asked for is similar to what might result if the shuttle had fled an attacker while engaged in evasive maneuvers.”
Geordi: “It’s an amazing coincidence.”
Taurik: “Yes, sir. It is indeed. Shall we proceed with the testing?”
An amazing coincidence, indeed.
I’m just trying to figure who it is that doesn’t believe the media is biased, who should still be allowed to drive a car on the public freeway.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
I am willing to bet a crisp new $1.00 bill that Obamacare will be upheld in its entirety by the US Supreme Court.
The four liberal justices will say it’s fine – indeed, doesn’t go far enough.
The four conservative justices will say it’s abhorrent to the concept of enumerated powers and must be stuck down.
Anthony Kennedy will decide that ordinarily, the federal government can’t reach so broadly under its power to regulate interstate commerce. But he’ll find that the right to decide when and where to have a family is a Constitutional right and some people can’t afford birth control pills or abortions, so the entire nation can be forced to buy health care insurance in order to fund poor people’s birth control choices. In this one unique situation, the constitutional right to abortion is so important that any means the government uses to fund it, is justified.
5-4 to uphold.
Place your bets now.
No action on that bet.
It’s waaaaaay too plausible.
Last week, when I wrote about the stirrings of backlash on the part of some Catholic activists and Bishops over the Obamacare requirement that Catholic hospitals provide contraception and abortions, I expressed my doubt that mainstream Catholics really cared that much.
I got a few Catholics sounding off in my comment section that sounded a little more bellicose than I expected.
Chad the Elder over at Fraters – who is, unlike me, Catholic – is a lot less sanguine:
Many Catholics seem all too willing to erect their own wall between church and state and like to pretend that their politics has nothing to do with the Catholic Church and vice versa. The problem is that when the government breaks through that barrier and injects itself into the affairs of the Church by attempting to force it to accept policies that violate core tenants of its beliefs, the illusion of this happy little coexistence is shattered.
I’m not trying to be snotty, there – it’s a genuine question.
If people have little tangible investment in the practical results of religious freedom – if it’s more an intellectual and rhetorical parlor game than an immediate, vital part of their life – then will it “shatter” so much as “melt like stale jello?”
Well, at least it would be if the Church were more consistent and forceful in explaining exactly what is taking place and why it matters to American Catholics.
There’s that, too. Leaving aside that the laity themselves, to my observation, seem to think it’s an issue well above their pay grade, I have a strong hunch that a good chunk of the Catholic hierarchy is lukewarm on upsetting the progressive applecart.
For whatever reason, Elder’s observations seem to be in tune with mine:
My experience may not be typical, but so far little word of this current controversy has surfaced in our parish on any given Sunday. A few months ago, there was an insert in the bulletin that touched on it. Since then, nothing. No homilies, no presentations, no mention in the weekly bulletin. The only thing related to politics that has merited attention has been on the marriage front, with updates on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment appearing in the last few bulletins. But nothing on the Obamacare rules which are a direct threat to the freedom of the Catholic Church to exercise its religious beliefs.
In order for there to be action, there needs to be a call for it first. I fear that too many Catholic leaders are still reluctant to sound it.
And while I’m assured by many Catholic friends that some of the post-John-Paul-2 clergy is more conservative, I have serious questions as to whether that’s filtered down to an awful lot of lay Catholics and their immediate leadership. Chad’s observations don’t do much to dissuade me.
Of course, it’s similar in my own Presbyterian church (where, to be fair, the problem is opposite; an extremely liberal elected temporal leadership representing congregations that are frequently much more conservative.
Let’s ask some rhetorical questions.
Apropos nothing [*], Eric Austen from “Outstate Report” writes in re a piece by Walter Scott Hudson that appeared in True North and, in so doing, hits all four of the above in a piece called ”What Is This True North Contributor Suggesting? Denying Treatment To Those Unable To Pay?“.
For entertainment purposes, I’ll note (in red!) which of the four austen-tatious bits of rhetorical excess Austen is indulging in as we go through the article. Keep score at home!
(Yep – the title itself counts as [1, 2, 3 and 4], a rare quad-fecta!)
All in all this post from contributor, Walter Scott Hudson, is standard conservative rhetoric about how bad Obamacare is and how awesome it is that one Appeals Court in the United States [3 - of course there's "one" court; they dont' travel or rule in packs!] struck down its individual mandate. Yet there is an instructive piece that everyone ought to read and digest because it speaks to the extremism that has become mainstream conservative thought:
If a conservative orders a pizza in the woods, and Eric Austen isn’t there to hear it, is the conservative still “extreme?”
Sure – but only when you accept Austen’s loaded, strawman-via-framing premises.
He quotes Hudson:
In other words, citizens must be forced to purchase health insurance to pay for services which hospitals are forced to provide. Force begets force.
Solving every problem – from developing a Java widget to repairing society – requires thought on two levels; “Policy” – the theories, principles and goals you set to solve the problem, and “mechanism”, the mechanics and blocking-and-tackling that actually implement the Policy.
As a matter of libertarian-conservative policy, forcing people and institutions to do things is bad. The individual healthcare mandate has been spawning arguments for decades, long preceding Obama.
I know Walter Hudson. He’s a pretty libertarian guy, and it shows, as the quote continues:
This brings into question the whole notion of economic mandates. Clearly, despite the political class’s reverence for “compromise,” this is an either-or proposition. Either you believe people ought to be forced into economic transactions, or you don’t. The moment we accepted the premise that the needs of the sick and injured place some claim upon the property and labor of health care providers, we created the problem which the individual mandate is intended to solve.
Which refers to an iron-clad law of conservative policy; any government attempt to make something worth other than what people will naturally pay for it (in this case, free) has unintended (?) consequences.
Is Hudson suggesting that we shouldn’t force hospitals to treat the sick and injured if they are unable to afford treatment? That’s certainly how it reads to me [1, 3, 4].
And it’s expecting a bit much to ask Austen to read anything a conservative writes in the spirit in which it’s intended.
suggesting stating that the government’s attempt to force the availability of health care has the “unintended” consequence of making health care less affordable, and in turn “forcing” the government to coerce people into paying something other than they naturally would for health care -which, predictably, in turn, will cause other “unintended” consequences.
I’d also suspect Hudson knows there are better ways to treat the uninsured than compelling health care providers – some of them, anyway – to work for free. And there, you’re getting into “mechanism”, which is another entire discussion.
Modern conservatives, mostly in an attempt to oppose anything this President does [1, 2,3]…
Let’s stop to demand a little honesty from Austen, here; it’s not this President. It’d be any President that sought to nationalize a sixth of the economy, whether it was John Kerry or Ralph Nader or Algore or Hillary Clinton.
I’m going to add a little emphasis to this next bit:
…have taken their economic “freedom” message to an extreme as evidenced by this post. They know that without the individual mandate, bringing down health costs simply will not work in the free market UNLESS we make that market even more free and allow the denial of services to those who cannot afford them.
Rule of thumb: if you read any sentence that starts with an accusatory “they know that…”, demand to see evidence of clairvoyance.
Austen certainly can’t provide any. Conservatives know that health care can be made affordable; it won’t be easy, and it’ll upset the applecarts of a few entitled classes along the way, but it can be done. Aggressive use of self-managed care, health savings accounts, retail medicine, and de-emphasis on third-party money will bring down the cost; so will ditching some of the other – ta daaaa! – mandates that government has forced on providers (mandatory mental health coverage,
While it is certainly true that allowing the health industry to deny care to those unable to pay will bring down costs, I doubt very much that Americans would agree to such a society no matter how much “freedom” it brings.
But that’s not the society that Hudson – or any conservative – is asking people to agree to.
As a matter of principle – “policy” – we oppose mandates. We do favor – indeed, require – some creative thinking on how to solve the health insurance problem.
And if the best the left can do is concoct sinister motivations from context-mangled hijackings of high-level policy statements, then perhaps it’s time we got our shot; we can’t do any worse than the crowd in Washington, Saint Paul and everywhere else.
We really did.
“Socializing 1/7 of the economy”, we tried to tell the other 52-odd-% of you,”will screw up the economy even worse than it already is”.
And we were right:
Private-sector job creation initially recovered from the recession at a normal rate, leading to predictions last year of a “Recovery Summer.” Since April 2010, however, net private-sector job creation has stalled. Within two months of the passage of Obamacare, the job market stopped improving. This suggests that businesses are not exaggerating when they tell pollsters that the new health care law is holding back hiring. The law significantly raises business costs and creates considerable uncertainty about the future. To encourage hiring, Congress should repeal Obamacare.
Some of us are trying. We really are.
I’ve only run into Linda Berglin a few times. The long-time Legislative insider – nine years in the House, thirty more in the Senate – always seemed to me, an admittedly jaundiced observer, to be one of those legislators that sprouted roots in the Capitol.
Or, more accurately, sprouted roots in the majority caucus at the Capitol – where the power is.
Like Ellen Anderson last spring, Berglin has apparently tried life in the minority, and found it wanting.
State Sen. Linda Berglin announced Monday that she will leave the Legislature on Aug. 15, in the wake of her new job with Hennepin County.
The piece – from Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib’s Hot Dish blog – lets out one “moo” for which there is just not enough cow:
Berglin has served in the Legislature since 1972 and is one of the Capitol experts on the state’s health and human services system. She had a hand in shaping the system that created one of the healthiest states in the nation. For decades she has been respected and feared by both sides of the aisle and in the health care industry.
People like Rachel Stassen-Berger keep saying that like it’s a good thing.
Berglin was truly the mother of the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services as we have known it for the past thirty years; a place with bounding, skyrocketing spending, the place that has truly given baseline-budgeting a bad name and turned it into Target Number One for the GOP’s reform movement this past session. HHS’ increases have always been in the double-digits, biennium over biennium, while Berglin was one of its key legislative benefactors.
And since Stassen-Berger chose to phrase her piece the way she did, I have to ask; did the bureaucracy that Berglin helped build “create” Minnesota as a healthy state, as opposed to Minnesota’s fairly healthy ethnic majority (Minnesota and the low-tax, low-”service”, Berglin-free Dakotas perennially vie for healthiest states in the union) and better-than-average standard of living?
Correlation does not equal causation.
Well, it’s all water under the bridge now. Like her fellow legislative Ozymandias, Anderson, Berglin has decided the view from the basement – and being out of absolute power – doesn’t become her:
Since the last election, she was marginalized as Democrats lost the Minnesota Senate for the first time since she joined the Legislature…Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk said Republicans and Dayton administration officials were discussing the final health and human services legislative proposal.
“The governor’s office called and said ‘[Senate Majority Leader] Amy Koch wants you out of the room,’” Bakk said. “Linda doesn’t know why. But she’s incredibly knowledgeable.”
And, more germanely, she was part of the DFL’s no-ideas, all-stalling approach to the “negotiations”. She had no place in the discussion, because she was there to add absolutely nothing.
Still and all, with all that “incredible knowledge”, Hennepin County residents should be immortal soon.
Bon voyage, Sen. Berglin.
UPDATE: A legislative insider messaged me: “It’s no coincidence that this was the first time in 30 years Berglin wasn’t involved in HHS negotiations and there was reform.”
Man left to die, lies in Brit hospital for nearly half a day before being dragged away like a sack of garbage:
Nurses casually stepped over a patient as he lay dying on a hospital floor.
Peter Thompson, 41, was left in a corridor for ten hours before someone noticed he had passed away.
In a final act of indignity, hospital auxiliaries pulled his lifeless body across the floor in a manner his family described as like ‘dragging a dead animal’.
Just keep repeating it to yourselves, Dems; socialized medicine rocks.
I’m not sure what bugs me more about this Doug Grow column; the fact that he deemed a bit of screeching DFL illogic newsworthy, or that he doesn’t seem to realize that it’s screechingly illogical at all.
He’s writing about the MN Senate debate over a Human Services bill which would change the way the state delivers health care to the poor, from a bureaucratic entitlement to a voucher system.
Apparently, what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander.
That little truth came to light during Tuesday’s Senate debate over health care for the poor.
Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, introduced one of the GOP’s plans for cutting Human Services costs by taking about 15,000 single adults out of MinnesotaCare and giving them vouchers so they can buy their own health insurance.
Hann sang the praises of the bill: It will save the state money. It will give the poor more choices. It will improve the health care of the poor. It will get government out of health care. It’s the American way!
No sarcasm clogging Grow’s keyboard there. Nosirree Bob! It’s the Twin Cities Media way! All them poor folks is too dumb to take care of themselves!
But that’s not really the issue here:
Then, Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, rose to speak. She offered a simple amendment to this GOP plan.
She said her amendment would require legislators to test the plan for two years, before the poor were forced into it.
“I hear what a wonderful deal this is for people,” Goodwin said. “We can determine if this plan is working as it should.”
Amendment greeted with silence
For a moment, you could have heard a pin drop in the Senate chambers. What? Us on this plan?
When columnists try to play mind-readers, it’s pretty my much their own minds they end up reading. Because I know that if I’d been sitting in that Senate chamber, I’d have been quiet, myself. But not from taking offense at someone thinking I’d dream of being lumped in with the hoi-polloi.
No, it’d be because I’d be wondering…:
Doubt it’d be fit all that into a politic statement if I didn’t have the floor.
A rookie senator, Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, stood, clearly offended by Goodwin’s amendment.
“We’re citizen legislators,” she said, adding that she’d waived her right to receive the health insurance benefits that most legislators receive.
After proclaiming her own goodness, she attacked the Goodwin amendment.
One wonders if Grow would ever call a DFLer a “Rookie”, or write off their defense as “proclaiming their goodness”.
“Political tomfoolery,” Hoffman said.
Again there was silence in the Senate. It had been years since anyone had heard the expression “tomfoolery.”
And later, Goodwin said that “tomfoolery” had never been applied to her before.
If “tomfoolery” means ‘incapable of carrying on a logical argument”, I’ll be it has.
Anyway, here’s what they’re arguing about;
Back up for a moment and look at the plan Hann sings the praises of but — as it turned out — wouldn’t want for himself.
Single working adults who have incomes of between 133 percent and 250 percent of poverty-level would no longer be covered by MinnesotaCare, the publicly subsidized health insurance program for the working poor that’s been in existence since 1990. Under MinnesotaCare, low-income working people pay premiums on a sliding scale based on ability to pay.
The Republican plan would force those earning between $14,400 and $30,000 off MinnesotaCare and into the “free” market. With the help of state vouchers, they could select the health insurance they want for themselves.
Hann says that by “allowing” these people to go into the free market, the state would save $100 million per biennium.
And since they’re “single, working” adults – unlike Grow, I’m using using scare quotes in place of an actual argument – it seems like a great compromise. Grow’s, and Goodwin’s, only argument seems to be that Senators don’t want to trade their current plans for it.
By that “logic”, Goodwin and Grow should both shut up and go on welfare, including MNCare.
Socialized medicine in the UK is broken…and it took them sixty years to figure it out.
As the House moves to repeal the nationalization of health care, Britain plans to take a scalpel to its National Health Service, opening it up to competition and letting doctors and patients call the shots.
Geez. We hardly allow that now.
It was both a stunning admission and a damning indictment of socialized medicine when British Prime Minister David Cameron in effect admitted that the holy grail of nationalized health care, the British National Health Service (NHS), was broken and in need of fixing.
While critics of his plan are already saying it could lead to backdoor privatization of the NHS, Cameron stopped short of suggesting that is his aim. Founded in 1948, NHS could be called the “third rail” of British politics akin to our Social Security.
Which is what will happen to Obamacare if allowed to progress against the will of most Americans. It reminds me of one of my financial planning tenets: A luxury becomes a necessity twenty four hours later.
“We need modernization on both sides of the equation,” he said in his speech. “Modernization to do something about the demand for public health service, and modernization to make the supply of health care more efficient, which is about opening up the system, making it more competitive, cutting out waste and bureaucracy.”
ObamaCare promises exactly the opposite, increasing demand and coverage to the point of collapsing the system, taking decisions out of the hands of physicians who promise to quit in droves and putting it in the hands of a regulatory behemoth that decides who gets what care and when.
“Paging Doctor Dover.”
“Paging Doctor Ben Dover.”
Real Minnesotans will be protesting Dayton’s Medicare boondoggle – committing Minnesota to $200 million a year in permanent in entitlement spending in exchange for a one-time (maybe) shot of money from other taxpayers around the country.
Meet at 9AM at (at last word) Room 125 in the Rotunda. The actual protest will be at 9:30 in the Governor’s lobby, where the boondoggle will be signed.
Wish I could be there.
“Debating [Obamacare], I don’t think that’s going to sit very well with the electorate”.
– Amy Walter, ABC News
Ms. Walter: You are clearly from Planet Cambridge.
You do recall a bit of an election two months ago? Biggest flip in 72 years in Congress – bigger than ’48, bigger than ’94, bigger than even ’74?
I think it’s going to “sit” just fine with the American people.
(Yeah, of course I know – this is just part of the PR drumbeat that the mainstream media is going to put down to try to defend Obama. Call it the “don’t believe what your eyes, ears and vote totals tell you, the truth is what we say it is”. Kind of like the Humphrey Poll and the Minnesota Independent).
Governor Dayton, as his first “substantial” act as governor, is going to put the state on the hook for hundreds of millions in permanent entitlement spending in exchange for thirty pieces of silver a short-term federal subsidy.
Twila Brase of the Citizens Council for Health Freedom writes:
On Tuesday, January 4th Wednesday, Januaray 5th at 9:30 a.m. Governor Mark Dayton is holding a special Obamacare signing ceremony to implement the federal law’s Medicaid expansion program.
So why protest?
The Medicaid expansion program funded by $1.4 billion federal taxpayer dollars will cost the State (YOU) $188 million in state taxpayer dollars. Federal dollars eventually disappear leaving Minnesota on the hook for all the newly entitled. The program is expected to increase Minnesota’s Medicaid population by 21% (163,000 people)…Other states have sued to stop the Obamacare Medicaid expansion mandate…Governor Dayton plans to implement it.
If you listen to the media or the leftyblogs, they make it sound like the $1,4 Billion is going to answer a lot of long-term problems. It’s not – and the DFL and Dayton want to turn the short-term windfall into another never-ending obligation.
Just like they did with every single “surplus” from 1990 to 2002.
The protest will be in the Rotunda Room 130 of the State Capitol, the governor’s Lobby. Please try to meet in Room 123, right off the Rotunda, by 9:00AM. .
…for attorneys and consultants that is.
As for the rest of you, not so much.
Barack Obama just finished a summit with twenty US CEO’s urging them to get off the sidelines, spend their hoards of cash and start hiring.
President Barack Obama pressed 20 corporate chief executives Wednesday to suggest policies that would spur them to “start investing in job creating enterprises.”
Hey Barry, I got an idea for you if they didn’t come up with it: ask congress to repeal what is left of your shitty health care reform bill.
Big employers faced with incorporating the first round of health-care changes next month are grappling with how to comply with the long list of new rules.
Many companies are hiring consultants to help sort though the mountain of new mandates, which include extending dependent coverage to children up to age 26, and may eventually result in covering more employees. Some are also considering changes to their plans—including pushing costs to workers.
Might they have instead invested these resources in job creating enterprises or hiring new employees?
Maybe, just maybe had you focused on jobs instead of ramming socialized health care down America’s throat you wouldn’t be in such a pickle. How’s that national unemployment rate going for you Barry? Are you excited about your chances in 2012?
It’s funny how liberals do everything they can to short circuit capitalism and then ask the capitalists to clean up their mess.
And in the end, those they claim to serve end up paying the price via lost jobs, wages, or both.