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Michele Bachmann: With 'Obamacare' comes a 'health care dictator'

MinnPost photo by Devin Henry

Rep. Michele Bachmann speaking to during a Tea Party Patriots press conference on Tuesday.

You knew she wasn’t going to miss this gathering of cameras. Kevin Diaz of the Strib reports on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann denouncing “Obamacare" in front of the Supreme Court: “[T]he Minnesota Republican was received like a celebrity by Tea Partiers who mobbed her for autographs and photos outside the U.S. Supreme Court, which is deciding the constitutionality of a health care law that she was the first to challenge in Congress. ‘This is the day we have been waiting for,’ Bachmann told a crowd on the Supreme Court steps. ‘We have not waved the white flag of surrender on socialized medicine.’ … In a series of rallies this week, Bachmann took credit for filing repeal legislation the morning after congressional passage in 2010, staying up all night to foment a backlash she would later describe as a ‘covenant.’ ‘She's a wonderful patriot,’ said Janice Haddon, a retired Catholic schoolteacher from Atlanta who came out to hear Bachmann on the Supreme Court steps. ‘I am so grateful to her for writing the bill. She's a great leader.’ … Bachmann has made it clear that she aims to turn opposition to the health care bill into a signature election-year issue to deny Obama a second term. ‘In the future, you see, we will not be electing a president,’ Bachmann told the crowd Tuesday. If the health care law stands, she said, ‘we will be electing a health care dictator.’ " You can have your Brodkorbs. This woman is the best.

MPR which prefers “was asked to resign,” rather than “fired” in describing the termination of David Proffitt, administrator of the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter — follows the story with a piece by Madeleine Baran: “If Proffitt had refused to resign from his position at the Minnesota Security Hospital, he would have been fired, said Department of Human Services deputy commissioner Anne Barry. She met with Proffitt to ask for his resignation [Tuesday]. … Proffitt once told staff that the counselors who provide direct care to patients were hired based on the size of their necks, the report said. At a separate meeting, Proffitt used a questionable personal example to show employees how a person's goals can change. According to the report, Proffitt told a group of nurses that when he was in college, he decided to help disabled children swim, in part because he realized he would be able to look at women in swimsuits. That decision, he said, led him to discover a passion for rehabilitation work and patient care. The report found that comment was not inappropriate, but Barry, the DHS deputy commissioner, said it raised questions within the agency about Proffitt's judgment.” If not “inappropriate,” how about “weird”?

The GOP-controlled Senate is splitting the difference on a bonding bill between the governor’s and the House versions. Jennifer Brooks’ Strib story says: “Midway between Gov. Mark Dayton’s $775 million bonding request and the House’s scaled-down $280 million bill, the Senate bill passed out of the Capital Investment Committee Wednesday morning. It includes funding for higher education, construction projects, roads and bridges, but gave the cold shoulder to some of the Twin Cities’ top priorities. There was no money for Minneapolis’ top request — the Nicollet Mall renovation, or for a new minor league ballpark in St. Paul. There's no money for the Southwest light rail corridor, or repairs to the sculpture garden in Minneapolis. Mankato wouldn't get the money it hoped to see for its new civic center. But the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis will get $1.7 million for a new community center.” And those guys are going to sign off on how much for a Vikings stadium?

Consumer Reports has some ideas for improving the approval process for medical devices, a major industry in the Twin Cities. James Walsh of the Strib writes: “[A] new investigation into product safety by Consumer Reports is pushing lawmakers and regulators to reset how they do business. Consumer Reports, in a story released Wednesday, reveals that while tens of millions of American consumers live with medical devices implanted in their bodies, many of these implants have never been tested for safety. In fact, according to the story, manufacturers are often required to do nothing more than file paperwork and pay a user fee before bringing their products to market. … It recommends that Congress strengthen the medical device law so that the FDA must take the following steps:
•  Require that implants and other ‘life-sustaining’ devices be tested at least as rigorously as drugs.
•  End the practice of ‘grandfathering’ high-risk new implants and life-sustaining devices.
•  Create a ‘unique identifier system’ for implants, so that patients can be quickly notified about recalls and safety problems.
•  Create national registries so that problems can be spotted quickly and patients notified.
•  Increase user fees paid by manufacturers for regulatory review so that the FDA has enough money to do its job.” But I thought free-market competition was all the oversight and regulation we need?

With an early spring comes … an early construction season. Frederick Melo of the PiPress writes: “Long-term lane and ramp closures will complicate commutes on Interstate 94 west of St. Paul, as well as Interstate 35E north of St. Paul, and Snelling Avenue in Arden Hills.
Things don't get much easier on some St. Paul streets as light-rail construction continues to raise tempers at University Avenue businesses. Some are bracing for a second year of construction along the main drag connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul. Meanwhile, a Rochester-based study is promoting high-speed rail from Rochester to the Twin Cities as an economic boon, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is hosting a meeting Thursday ... on a statewide bicycle plan.”

The consensus seems to be that last week’s ethics hearing on the actions of GOP Sen. Geoff Michel was … well, a futile mess. Megan Boldt of the PiPress reports, “After a two-and-1/2 hour hearing on Friday, a Senate ethics panel deadlocked over a DFL complaint that Michel didn’t take appropriate action when he was told former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch was having an affair with a staffer. They were supposed to come back late Friday evening, but the two Republican members never showed up. On Tuesday, Senate President Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, said she has ‘temporarily postponed’ the hearing on advice of counsel. … Senate rules require the committee to resolve the complaint by mid-April.”

Former Honeywell CEO Edson Spencer has died. The Strib obit, by Pamela Miller, says: “Edson White Spencer, who served as chairman and CEO of Honeywell Inc. from 1973 to 1987 and was deeply influential in higher-education and civic circles, died Sunday at his Wayzata home. He was 85. … Spencer ‘represented the best of the old-world leadership style that came out of a well-educated background, with broad cultural and philanthropic interests that were international in scope,’ [ADC Telecommunications CEO Charles] Denny said. ‘And there was never any question about his ethical grounding; he was not the sort of business leader to demonstrate the behaviors we've read about recently on Wall Street.’ In the 1980s, Spencer often defended Honeywell's military contracts when they came under fire, once telling shareholders that Japanese and German aggression during World War II were what happened when countries could not defend themselves.” Spencer and Marv Davidov within two and a half months of each other …

The state would kick in another $1 million on the giant St. Croix bridge project to help Oak Park Heights, but the city says it needs a lot more. Bill Salisbury’s PiPress story says: “The state of Minnesota would make a $1 million down payment to Oak Park Heights to offset the city's costs associated with the new St. Croix River bridge under a budget item to be proposed to a House committee on Wednesday ... House Capital Investment Committee Chairman Larry Howes, R-Walker, said Tuesday that he will offer the $1 million amendment to his $280 million bonding bill in the House Ways and Means Committee, the final stop before the measure goes to the floor. Oak Park Heights Mayor David Beaudet said the city welcomes any state funding it can get to improve and relocate water and sewer lines, traffic signals and frontage roads along the Minnesota 36 approach to the new four-lane bridge. ‘It's well intended,’ Beaudet said of the state funding, ‘but it's not on the order of magnitude that we need from MnDOT (the Minnesota Department of Transportation).’ City officials estimate the utility work would cost the city of 4,724 residents from $8 million to $10 million.”

The Internet is full of commentary on the Supreme Court's health care arguments. At Power Line, John Hinderaker writes: “The question inevitably raised by the Obamacare appeal is, if the federal government can do this, what can’t it do? The Constitution established a limited federal government with enumerated powers. Over the years, however, the national government’s powers have expanded almost beyond recognition. The Commerce Clause has been used to justify endless federal intrusions into every nook and cranny of our lives. As a practical matter, the idea that the federal government is limited to the Constitution’s enumerated powers has been abandoned. The liberal position now is that there is no limit to the authority of the federal government, except as its powers are specifically restrained by the Bill of Rights. Yet the text of the Constitution stands as a continuing rebuke to the thoughtless expansion of federal power. Whatever Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid might believe, no Solicitor General can stand before the Court and deny that federal powers are limited. So when the justices asked, if the government can do this, what can’t it do, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was obliged to argue that health care is unique, and therefore affirming Obamacare will not amount to a blank check for federal authority. So a special empowerment of the federal government with regard to health care ostensibly lies hidden somewhere in the Constitution.” “Hidden,” you mean as in proposed, argued endlessly from coast to coast, voted on and signed into law by the other two branches of the Constitutionally designed government?

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Comments (9)

Health Care

We need a health Care System in this country that is fair to all, helps those who have Pre existing conditions so they can get coverage, remove the loop holes in the current system, and model it somewhat after what Europe and Canada has had for years and is working quite well for their citizens.


What about the working poor, not just congress people like your self who have been getting top shelf health care as a member of congress?
Why shouldn't the rest of us get an equal health care?

Give the poor Medicaid

Why shouldn't the rest of us have Secret Service protection?

I'd spin it this way...

at least with the new position of Health Care Dictator, Obama's now created one job more than Michelle ever has.

The Liberal Master Plan -- Now Revealed!

"The liberal position now is that there is no limit to the authority of the federal government."

Fellow liberals, John H. has sussed us out. We might as well reveal now that the PPACA was our ultimate power grab that if left untouched will let us implement our master plan to:

* Force every adult to marry a same-sex partner (if you refuse, you can marry your dog)
* Make everyone eat quinoa and lentils (broccoli is SO yesterday)
* Outlaw guns (and then knives, pointed sticks, and sharp fingernails)
* Build abortion-plexes on every corner -- with Drive-Thru Service!

But seriously, where is the right-wing outrage of states using THEIR power to force women to undergo vaginal ultrasounds?

Why is it that right-wingers are so blasé about abuses of power ... as long as they are state-level abuses and not federal?

For all their talk about loving freedom, they sure are OK with state legislatures restricting freedom ... but when its done at the federal level, they go ballistic. Why?

Light rail construction

Midway residents already know from last year the the Metro Council will do exactly nothing to ensure that the construction outfits post helpful signage. Yes, more signs this year than last, but once traffic backs up, you don't see the signs until long after you've been locked into your lane by traffic.

I have yet to see a single "right lane closed" sign posted more than 100 feet from the actual lane closing. And I have yet to find out if this year the crews will bother to take down signs after each project, or if they will remain up long after the work is done (as was the case last year).

Midway is bearing ALL the pain so that suburbanites can commute or go to ball games without having to drive. The least the Met Council could do is engage in direct oversight to make sure signs are posted in a timely and appropriate manner. Not to be crass, but it's unimaginable to me that the contractors could get away with this if they working in the suburbs. Midway gets no respect and by the time this is over, we'll be lucky to have any businesses left on University other than liquor stores and malls.

Michel's action

Michel's action over the Koch affair should concern all of us when and if there is a settlement. As it is it is already costing us in Senate legal fees. Who had the authority to fire Brodkorb? What were the steps taken? These Republican legislators brag about their business acumen and then screw up a firing.

So it Rebublicans don't have to pay for contraception on moral grounds, why do I have to pay for the messy clean up of a married woman having an affair with her staffer? Just saying that morally offends me.

Which would Bachmann prefer?

A. Liberal dictator?

B. Conservative executioner?

The Constitution itself does not contain any express limit.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:[2]

[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

The Commerce Clause Power is amplified by the Necessary and Proper Clause which states this Commerce Clause power, and all of the other enumerated powers, may be implemented by the power "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." The Necessary and Proper Clause is the final clause of Article I, section 8.

There is no express limitation on this specific power anywhere in the Constitution.

None of the limitations on government power contained in the Bill of Rights is directly implicated in the fundamental debate here, the individual mandate.

Thus, the limiting principle that some members of the court seek is this: Congress has the power to enact any law reasonably related to interstate commerce, with the severity of that law being a matter for Congress to determine, relative to the problem it seeks to address, as it sees that problem. It is not for the court to second guess that judgment. It matters not whether Congress chooses to do so by indirectly, through the means of taxation an direct government expenditures, or by requiring participation in some joint enterprise, at the citizens' direct expense. It is only when Congress oversteps the boundaries created by the Bill of Rights and infiringes on the individuaol rights guaranteed therein that the courts may interfere.

This is not a liberal position. It is a position dictated by the language of the Constitution. If we feel that this power is too great, then it is not for the Supreme Court to reduce that power, it is for us, through Congress and the States to amend the Constitution to impose those limitaions on the Commerce Clause which we feel are necessary. Any other course is simply judicial activism masquerading as an inquiry into the intent of a body of men more than 200 years ago. In essence, to strike down the individual mandate, a majority of the Court will have to hold that the Framers and those who voted to ratify the Constitution did not mean what they said in clear and unambiguous language: Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce and to enact those laws it finds reasonably necessary and proper to accomplish its goals.