Sen. Hann says health law ‘will create nothing but losers’


There’ll be more winners than not when “Obamacare” takes full hold. That was the opinion of experts meeting in St. Paul Thursday. Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress writes: “Young, healthy and wealthy folks who have saved money in the past by purchasing skimpier health insurance coverage could be among the losers, said Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That’s because individuals who fit that description likely will have to buy richer coverage without seeing tax benefits from the law, which Congress passed in 2010. But there will be a much bigger group of winners in the state, Gruber said during a meeting of the state’s Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Task Force at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Winners will include relatively low-income people with a history of health problems, he said, because they will be able to spend less money out-of-pocket for better coverage thanks to federal tax subsidies. … Reached by phone Thursday, Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said he couldn’t comment on Gruber’s analysis, except to say he believes the overhaul ‘will create nothing but losers.’ That’s because the nation needs a free market for health insurance, Hann said, adding that the federal law features mandates to individuals and benefit structures to insurers. ‘If you want efficiency, if you want lower cost and you want variety, you have to let people be free to make decisions,’ said Hann, chairman of the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee.” Sen. Hann is Mr. Go-To for your upbeat appraisals.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch shows up on the Strib’s Op-Ed pages explaining her responsibilities in the Vikings stadium (or)deal: “While Gov. Mark Dayton is focused on a deadline (“It’s time to get serious about Vikes stadium,” Nov. 13), my goal is working with our caucus lead — Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont — to identify a plan that has broad, bipartisan support and the backing of the public. … As with any piece of legislation, in order to discover if we have consensus for further action, we need to vet the issue publicly. When Republicans took the majority in the Senate for the first time in 38 years, we made a commitment to increase transparency and accessibility to the legislative process. One example was our immediate streamlining of the committee structure to make it easier for citizens to participate.” So please, please, don’t make us decide this on our own.

Editors love “news you can use.” Whenever I hear that I think of … pie. As in, “Tell me where.” Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl at MPR offers up her list of the best pies-to-go for Thanksgiving. Just a few:

St. Paul’s newest great bakery is known for its high-quality but delightfully simple baking. They use Hope Creamery high-fat butter from southern Minnesota, eggs from Tangletown Gardens, apples from Whistling Well Orchards near Afton, and Wisconsin cranberries. For Thanksgiving this year they’re offering four pies: apple-cranberry; apple; pumpkin; and bourbon-pecan. All pies are $20, and the last day for orders is Sunday, Nov. 20.

Duluth’s New Scenic Cafe is one of the best locavore restaurants in the state, and they’re doing all their famous pies to go: Apple; apple-cranberry; chocolate-pecan; bourbon-pecan; and their most popular, a North Shore triple-berry blend of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. All priced at $25. The last day to pre-order is Monday, Nov. 21.

The winner of Minnesota Monthly’s award for best bakery this year, Patisserie 46 is offering some very over-the-top foodie flights of fancy, like a pumpkin tart with Italian meringue; 24-hour slow-roasted apples in an apple tart made with hazlenut and almond flours; pecan tarts; and chocolate tarts. Most pies are priced at $25. Last day to pre-order is Sunday, Nov. 20.”

How long have you heard the name Rottlund Homes? Well, it’s over. Annie Baxter at MPR says: “Rottlund Homes is liquidating its assets because of sluggish demand for new homes and difficulty procuring loans from banks. ‘The bank syndicate we currently have no longer wanted to support the housing market, and really there are no banks that want to invest in private homebuilders,’ said Steve Kahn, chief financial officer for Rottlund. ‘They felt it best if they just sold off the remaining assets that the company has.’ ” The company largely builds townhomes. Kahn said at the height of business, the company had more than 200 workers spread across offices in Minnesota, Florida, and Iowa. Now only 18 workers remain. Kahn said Rottlund used to do $350 million in sales, but that’s dropped off to about $50 million.”
Not to quarrel, but isn’t the news here that Mitt Romney needs money? The AP is reporting that the presumptive GOP front-runner is postponing a Minnesota fundraising stop: “Former rival Tim Pawlenty and others had planned a high-dollar event for Romney in Minneapolis on Monday. But a Pawlenty adviser says the event is being postponed due to a scheduling conflict.”

The “two-month anniversary” of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Minnesota-style, resulted in 11 arrests Thursday. Steve Karnowski of the AP reports: “The protest on the 10th Avenue bridge was to call for jobs and racial equality. Nick Muhammad, from a group called Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, said the people arrested sat down in the middle of the bridge. Police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer said in a Twitter feed that 11 were arrested. Sgt. Steve McCarty, another police spokesman, said they were cited for impeding traffic and public nuisance. Earlier Thursday, about 40 protesters rallied at the University of Minnesota in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement and other demonstrations nationwide. That protest was peaceful and there were no arrests, University Police Chief Greg Hestness said.”

The Strib editorializes on GOP House Tax Chairman Greg Davids’ plan to create $80 million in property tax relief, and manages to see a mountain in a molehill: “DFLers have been blasting Republicans for repealing the state’s homestead credit program, which will mean a property tax increase for many homeowners unless their local governments slash spending. Republican legislators have responded by faulting already strapped local governments for not slashing spending enough. Davids’ proposal breaks that pattern. It doesn’t quite own up to the impact of the homestead credit repeal, or, with an $80 million price tag, doesn’t make up for the $538 million that the loss of the homestead credit is slated to cost local governments over the next two years. … Spending cuts have been the order of the last decade in St. Paul. That approach to balancing the state budget is reaching the end of its political rope, as a 20-day government shutdown in July attested. One reason tax reform is needed now is to choose the smartest ways to make the tax system produce a larger, more reliable revenue stream. Tax reform is bound to produce both winners and losers. Davids and his GOP colleagues are right to suggest that job-producing businesses ought to be among the winners. We’ll know Republican lawmakers are truly serious when they also talk about which taxes should go up — or, better still, which tax breaks should go away — in exchange.”

Today in Bachmannia:  Our Favorite Congresswoman was down at Drake University Thursday, doing a town hall forum with college kids. It got good. Shannon Travis of CNN writes: “Another student questioned Bachmann on national service programs, such as AmeriCorps: ‘You’ve gone on record as opposing those. So just wondering, if elected president, you might make that a part of your agenda? And if you think it’s a good idea, during this economy, to take away opportunities for young people to serve their country?’ ‘Well it isn’t the idea of young people not serving their country,’ Bachmann said. ‘The point is, we’re broke. I don’t know if you all have gotten that message yet from me this morning,’ Bachmann said.
Arguably the most tense exchange came as Bachmann restated her opposition to ‘Obamacare.’ As she criticized specifics of the nation’s health care law, one student shouted: ‘So screw the sick and homeless’? ‘Who said that’? Bachmann asked. ‘You have,’ the student said. ‘You could not be further from the truth,’ Bachmann shot back. ‘You’re looking at someone who lived below poverty. Have you ever lived at that?’ Bachmann continued: ‘I know what I had to do. I got a job. That’s what you need to do. You need to figure out how to get a job and make your way.’ ” In other words, Mr. Lebowski, “The bums lost.”

PZ Myers in his blog, “Pharngyula,” expresses, um, skepticism that the Kensington Runestone was signed by the farmer on whose land it was found:Martin Rundkvist is reporting that [Olof] Öhman’s signature has been found on the stone. Unfortunately, I find the evidence for that even more weirdly unlikely than that Vikings carved it. There are various numbers scattered around in the account written on the stone — the number of Vikings, the days spent traveling, that sort of thing — and the guy who claims to have detected the signature uses these numbers in a bizarrely oblique way.

The inscription has twelve lines. Larsson counts the words from the left on odd-numbered lines and from the right on even-numbered lines…

Uh, why? What if you counted from the left on even lines and from the right on odd lines? What if you counted characters up from the bottom, or whatever other random number-juggling you could do. This reeks of post-hoc fitting of an interpretation to the data set, and I don’t believe a word of it.” On the other hand it makes as much sense as the average GOP debate.

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Traci Rollo on 11/18/2011 - 06:23 am.

    The Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health-care overhaul passed by Congress last year, was designed to make it easier for Americans in situations like Verone’s to get health insurance BTW check “Penny Health” for more information

  2. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 11/18/2011 - 07:46 am.

    Abusing the bird:

    Poor pilgrim Michelle is losing it, yup…and according to Old Sage Prophet, predicts she’ll be stuffing the bird with a closed fist, tearing the fine fowl plum-half-in- two in the process.

    Recipe: Dressing for Unsuccess:
    Boil your gizzards well, Michelle they’re tough as h… but chopped fine, add that certain something to big bird’s feast….and give thanks for small blessings like all the white space and media hype wasted on your mad campaign…give it a rest,eh?

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/18/2011 - 07:57 am.

    Never heard of Rottlund Homes. Guess that’ll be permanent…

    State Senator Hann knows not whereof he speaks. Again. The nation needs a “free market” in health insurance almost as much as it needs a second war in Afghanistan. The nation needs better, lower-cost, and more equitable health CARE, which may or many not be provided through the mechanism of health “insurance.” Insurance companies exist to make money, not provide better health. Anyone currently paying for health insurance out of their own pocket knows this, as rates continue to climb while coverages shrink and co-pays increase.

  4. Submitted by Cecil North on 11/18/2011 - 08:03 am.

    Would that job Michele is raving about be the IRS gig she had for a few years?

  5. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/18/2011 - 08:55 am.

    “Davids and his GOP colleagues are right to suggest that job-producing businesses ought to be among the winners.”

    In other words, the Strib has decided that any tax ‘reform” needs to skew its benefits towards the wealthy.

    I thought they were the “Red Star,” and the living embodiment of the lamestreamlibrulmedia?

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 11/18/2011 - 09:11 am.

    In her comments, Ms. Bachmann demonstrates a standard feature of those whose dysfunctions render them incapable of experiencing or expressing empathy or compassion.

    She says, in effect, that she, herself, is an example of everything that everyone else needs to do,…

    that there are no circumstances under which any other person might have been raised and might now be living which preclude their aping her example as the solution to all their problems,…

    that, indeed, if we would all be just like she (erroneously) believes herself to be: a self-made person whom the government has never helped, but only damaged,…

    when in reality, she has spent her entire adult life living off government money,…

    then all of us could be as productive as she, herself, is (but has, actually, NEVER been in her working life).

    Shorter version: if you’d all just do what I believe myself to have done (but which I never actually did), all your problems would go away (even as I work very hard to be sure that whatever government programs helped me are wiped out now that I don’t need any of them anymore).

    i.e. Ms. Bachmann is a typical “conservative.”

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/18/2011 - 09:26 am.

    Santa should put the works of John Locke, one of the philosopher’s most influential in creating our form of government, in Sen. Hann’s stocking next month.

    “[F]or Locke, legitimate government is instituted by the explicit consent of those governed. * * * Those who make this agreement transfer to the government their right of executing the law of nature and judging their own case. These are the powers which they give to the central government, and this is what makes the justice system of governments a legitimate function of such governments.

    The aim of such a legitimate government is to preserve, so far as possible, the rights to life, liberty, health and property of its citizens, and to prosecute and punish those of its citizens who violate the rights of others others and to pursue the public good even where this may conflict with the rights of individuals.”

  8. Submitted by Lauren Maker on 11/18/2011 - 09:36 am.

    Senator Koch states the GOP took office with a commitment to transparency–would that include the closed door budget negotiations that even Sen. Linda Berglin was not allowed to attend? Reeks to high heaven of the closed door hearings the GOP used to run the Legislature when they totally controlled it prior to the 1972 elections.

  9. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/18/2011 - 09:58 am.

    @#3: There aren’t many ways to fund and operate a universal health coverage plan. We could go with a national health care system, in which government provides and pays for health care, with public funds (tax revenues); we could go with government payment of the costs of care obtained from private providers, with public funds (taxes), premiums or a combination of the two (e.g., Medicare); we can implement the Affordable Care Act; or we can stay with the completely random patchwork of approaches currently in use.

    A single payor pubicly operated program won’t fly in the U.S., where cries of “Socialism!” are as common as sparrows. It probably shouldn’t, not because of political theory, but because government (read Congress) has shown itself to be completely inept and too subject to political whim to do so rationally. (See, Medicare, Social Security).

    Our current assemblage of mechanisms (I refuse to call it a system), simply doesn’t work. It’s too expensive. Too few can afford insurance or to pay for their own care. Our outcomes are well down the list when compared to other, “inferior” nations. There’s simply nothing to recommend it unless on is willing to sacrifice the health of a substantial portion of our citizens on the altar of “personal responsibility” and other voodoo chants.

    This doesn’t leave many options. For better or worse, the Affordable Care Act is the best Frankenstein’s monster we can manage today.

    I might add that there is nothing wrong with profit in and of itself. People invest their time and money and expect to see a return on that. Fair enough. The ACA limits profits by requiring that 85% of premiums be spent on healthcare. One can argue about the reasonableness of profit controls and/or reasonable profit levels, but there it is.

    Competition, or its lack, does affect cost. No one’s found a way to stimulate competition in a government funded and operated healthcare system. Adapting the existing medical insurance system to achieve the goal of delivering universal health care is not only a reasonable means of doing so, but the only means which is even remotely possbile politically.

    But for the fact that ideological purists pushed as long as they did for a single payor, government operated plan, the ACA would not face the political opposition it does today. If it falls before the Supreme Court, both the left and the right, in both parties, will be responsible.

  10. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/18/2011 - 10:12 am.

    Say Bri? Did you know that Jonathan Gruber was a chief author of RomneyCare? S’true. No wonder he loves him some ObamaCare, eh?

    Headlines we’d love to see:

    “The “two-month anniversary” of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Minnesota-style, resulted in showers and laundry de-lousing Thursday.”

    And finally, how can PZ Myers come to a conclusion about the Rune stone until he’s driven a nail through it and tossed it into a trash can?

    Scientific method, man!

  11. Submitted by NIcole Masika on 11/18/2011 - 11:41 am.

    Regarding the 10th Ave bridge, the earlier rally may have had only 40, but by the time it got to Mondale hall there were clearly many more people than that, should be obvious from my photos if not those of others,-a-subversive-coffee-break-OccupyMpls-Day-41-w-photos#comments

  12. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/18/2011 - 12:06 pm.

    James, your link is dead, which is unacceptable, because the Locke quotes you cite scream for context lest they be torn to shreds.

  13. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/18/2011 - 12:29 pm.

    “If it falls before the Supreme Court, both the left and the right, in both parties, will be responsible.”

    And happy. The right opposes it because we happen to believe that it’s not the role of government to require people to buy health insurance policies designed by government, and the left opposes it because they don’t believe that requiring people to buy health insurance policies designed by government solves anything.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 11/19/2013 - 09:08 pm.


      You are too late, it did not fail in the Supreme Court. Quit watching Faux News and check a real newspaper.

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