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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

MN House Targets Protest

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 02/22/17 16:21

by Dave Mindeman

The Minnesota House Republican protest bill is wrong in so many ways.

To single out protesters in a public safety context is ridiculous. Personally, I don't condone blocking freeways. It is dangerous and shouldn't happen. But I understand the need to get people to pay attention.

But the real thing is this. Any blocking of the freeway for any reason is already illegal. It already has consequences. Years ago, truckers were protesting increased fees and did convoys that slowed interstate traffic to a crawl. The police charged people. They made arrests. It was difficult to break this up, but nobody said it was NOT a public safety issue.

And, we did not suddenly bring forth legislative bills to specifically ban such a practice.

So why are we doing it here? As well as a few other states?

It is because Black Lives Matter was involved. It is just another discriminatory action by Republican majorities. And that is wrong.

There should be no law that targets suppression of protest - and believe me, that is what is happening here, because the debate on this bill specifically targets protesters with penalties that are unsustainable - and probably would never hold up on appeal.

Rep. Pat Garofalo and Rep. Kathy Lohmer are the main proponents. Here is Garofalo's reasoning....

Garofalo repeatedly said he was concerned about ambulances not being able to reach hospitals, in addition to the risk to both protesters and drivers on the high-speed routes. Garofalo did add, "I would be open to conversation to making sure this is focused on corridors of commerce, freeways and freeway ramps."

We already have laws that give consequences for impeded emergency vehicles and flow of commerce. Protests are only one of many potential possibilities. But when you single out protesters and increase the penalties BECAUSE OF THEIR RECENT ACTIONS, you are treading on free speech grounds.

This is wrong - and the MN House Republicans should be ashamed.
comments (0) permalink

Jason Lewis and "Regulatory Disease"

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 01/18/17 11:47

by Dave Mindeman

Did you know that America has a "regulatory disease"? Jason Lewis has diagnosed that for us and wrote about it in the Strib.

I did not realize there was such a disease. I guess Lewis has some new kind of expertise that is beyond our ability to understand. So I guess what he is saying is that our problems do not stem from corporate actions but rather our government's attempt to regulate them.

Lewis is telling us that the financial industry doesn't need those pesky limits. That the pharmaceutical industry can do much better regulating itself. That the collapse of the economy in 2008 was not due to the misdeeds of the industry, but apparently because we do not give them have enough rope.

Lewis especially believes that the ACA is a big culprit:

Because the law mandated the most expensive coverage for everyone, many people -- especially the young -- have been priced out of the market. Right here in Minnesota, we've seen the system collapse under MNsure with back-to-back individual premium increases of well more than 50 percent in the last two years! Moreover, tens of thousands won't be choosing a plan, but getting shoved into a default option.

The law mandated ACTUAL coverage for everyone. Yes, providing real coverage is more expensive and the insurance fallout from that has led to a difficult transition, but we saw what happens when insurance companies are left to their own devices....dumping people with pre-existing conditions, caps on lifetime benefits, moving to more catastrophic coverage which pays nothing for day to day medical expenses. That is what Lewis is suggesting we go back to....because without those mandates we will go back to coverage at the lowest level and highest profit margin for insurers.

Here in Minnesota, the individual market needs to be adjusted, but wholesale collapse? No. Lewis likes to use extreme language, but being honest about it escapes him.

As for getting shoved into a default option, that is exactly what was happening before the ACA. People were dumped into a coverage system that didn't pay for prescription drugs. That had enormously high deductibles and only covered the most catastrophic conditions.

In addition, Lewis is signing on to this repeal now, replace much later plan that the House Republicans are pushing. A plan that leaves all of us in uncertainty and with questionable coverages.

Lewis sides with the insurance companies. He wants to make things easier for them. Those pesky regulations need to go. Let corporations make their own rules and put consumers at the mercy of profits.

Jason Lewis is not on our side. That is the simple truth of the matter.
comments (1) permalink

Only 20% Of Americans Want Immediate ACA Repeal

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 01/06/17 15:29, Edited: 01/06/17 15:31

by Dave Mindeman

In their haste to remove Obamacare the House Republicans may have to take a step back and examine what they are doing.

Kaiser Health released a poll dealing with how they want the GOP to handle this:

Do Not Repeal...........47%

Wait on vote until
a replacement plan
has been announced.....28%

Vote to repeal
immediately, and
work out details of a
replacement plan
later...........................20%


Only 1 in 5 want to the Republicans to do what they are currently talking about. And given the ramifications of an outright repeal, the House GOP could be treading on dangerous ground.

But that is part of the problem with Republican governance. They want to act before everyone is ready and then worry about the consequences later. This is classic overreach and Republicans are guilty of doing it time and time again.

Dismantling Obamacare may seem like rewinding the last 8 years for GOP supporters, but these last 8 years won't look so bad when your health care turns into massive chaos.

Be careful what you wish for.
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