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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Congressman Lewis Lacks An Honest Assessment Of Healthcare

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 02/13/17 14:03

by Dave Mindeman

Jason Lewis likes to make blanket statements without any real facts to back it up. His latest is another doozy...

"Minnesota had one of the best insurance pools, high-risk insurance pools in the country and it was undone by the ACA."

Minnesota did have the best one....of really, really bad insurance options. High risk insurance pools are a last resort means to cover people who cannot get insurance any other way. Most of those were people who had pre-existing conditions with chronic illnesses before the ACA, and the insurance companies could refuse to insure them.

Minnesota's plan was a little better than most because the state backed it with a subsidy. In its final year of operation, it cost Minnesota $173 million to keep it afloat.

And when Jason Lewis says the MCHA was "undone" by the ACA - it is a little misleading. The situational facts are that MCHA was not needed anymore because pre-existing conditions was no longer a factor on who gets insured and Minnesota Care was expanded to cover the rest of those affected.

But Jason Lewis thinks that bringing the MCHA (a catastrophic insurance back-up) is the answer to repealing the ACA. He seems to be saying that the MCHA is better than the Affordable Care Act.

And let's be honest - that is flat out wrong.

The MCHA high risk pool had a wide variety of premiums....

Craig Britton of Plymouth was forced to buy MCHA coverage because of a pancreatitis diagnosis. He paid more than $18,000 a year in premiums.

I'm not sure how that fits into the affordable category. Britton was at the high end of the scale. But he was not alone on paying quite a bit more...

MCHA priced premiums for policy holders at 25 percent more than conventional coverage.

Frankly, this coverage had to cost more because the risk pool was limited to the chronically ill people who could not get insurance via the regular method.

Again, the MCHA was disbanded because the ACA moved all of those people into the general risk pool - and made subsidies available to them. Of course, that meant the insurance carriers had to spread that risk around and obviously, premiums for everybody went up....but that could have been less of a problem if the insurance companies had planned for it better and if Congress had not taken away the re-insurance option that would have paid for unexpected coverages beyond their assessments.

I don't know if Lewis fully understands what he is talking about in this regard because to think of the MCHA as a better option than the ACA is just false. The MCHA plans had high premiums, high deductibles and had few coverages for prevention and often no coverage for prescriptions drugs.

As a pharmacist, I often had to tell that an MCHA patient that their prescription was only a discount program and not actual insurance coverage. A $180 prescription would require $165 out of pocket. And most of those discount plans are offered without going through the MCHA.

So, Congressman Lewis, I hope we can get a more honest assessment of healthcare, from you, in the future, because if these high risk pools are your answer, then you really have no answer at all.
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Angie Craig Taking A Long Look - But Is Open To Another Run

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 01/20/17 18:07

by Dave Mindeman

I got a chance to talk with Angie Craig last night. She was at a party celebrating Sen. Greg Clausen's re-election win in November. It was good to see her so upbeat. She needed some time away from it all after the election but she told me that she sat down and analyzed the numbers and what it said was that Congressional District 2 is still winnable for Democrats.

Which led to the inevitable question, "would you run again?"

Her reply was not a firm yes or no, but rather the type of response from a person who doesn't want to make the commitment but is going to stay engaged enough to make that decision with readiness.

We talked some hypotheticals - she won't contribute her own money this time but still thinks she could raise $3 million if needed. She noted that during that first run, she had to invest in her name recognition - and she feels that was successful with an 80% name number at the end.

She also noted that her campaign seemed to be holding its own during the final campaign weeks, even though they could see Hillary's numbers on a downward trend. The campaign still thought they would pull it out, but the collapse (in general) occurred in the final days.

Angie is going to do what needs to be done during this next year. She plans to attend many DFL events across the District and she also plans to shadow our new Congressman and hold him accountable for his votes and rhetoric.

When a candidate loses a close campaign and has to evaluate whether there is enough energy and strength to do it all over again, it is difficult to make any kind of quick decision.

But Angie is leaving that door wide open - and plans to stay engaged and ready.
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Mandate?

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 01/02/17 13:04, Edited: 01/02/17 13:06

by Dave Mindeman

It is noteworthy that Republicans are publicly talking about how this election has given them a "mandate".

Jason Lewis is a little full of himself with this one....

"Trump shocked everybody. And again taking Democratic states. Keeping the Senate, keeping the House," (Lewis) said. "Now we've got a Republican president. That's a mandate. And so it means they've got to fulfill a mandate. They have to move on something and deliver. And that's as it should be."

Alright let's review....

1) Lewis won a previous Republican seat by only 6600 votes.

2) Trump won an electoral college victory - but he lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes.

3) Republicans had a net loss of 2 seats in the Senate.

4) In the House, the GOP had a net loss of 6 seats.

How in the world is that a "mandate"?

Of course, with Republicans...if they say it, it must be true.

Yes, the GOP will try to take advantage of this surprising full control of Washington. It is what they do. But the clear pattern with the GOP is that they always, always overreach.

They think they have a "mandate" to toss out Obamacare. Yet, many of the Trump voters depend on the ACA for their health care. And, lo and behold, the GOP do not have a clue as to how to replace it. Years of complaints but never, never, never offering a viable alternative.

They think they have a "mandate" to sweep out all those pesky regulations. While apparently feigning amnesia at the near financial debacle that came from deregulating the financial industry.

This election wasn't about mandates - it was about the frustration felt by rust belt voters. They just threw up their hands and decided that anything new will do - and Trump certainly is new. He is new to government, new to foreign policy, new to actually getting something done, and new to being a popular figure amongst the lowly peasants.

C'mon Republicans. Don't insult our intelligence with "mandate" talk. You will just do what you normally do - and you will lose that "mandate" in a heartbeat.

Go ahead - make our day.
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