Bachmann’s 7-foot-doctor story sounds like a real tall tale


Today in Bachmannia: If we were to make a list of The Very Best of Our Favorite Congresswoman’s campaign blurts, the one about the 7-foot-tall doctor might be right at the tippy top. Igor Volsky of the lefty site, Think Progress writes … off of video included at the link: “Bachmann complained that undocumented immigrants are exempt from paying for the law, claimed that a seven-foot doctor told her the IRS had to approve medical procedures, and reiterated her long-standing view that doctors and hospitals would provide free care to the uninsured if they were shielded from malpractice claims:

• “Under Obamacare illegal aliens don’t have to pay for Obamacare. Only American citizens pay for Obamacare. […] Illegal aliens have the possibility of getting the care, but they have no requirement to pay for the care. Only the citizens do.”
“One man stood up, he was over 7-feet tall. He was a physician in the community. And he said, ‘I had a little lady in my office and because of Obamacare, I had to call the IRS and I had to get a number to put on a form before I could see her.’ ”
“When I was a little girl … There were people who could not pay [for health care]. I mean they just did not have any money at all. And so the doctor would just write it off. […] It’s very different today. Now, doctors don’t feel like they can do that … they worry about liability.’ “

Volsky adds, “It’s hard to make sense of any of Bachmann’s claims. Republicans successfully fought to keep undocumented immigrants from receiving tax credits through the exchanges and the ACA does nothing to change the existing Reagan-era law that requires hospitals to provide health care to everyone in need of emergency services. Undocumented immigrants also paid $11.2 billion in taxes in 2010, including $8.4 billion in sales taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $1.2 billion in personal income taxes. The seven-foot doctor’s claims are similarly dubious, since the IRS does not begin enforcing the individual requirement to purchase health insurance until 2014 — and even then, the penalty is processed through personal income tax returns and would not require a medical provider to call the agency.”

The Farmers Union convention is going on, and they know there’s some big changes coming. A post up at the publicnewsservice site says: “The 2012 farm bill and the elimination of the Minnesota Homestead Tax Credit will be among the issues discussed here this weekend at the 70th annual convention of the Minnesota Farmers Union. These and other serious issues face farmers, says Minnesota Farmers Union president Doug Peterson. … Farmers know cuts will be coming with the farm bill, Peterson says, but how much and to which programs is unclear as the debt-reduction ‘super-committee’ continues to work on a plan to eliminate more than $1 trillion from the U.S. budget. As for the new farm bill, Peterson says people are frustrated because very little is known about what’s happening behind the super-committee’s closed doors. Peterson is hoping the process is fair. ‘We understand that we’ve shouldered more cuts already than any other program. That’s farmers and ranchers, through the farm bill currently, have shouldered more cuts than any program so far under the scrutiny of the budget ax.’ ” My advice would be to hire more and better lobbyists.

It’d be nice if there were a simple way of finding what these files have on you. Laura Yuen of MPR reports: “A state task force Friday will weigh whether to dump millions of local police records from Minnesota into a federal criminal and investigative database. The FBI has asked Minnesota officials to opt into the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange, a vast data-sharing system that the bureau calls a one-stop shop for law enforcement and crime analysts. FBI officials say it will help local police investigate cases involving people who are suspected of similar crimes in other states. But federal law enforcement officers, including those investigating immigration offenses, also have access to the records. That concerns advocates for privacy rights and civil liberties. ‘When it starts going out into databases accessible by thousands of law enforcement people, you don’t know what the consequences are,’ said Robert Sykora, chief information officer for the Minnesota Board of Public Defense.”

Never a dull moment in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. Maria Elena Baca and Emma Carew Grovum at the Strib write: “Ten Coon Rapids High School students have been suspended after a volley of harassing comments and threats on Facebook, the latest in a string of incidents that have jolted the Anoka-Hennepin School District over the past couple of years. The online dispute, which involved students posting invective and obscenity-laced insults, escalated into a shouting match on a stairway at the school Tuesday before teachers intervened. The students, who have not been identified, are serving three- to 10-day suspensions, said district spokesman Brett Johnson. … three juniors and seven seniors (eight boys and two girls) were involved in the mostly online altercation. Students were cooperative when taken into interviews with administrators, she said. ‘Their phones were in their hands’ and open to the Facebook page in question, she said. From there, it wasn’t difficult to pinpoint responsibility.” I feel a lot of “de-friending” coming on.

I’m hiring this kid to do my taxes. In the Strib, Anna Pratt writes: “Sayan Das, a sixth-grader at Westwood Middle School in Blaine, excels in academics, and he’s always looking for new ways to stretch himself. Last month, his interest took him to the American Math Challenge, which he found online. He entered, and he ended up in first place — outdoing 71,969 students in grades K-12 from around the country who joined the virtual competition. It’s not the first time that the 11-year-old has displayed such abilities, and probably not the last. In a World Math Day competition in March of this year, which is a similar online event, he was No. 1 in the United States for his age group and 14th internationally. A day later, he set the curve in World Spelling Day.”

Does anyone — other than Packer fans — feel better watching the Vikings play? Mike Kaszuba of the Strib reports that a little bipartisan misery might be in the works: “Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, the lead Senate author for a new Vikings stadium, said Thursday that Gov. Mark Dayton and other top legislative leaders may soon watch a Vikings game on TV together as they try to sort out how to fund a new stadium and where to build it. Dayton, she said, is ‘going to invite the [stadium] working group and the leaders and go over to his house for a couple of beers’ to watch the game. Rosen made the comments after emerging Thursday from a stadium meeting in the governor’s office, and said she invited the DFL governor to try to bring the legislative leaders together over a Vikings game. Rosen said the event would likely take place in December, but said she was unsure whether it would occur at the governor’s mansion in St. Paul. ‘I hope it’s a big-screen TV, with seats that recline,’ Rosen said.”

The BWCA lottery system will stay. The AP says: “The Superior National Forest has partly backed off plans to eliminate the lottery system for issuing Boundary Waters Canoe Area entry permits. The Forest Service said today it will keep the lottery for the popular entry points on Fall Lake and Moose Lake near Ely. It will take applications for those permits Dec. 19 to Jan. 19 and run the lottery Jan. 20. As previously announced, permits for all other BWCA entry points can be reserved first-come, first-served, starting Jan. 25 at 9 a.m.”

No, they’re not kidding. A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story by Bruce Vielmetti says: “Three young children caught playing doctor last year have unintentionally landed themselves, their families and some Grant County officials in a federal civil rights case sure to raise questions and outrage. The parents of a 6-year-old boy who faced charges of first-degree sexual assault have sued Grant County officials who investigated and filed the juvenile petition. The charges came after a 5-year-old girl’s mother suspected that play had gone too far. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Madison, contends that officials violated the civil rights of the boy and his parents, and seeks damages and an injunction against Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker. The suit also names a sheriff’s deputy and social worker as defendants. … The plaintiffs are identified only as D, who is now 7, and his parents as Jennifer and Kurt D. According to the lawsuit, in the fall of last year the boy was playing with the girl and her 5-year-old brother when the mother arrived. The children said they had been playing doctor. Their mother told investigators she suspected D had put his finger in the girl’s anus. The lawsuit states that prior to the play date, D had medical conditions that required rectal examinations. Riniker wound up accusing D of first-degree sexual assault, as part of a juvenile court petition for protective services filed last November.” These kids would not be in nearly as much trouble if they’d played “accountant,” like I did.

John Hinderaker’s cause du jour is NPR’s series on the “kidnapping” of Indian kids by the South Dakota department of Social Services, a series that had several friends of mine riveted to their car radios. Says Hinderaker at Power Line: “NPR alleged that the state agency “kidnaps” Indian children from Indian reservations, and places them in white foster homes because it profits by doing so, and because this kidnapping scheme financially benefits South Dakota’s current governor, Dennis Daugaard. I deconstructed these absurd accusation here, here, here and here. NPR’s story was, to put it politely, a tissue of lies and deceptions. In a sane world, South Dakota’s responsible officials would be able to sue NPR for defamation. That, of course, is not the world we live in. … There is, indeed, a terrible problem, but NPR didn’t have the courage to identify it honestly. Unemployment on South Dakota’s reservations runs around 80%. There are hardly any jobs, other than manning convenience stores. Tribal leaders have estimated that the alcoholism rate also runs around 80%. Think about it: who would want to live in a place where there are virtually no jobs? Only those who are content with dependency and happy to live on welfare. There are plenty of hard-working, ambitious Indians, but few of them live on reservations.” John says he’s demanded answers from NPR’s ombudsman. THAT ought to be interesting reading.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Frank Bing on 11/18/2011 - 02:37 pm.

    Re: Beers with the gov: I’m assuming Dayton will stick with O’Doul’s?

  2. Submitted by Kevin Slator on 11/18/2011 - 03:43 pm.

    Hinderaker’s problem is that he’s so biased against the “mainstream media” (which I assume does not include Fox News in his definition), he can’t comment or criticize with anything approaching objectivity. I’m weary of reading his anti-press diatribes and I read Powerline a whole lot less than I used to as a result.

    There is fodder for questioning or criticism in NPR’s series, to be sure, such as the claim that the state makes $100 million a year by removing Indian children from their homes and placing them with Children’s Home Society. But the rest of Hinderaker’s “investigation” (which apparently consisted of a phone call to the head of the state’s social services agency) is so infected with his bias that it’s not credible or useful. Nor is he credible, really, when he makes false accusations, such as that NPR accused the state of “kidnapping” the children. I responded to that and showed it’s a false charge. Hinderaker has ignored me.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/18/2011 - 03:48 pm.

    Do the Sixth District and America require any more evidence that Michele Bachmann hasn’t a clue about the world around her? I have no idea what she may have been told or seen, but she either has no means of reality testing what she’s told or simply doesn’t give a damn. Either way, can we pull the media plug on this woman?

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/18/2011 - 04:01 pm.

    Re: Hinderaker:

    The man needs to differentiate between quoting a source and making an accusation.

    “Cousins are disappearing; family members are disappearing,” said Peter Lengkeek, a Crow Creek Tribal Council member. “It’s kidnapping. That’s how we see it.”

    Not a surprising sentiment from a tribal member, given the history of removal of Native American children from their homes and their confinement in “Indian schools” around the midwest, often run by private parties, including religious organizations.

    See, e.g.,

    Mr. Slator correctly observes that there’ plenty to question in the NPR piece. It’s important, however,to bear in mind that reporting accusations and facts is simply that.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/20/2011 - 11:08 am.

    Beer and football game? This just keeps getting more and more pathetic.

Leave a Reply