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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Health Insurers Finally Realize ACA Provisions Are Good for All

Category: Health Care
Posted: 06/11/12 23:17, Edited: 06/11/12 23:17

by Dave Mindeman

United Health has decided that at least parts of the Affordable Care Act are good for everybody. UNH has decided to cover the backs of the GOP and "voluntarily" add some of the benefit provisions.

Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare said it will allow young adults to stay on their parents' plan until they turn 26 and continue to provide preventive care, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, without co-payments.

The insurer also said it won't cancel policies retroactively, except in cases of fraud, and won't impose lifetime limits on coverage. Such limits can cause hardship for those with expensive chronic illnesses and rare diseases.

In the past, UNH fought those reforms, but now after having them mandated, they suddenly realize they are good for the bottom line as well. Immunizations and screenings have been a basic part of the preventive care idea for years, but insurance companies never could quite get the idea that paying now might prevent bigger payouts later.

The other public relations move here is these particular parts of the benefit package won't cost them a lot extra.....still, they have not given us the information as to how this will affect premiums. Might be just another good excuse to keep the rates jacked up.

What they still will refuse to do, and this has been a key component of the ACA, is that they will not allow pre-existing conditions to be covered. And the reason why?????

United said it "recognizes the value" of covering children with pre-existing conditions but said one company can't act alone. Because treating childhood illnesses can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and more, especially if they last for decades, United needs some buy-in from other insurers so that it isn't the only company covering such cases, Heupel said.

In other words, they would need to have that coverage "mandated" to make it fair to all insurers. Imagine that -- a mandate. Haven't we figured out yet that in order for this to work for all Americans, then all of us have to be included. It is the only way to spread the costs across the consumer base.

These key provisions which UNH says it is going to continue, even if the ACA gets struck down by the Supreme Court, underscores the value of the law in the first place. These are popular provisions. Provisions that the health care companies can no longer ignore or devalue.

This development also underscores how important single payer is as a tool to really and truly reduce the cost of health care in America. These middle management players were forced to accept these provisions by Federal mandate.....they refuse to work with ideas that not only are good for the American people, but for their own best interests as well.

Health insurers will win no matter what happens in the Supreme Court. The PR games are just beginning.
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MN Congressional Races: The Four GOP Seats

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 06/11/12 02:54, Edited: 06/11/12 02:56

by Dave Mindeman

The Congressional races in Minnesota are getting into serious mode and there could be some interesting dynamics. Let's take a look at the Republican held seats.

Bachmann - District 6
Jim Graves is going to be the DFL candidate to challenge Bachmann, but it looks like he's going to prefer having an independent description. His first break is that no Independence Party candidate filed....so he will get his one on one with Bachmann. He also has the endorsement of Tom Horner who was the Independence canidate for Governor last time around. Graves obviously knows the leanings of his district....he is already distancing himself from Obama:

?I?m not here to endorse Obama?s first term,? Graves said.
Graves instead likens himself to his party?s other top-of-ticket candidate in Minnesota, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. He says that, like Klobuchar, he?s a moderate Democrat who supports free-market policies.

Latching onto Klobuchar and her 26 point US Senate lead is probably not a bad idea.

Graves is not going to be any progressive champion -- at best, if he wins, we have another Blue Dog Democrat. Probably not Colin Peterson, but close. Yet, having to consider the idea of another 2 years of Michele Bachmann, Graves is looking better all the time.

The biggest question to be answered is ...Will Graves tap his own resources? If he decides to invest his own money into the campaign, then we will probably also know if he has decided it is winnable.

Paulsen - District 3

Brian Barnes is the DFL challenger for Erik Paulsen. Frankly, with Paulsen's victories, the prospective window for unseating Paulsen is rapidly closing. And the District is less DFL friendly now, than it was before.

Barnes is a good candiate. He clearly gave the best speech of the Congressional candidates at the DFL convention. But, as usual, the big question is resources.

Paulsen has a large war chest and manages to latch onto Minnesota centric issues (like the medical device tax) and milk them for all they are worth.

Barnes needs to hammer a message hard and fast and he needs money to reach the district electorate with enough force to put Paulsen on the defensive. Right now, that looks like tough sledding.

Kline - District 2

Kline drew the short straw when the Congressional lines got moved around. District 2 is slightly more DFL friendly and that has given Mike Obermueller a ton of free publicity and instant serious challenger status.

But now, he has to do something with it. Obermueller has caught a bit of a break in that a Tea Party candidate will challenge Kline in a primary. If the discourse gets raised to a high enough level, conservatives will be hearing about Kline's TARP support and his unwavering support for the Bush/Obama wars.

Kline is possibly the most entrenched incumbent of the Republicans and he has the money and access to more money to outspend whatever Obermueller can put in. But a credible showing by the DFLer in funds raised and a high profile effort from the DCCC and other outside interest groups, could make this a serious contest.

We're not there yet, but for the first time since Kline was elected, the "colonel" will have to work at it.

Cravaack - District 8

I have some worries about this race. Cravaack should be vulnerable but he has managed to escape most of the critiques that would undermine his incumbancy. I was very surprised to see he had the lowest conservative rating of the Minnesota delegation by the Club for Growth. Something he can point to as a more independent status. And the DFL primary is going to be a bare knuckle affair. I think Nolan will still survive but how much of his resources will have to be committed to that?

The assumption has always been that Cravaack should be beatable...and he is, but not in the take it for granted category. His win over Oberstar was not a fluke - Cravaack ran a good campaign. But if the DFL challenger, whomever that is, is at the top of his or her game, this can be done.

Take nothing for granted.
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