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3 GOP gubernatorial candidates vow to scrap MNsure

Left to right: Jeff Johnson, Dave Thompson, Kurt Zellers
MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Left to right: Jeff Johnson, Dave Thompson, Kurt Zellers debating the issues at the Minnesota State Fair on Sunday.

I’m not really sure this qualifies as “news” … Bill Salisbury of the PiPress reports: “On a scorching-hot Sunday at the Minnesota State Fair, three Republican candidates for governor pledged that, if elected, they would work to scrap the state's health insurance exchange that is scheduled to open in October. Predicting rising costs and burdensome government regulations, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Sen. Dave Thompson and state Rep. Kurt Zellers said during a candidate forum that they would try to close the new online marketplace for health insurance that's a key component of the federal law known as Obamacare that is intended to overhaul the nation's health system. … Thompson said he would scale back the exchange so it wouldn't impose any regulatory burdens beyond those required by federal law. He also said he would work with other Republican governors to push Washington to repeal the federal law.”

Things I never thought of acquiring … James Card in The New York Times writes: “Since the mid-1980s, Mr. [John] Ackerman has been traveling to southeastern Minnesota from his home in the Twin Cities area to explore and acquire caves. He is the largest private cave owner in Minnesota and might be the largest in the country, but nobody is certain because not all of his caves have been fully explored to determine their extent. Among his prized holdings is Spring Valley Caverns, located in what he calls the Minnesota Cave Preserve, his subterranean holding of six caves that run collectively over 40 miles. ‘There are always passages to find,’ he said. ‘I’ve pretty much explored all of the hot ones and found five and a half miles.’ ”

The state got more pub from The Times in an Erica Goode piece on “sovereign citizens”: “Cases involving sovereign citizens are surfacing increasingly here in Minnesota and in other states, posing a challenge to law enforcement officers and court officials, who often become aware of the movement — a loose network of groups and individuals who do not recognize the authority of federal, state or municipal government — only when they become targets. Although the filing of liens for outrageous sums or other seemingly frivolous claims might appear laughable, dealing with them can be nightmarish, so much so that the F.B.I. has labeled the strategy ‘paper terrorism.’ A lien can be filed by anyone under the Uniform Commercial Code. … The sovereign citizen movement traces its roots to white extremist groups like the Posse Comitatus of the 1970s, and the militia movement. Terry L. Nichols, the Oklahoma City bombing conspirator, counted himself a sovereign citizen.” Just protecting their precious constitutional freedoms ...

Corn is still king … but soybeans are princes. Mike Hughlett of the Strib reports: “Once the lifeblood of Minneapolis, the nation’s onetime flour milling capital, wheat’s presence has been fading. Minnesota’s wheat acreage in 2012 was 60 percent less than it was during the grain’s heyday in the late 1970s and early 1980s. ‘King wheat,’ as it was known in Minnesota long ago, simply isn’t as good an investment as corn and soybeans. Prices for those crops have been robust in recent years. Both are easier to grow than wheat, partly because of genetic engineering, and they tend to bring better yields.”

Also in the fields … Tom Meersman of the Strib writes: “Known for its popular garden displays and apple breeding, the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is branching out to protect endangered plants. The arboretum has joined the Center for Plant Conservation, a national network of botanical institutions and gardens that are trying to conserve rare species in the wild, and to store their seeds in regional deep freezers so they don’t become extinct. … But the greatest impetus for establishing the new program, [David] Remucal said, is to store genetic material of rare Minnesota plants, mainly in a new freezer that keeps seeds at minus 40 degrees.”

The GleanIt was kind of big deal in Toronto last night. Marc Weisblott of OCanada.com writes of the Replacements'  reunion: “A fabled rock band from Minneapolis played their first concert since July 4, 1991 on Sunday night. Curiously enough, the show took place in Toronto. The first five songs played were from their earliest albums: ‘Takin’ a Ride,’ ‘I’m in Trouble,’ ‘Favorite Thing,’ ‘Hangin’ Downtown’ and ‘Color Me Impressed.’‘Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out,’ ‘Kiss Me on the Bus’ and ‘Androgynous,’ ‘Achin’ to Be’ and ‘I Will Dare’ followed. The audience could be counted on to remember the words that the band could not. And the rest of the songs played, in order: ‘Love You Till Friday,’ the Chuck Berry tune ‘Maybellene,’ ‘Merry Go Round,’ ‘Wake Up,’ a Sham 69 cover called ‘Borstal Breakout,’ ‘Little Mascara,’ ‘Left of the Dial,’ ‘Alex Chilton,’ ‘Swingin’ Party,’ ‘Can’t Hardly Wait,’ ‘Bastards of Young.’ Encore songs were the new ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ and 1987′s Pleased to Meet Me album opener ‘I.O.U.’ ” Who got more airplay on our local “classic rock” stations back in the day, The ‘Mats or Bachman Turner Overdrive?

Here’s some photos from slicingupeyeballs.com.

Ninety times out of a hundred this is how it goes down … . Tim Harlow of the Strib says: “Last Tuesday, Allegiant Air announced that it was adding seasonal service between St. Cloud and Orlando. To spur bookings, the airline offered a $99 round-trip special to customers who made arrangements within three days. That was just the kind of deal Cyndy Chancellor was seeking to get six people to sunny Florida for a week in February. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the deal. … In a news release, Allegiant does have a disclaimer that says ‘seats are limited,’ and, boy, are they ever.  An airline spokesman told The Drive that roughly 10 percent of available seats were set aside for the promotion.” Dear newcomer airline … first impressions matter.

Stadium-watching blogger Neil deMause isn’t what you’d call impressed with tobacco money covering the state’s “contribution” to the new Vikes palace: “There won’t be any more tobacco tax money next year, but that’s okay, because even if Minnesotans keep turning up their noses at these e-pulltab things that were supposed to pay for the stadium, money from a new corporate tax has been set aside to fill any gaps. So hooray, even if gamblers won’t pay for the stadium, the state can do so by tapping tax money that otherwise would have gone into … the general fund … hey, why isn’t anybody rejoicing? Rejoice, damn you! Meanwhile, a county court judge ... heard a lawsuit to force a referendum on the Vikings stadium deal, on the grounds that city voters passed a ballot initiative in 1997 requiring a public vote on any stadium subsidies over $10 million.” The word “hamfisted” keeps playing in my mind …

Weather guy Paul Douglas’ forecast for the week:
“MONDAY: Isolated T-storm early. Blazing sunshine most of the day. High: 98 (100-degree heat for parts of the metro).
TUESDAY: Sunny and hot — but not quite as dangerous. Heat Warning. High: 94
WEDNESDAY: Slight relief under partly sunny skies. Still sticky. Dew point: 65. Wake-up: 75. High: 90
THURSDAY: Chance of a few badly needed T-storms? Wake-up: 73. High: 87
FRIDAY: Hot sun. Evacuate to cabin. Wake-up: 74. High: 92
SATURDAY: Statewide barbecue. We're all invited. Sunny. Wake-up: 76. High: 97 … 3 days ago I predicted this would be the hottest week of summer. This still looks likely.”

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Comments (13)

Obsolete

Republican gubernatorial candidates continue to play their 8-track tape regarding the Affordable Care Act while people who know something, anything, about the law are listening to their iPods.

Nowhere has a viable Republican alternative been offered except in the form of "more of the same" terrible health care system we currently have.

GOP plan

Don't forget the classic GOP plan... "the free market will keep the price down". As if that has ever worked before. When was the last time your insurance premium went down?

Here's your alternative, Ray

Buy your own insurance on the open market like you currently buy home or auto insurance. We're going to make you a free man whether you like it or not.

Free, Alright

Free to be ripped off by every get-rich-quick, we'll find an excuse NOT to cover you just as soon as you NEED coverage,...

(if you don't like it, you'll have to hire a lawyer to sue us, but, if we get our way, "torte reform" will, by then, have made it impossible for you, or your family, or your estate to recover any damages),...

and THAT's if you can afford the premiums, which, considering what they have been for individuals on the private market, you very likely won't be able to,...

which means you'll be "free" to have everyone ELSE pay for your care if you have a crisis which forces you into the emergency room,...

and free to DIE if you develop a chronic condition,...

but the insurance companies will be making off like bandits; action our "liberservative" friends would SO like to get a piece of, so who cares? Right?

When it comes to living in a CIVILIZED society among other human beings the "freedom" so many of us stuck-in-permanent-adolescent-attitudes folks seem to think would be a panacea would result in wild, wild west (BEFORE the sheriff came to town) chaos with a lot of death and every community being run by whoever was meanest and toughest, and every city being run by whoever was rich enough to hire the biggest goon squad.

We give up absolute freedom as an exchange for living in an orderly, predictable, stable, democratic society which is why, even when not talking about military issues, "freedom isn't free."

This is private insurance

Dennis, the policies offered by the exchanges are private plans. I need to buy my insurance on the so called "open market", and for the first time I can buy a policy that won't deny my wife's pre-existing conditions. I'm also looking forward to seeing what kind of policies are offered for my small, 3 person business. Until Obamacare and the exchanges there were no good options for small businesses.

People that bash the exchanges generally don't understand what they are about and I'm sure usually get their insurance paid for by someone else.

Dennis, do you buy on the open market?

I don't buy on the "open market"

because there isn't one.

If the republicans do anything it could be to make the purchase of health insurance across state lines legal just as you can buy life insurance, home owners insurance or car insurance. Notice how in those markets the competition is fierce, with price being only one way in which they differentiate themselves.

But right now, it's illegal to buy health insurance that way. Make it legal and we'll see the same type of competition.

Employers don't provide home or auto insurance to their employees and they should stop providing health insurance too. Let each individual buy their own health insurance policy that has the features and coverage that THEY want and need, not what the government says they MUST have and you'll see prices drop for that reason also.

If they want to offer health insurance as a benefit, they can provide a reimbursement or partial reimbursement for any insurance policy the employee buys on the new "open market.".

There Is An "Open Market"!

You can buy health insurance from any company no matter where they are domiciled. What a company selling health insurance must do - which is exactly what companies selling homeowners, automobile, and life insurance must do - is to offer insurance coverage that complies with the statutes and rules adopted by that state. The company (and agent) must also be licensed to sell insurance in Minnesota. Simply, if you wish to sell health insurance in Minnesota - just as if you sell homeowner, automobile, and life insurance - you must comply with the coverage requirements enacted by the State of Minnesota.

Each state determines what an insurance policy must cover if sold in that state and those coverage mandates and minimums reflect the priorities that a given state determines are necessary to provide a reasonable and acceptable level of coverage.

There is a complexity to health insurance given the myriad conditions that may occur, treatment options available, and range of providers that does not exist with automobile and homeowner insurance which is why it isn't really an accurate comparison.

Open Market

How do people who don't have a job afford to buy care on the open market? What if people have strung together part time jobs to make ends meet? How do they afford meaningful health care?

Republican candidates dig hole, climb in, still digging...

...and here I thought this was a NEWS site !!

There's an open health insurance market...

...without lifetime caps and without pre-existing conditions exclusions?

Air travel

The same thing happened in Sioux Falls. But as a customer who uses Allegiant flights regularly, I appreciate not visiting Chicago or Denver or some other "change airplane" airport. Even as Allegiant has increased costs, the direct flight makes it a welcome addition for customers in Greater MN.

The only answer can't be repeal

The GOP has to have viable answers to their endless repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They are against everything as they try to remake the Republican brand, which looks exactly like the current Republican brand, phony. I can't remember when the GOP was full of nothing but nonsense. They eventually get backed into a political corner and have to back off, only looking like fools. The base loves it but the GOP is losing elections. It would seem the elections would more valuable to them. They continue rudderless and no real leaders are in sight. I hope they get more serious about their country than they are about their Republican brand.

The viable answer from the GOP..

...was essentially RomneyCare, which Obamacare is based on. Remember, the conservative "think" tank, the Heritage Foundation, was one of the original devolopers of the idea, an alternative to "Hillary Care". They were for the the individual mandate, and, of course, the idea that it would send a lot of new customers to insurance companies didn't hurt, either.

For a big laugh, check out Karl Rove's laugh-fest of a Wall Street Journal editorial, saying the GOP has alternative ideas to the ACA.