Health tax credits are confusing MNsure applicants

The tax credit part of MNsure accounts is confusing people. Elizabeth Stawicki of MPR says: “[B]eing eligible for a credit doesn’t mean consumers will definitely receive a credit. The tax credit problem is one of the most asked questions coming into the MNsure call center. That’s because there are a lot of moving parts in the tax credit determination. The new federal health care law takes a kind of ‘Goldilocks’ approach to the question of how much consumers should contribute to the cost of health coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, the portion can’t be too high or too low. If the cost of a health plan burns up too much income, the premium tax credits kick in to lower a consumer’s portion from too high to just right. The amount of a credit varies widely, depending on income and family size.”

The Target Center upgrade got an OK from the Minneapolis City Council this morning. Tim Nelson of MPR writes: “The deal calls for the city to put in about $50 million into the project. The rest would come from the Timberwolves, the Lynx and arena manager AEG. The deal permits hospitality taxes to substitute for long-running subsidies from the city’s property taxpayers. But the vote still wasn’t without controversy. City Council member Diane Hofstede, who was defeated in last week’s election, said that the deal wouldn’t have been possible without the hard-fought vote to approve a $150 million city contribution to the new Vikings stadium.” Karen Boros has MinnPost coverage here.

This is one of those recurring stories … . Wendy Reuer of the Forum News Service says: “As the lone doctor to live and work in this community of about 1,700, Dr. Jeff Peterson is woven into the fabric of the city, knowing his patients and their families as well as he knows their health records. So when Peterson announced he would leave Ada on Dec. 31 for a position at a Veterans Affairs hospital closer to his college-age sons and wife, who is living part time in Fargo, residents became concerned they would lose a full-time doctor for good. Peterson’s departure comes when hospitals across the country are seeing a shortage of family care physicians. Some rural health centers have closed after doctors have left sleepy small-town living for bustling big cities.”

The hype is that some of the how-tos of Joe Mauer’s mega-contract with the Twins will be disclosed in a new book. At Forbes, Darren Heltner writes: “Mauer is purposefully anchored in Minnesota, performing under an 8-year, $184 million contract since March 2010. He has his natural-born talents to thank, along with his agent Ron Shapiro and a steadfast strategy of scripting. Shapiro and publisher Hudson Street Press will be releasing a new book on November 29 titled, PERFECTING YOUR PITCH: How to Succeed in Business and in Life by Finding Words That Work, which contains stories from the agent, attorney and expert negotiator that have never been been shared publicly, including information about the negotiations surrounding Mauer’s current $184 million contract with the Twins.”

The Sierra Club is all over the place today. MPR says: “An environmental group is holding a dozen events around the state Tuesday to urge Minnesota’s utilities to move away from coal-fired power. The Sierra Club organized a petition drive to advocate for the retirement of two of Xcel Energy’s coal-fired units in Sherburne County. Today’s events include film screenings and discussions at colleges and high schools.”

Speaking of alternative fuels … The AP says: “Corn is marching northward in Minnesota, spurred in part by higher prices from the ethanol boom and by new varieties that mature before the frost sets in. That means new opportunities for producers like Gary Purath, a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn, soybeans and wheat and raises Angus cattle near Red Lake Falls in northwestern Minnesota. It’s a region where growing corn used to be too risky because of the early onset of winter, where previous generations of farmers might have played it safer with barley or oats. But it also means land set aside for years in the federal Conservation Reserve Program sometimes gets plowed in favor of corn.”

You’d hope … Madeleine Baran of MPR says: “Law enforcement authorities on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota have opened an investigation into alleged sexual abuse of children by a Minnesota priest. Supervisory special agent Grace Her Many Horses said authorities will attempt to locate several men who as boys may have been sexually abused by the Rev. Clarence Vavra. She said they will also try to interview Vavra and officials with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Tribal investigators will likely ask the FBI for assistance, she said.”

The GleanA very odd story … Elizabeth Mohr of the PiPress reports: “Gloria Fritz stood and watched Monday as her two prized American Saddlebred mares were pulled from a half-dug grave in the cornfield of a Scandia farm. The horses were allegedly shot and killed. One of the farm’s owners, William St. Sauver Jr., 30, was arrested but has not been charged. … Sunday night, Fritz posted a frantic message on Craigslist, hoping the horses were still alive. ‘Help!! Help!! My Two Saddlebred Mares were Stolen,’ the ad said. ‘This Last Weekend November — 9th or 10th — Please Keep a Lookout for (one) Big Black Mare with Big White Star, 2 White Pasterns -1/8and-3/8 (one) Bay Mare with White Star, Snip, White Pasterns’. But she received a call Monday morning from police who had found the horses — dead — and arrested St. Sauver in the cornfield, where he was on a tractor burying the horses, Fritz said.”

“Dave, my mind … I can feel it …” Ed Huyck at City Pages writes: “Turning Stanley Kubrick’s tour de force exploration of humanity’s origins and possible evolution into a stage show is a tall order. It’s one that Kathy Welch and Green T Productions believe they can fill. The company’s version of 2001: A Space Odyssey opens this week at the Tek Box at the Cowles Center for Performing Arts. It’s a work that is a fusion in many ways. It is a fusion of different movement and dance techniques that the company has explored in recent years. It also fuses the film with material from Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, which the famed science-fiction author developed alongside Kubrick’s film.”

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