House Republicans set sights on ‘reasonable changes’ to MNsure

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Incoming House Speaker Kurt Daudt

“Reasonable changes” is the phrase they use. At MPR, Tim Pugmire writes, “As much as members of the GOP frequently criticize MNsure — and promise much more scrutiny of the exchange during the session that begins in January — with a Democratic governor and Senate still in place, big changes in MNsure remain unlikely. State Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, said he’s not a fan of the Affordable Care Act, the federal law that allowed for the creation of MNsure. But Hoppe believes Minnesota is stuck with its state exchange, at least for now. In the meantime, he wants to talk with Senate Democrats about making some reasonable changes.” Can we start with getting rid of all the sick people?

Like health insurance, the stock market and nuclear fusion, there are very few people who actually know what they’re talking about. It’s kind of like that with “net neutrality,” which President Obama (finally) endorsed before heading off to Asia. In City Pages, Ben Johnson writes, “In a statement that drew nonsensical metaphors from the right and belated optimism from the left, President Obama finally publicly supported equal internet access for all [Monday]. Obama’s statement set the stage for a legal and political battle newly re-elected Sen. Al Franken has repeatedly called ‘the First Amendment Issue of our time.’ … Obama originally stated his support for net neutrality on the 2008 campaign trail, but has since steered clear of the issue. ‘I could not tell you why it took so long. It’s been a mystery. Perhaps he thinks net neutrality is too technical, or not a popular political issue, but I disagree. I think most Americans, especially young Americans, understand the importance of this,’ said Mike Wassenaar, president of Minneapolis-based Alliance for Community Media.”

In a Veteran’s Day piece WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler notes, “A new report from the U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee shows veteran unemployment in Minnesota dropped significantly in the last year. It went down from 8.8 percent in 2013, to 5 percent in 2014. The number of unemployed post-9/11 vets is still high but also dropping, from 14.1 percent in 2013 to 8.8 percent in 2014.”

Where was this thing when the gummint was giving the farm away to the NFL? Mitch LeClair at the St. Cloud Times writes, “Things keep getting hotter heading into winter for a mobile app maker with a presence around Central Minnesota. The International Gaming Awards in London has named Pilot Games a top-seven finalist for Innovative App of the Year. ‘It’s a great honor for us,’ said Jon Weaver, founder and CEO. He compared the recognition for his startup to ‘a little indie film making it to the Oscars.’ Pilot’s app, which runs on mobile devices like iPads and pre-built cabinets, allows users to play various e-pull tab games at bars and other locations.”

Ok, Target. We’ll see your 6 p.m. and raise you one hour. In the Strib Kavita Kumar and Paul Walsh say, “Best Buy will open most of its stores an hour earlier than last year, at 5 p.m. on that Thursday. But then it will close its stores at 1 a.m. and reopen them at 8 a.m. on the actual Black Friday. Jeff Shelman, a company spokesman, noted that traffic slows ‘considerably’ in the overnight hours on Thanksgiving night, especially as the sales have been starting earlier. … Minneapolis-based Target said on Monday that it will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.” Boy, I know where I’m going for Mom’s pay-as-you-go phone card.

Following the reverberations from #pointergate, the Strib’s Jon Tevlin writes, “Last week, few people had heard of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC). Then a silly television story dubbed ‘Pointergate,’ in which police officers accused Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges of throwing gang signs at NOC employee Navell Gordon, hit the fan. This week the little nonprofit in the heart of West Broadway is reaping the benefits of unintentional fame. ‘We’ve been flooded support from all over the world and definitely are feeling the love,’ said Becky Dernbach, communications director for NOC. ‘We’ve received $4,000 or $5,000 in online donations. We’ve received messages of support to pass on to Navell from Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and France, among other places.’”

At The Huffington Post, Matt Sledge talks to young Mr. Gordon about his sudden fame. Says Gordon, “[KSTP reporter Jay Kolls] thought he had a big story. And now it’s really a big story. He reached out to my boss Anthony Newby, who told him to kick rocks. He said he was going to go live with this. And [Newby] warned him, ‘Do not do this, you’re going to get in very big trouble.’ … They could have put us on the news for the mayor going out and canvassing with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change — why did they put that up there?” Well, because there’s no fear factor in canvassers.

The Strib bemoans voter apathy in the most recent election. “We fear that the same forces that have eroded election participation elsewhere in previous years are belatedly taking hold in Minnesota. Negative campaign advertising has degraded respect not just for targeted candidates, but for the political process. Several generations have come of age hearing repeatedly that ‘government is the problem.’” A message sold equally be “both sides,” I’m sure they meant to add.

Have you followed the only-in-our-modern-world story of “Alex from Target,” the check-out kid who had his picture taken by some swoony girl and is now an internet sensation? in the Hollywood site The Wrap, Itay Hod writes, “ ‘Alex [Lee] From Target’ became an Internet sensation a week and a half ago and Hollywood already wants a piece of the action. He’s not the first to experience insta-fame and he probably won’t be the last. … if he wants to capitalize from the his star status, [chairman and founder of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations, Howard] Bragman warns Lee must strike while the iron is still hot. ‘What he needs right now is the right Hollywood insiders who understand brand-building and how to monetize on his exposure.’ He may have another thing going for him: He’s already associated with a well-established, family-friendly brand. ‘It’s obvious this kid has great appeal,’ Bragman said. ‘He’s young, good-looking, charming, and most importantly, he’s authentic. Target is going to look intently and see what they can do to capitalize on this exposure.’” Yeah, “authentic” is the first word that comes to my mind, too. 

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Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/12/2014 - 08:24 am.

    “Reasonable Changes?”

    “FIXING” MN Sure – and for whom?”

    Where were they when it was first set in motion?
    Why couldn’t they play well & help then. Too busy being obstructionist.

    Because the Blame Game is easier than getting involved when invited.
    And maybe the sudden new Repub “fixers” just didn’t WANT it.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/12/2014 - 11:39 am.


      A very tired refrain. Just because they want something different than you they are labeled obstructionist. You must fail to realize there are some DFL that are there as well and are as much to blame as anyone else for not getting things done. Nothing but the blame game from DFL.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/12/2014 - 03:10 pm.


        So what specific actionable items have the Republicans offered to replace the programs they are trying to repeal? Because if all they’re really doing is “repeal” minus the “replace”, then yes – they are being obstructionist.

        And please provide actual references to back up your answer. This is one case where what you *think* the answer is just isn’t good enough.

        • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/12/2014 - 04:02 pm.


          You need to read the definition of obstructionist because it doesn’t mean what you think it does. Just because you think they have to do something doesn’t mean they really do. They have already stated they would prefer to fix things rather than a wholesale repeal. In other words they do plan to replace.

  2. Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/12/2014 - 07:08 am.

    Amusing TV Reality Shows: Shark Week

    When the “evening news” covers the shopping frenzy around Thanksgiving, as we know they will:

    Turn off the sound & try to guess whether you are seeing rabid shoppers or flipped to a documentary about hoarders & looters!

  3. Submitted by ALAN BELISLE on 11/12/2014 - 09:14 am.

    Black Friday, Greed Thursday

    I think there should be a universal boycott of any retail store that opens on Thanksgiving. Just think of the poor people who work for them, probably mostly part-timers making meager money, with no benefits or insurance, no vacation or PTO, and no choice in whether they work that day or not. It’s bad enough for them to have to endure all of that so they can keep a roof overhead, how about having to work that crummy job while most everyone else is home with family celebrating and giving thanks for the good things in life? If we all stayed away, at least they would have an easy day at work.

  4. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 11/12/2014 - 09:14 am.

    Finger Pointing…

    Probably I should leave this one alone…but are not Corporate “gang signs’ done with acronyms like IBM etc?

    If one cannot use one’s fingers to point, thus we must create a fist (no fingers please to oh so carefully not be misinterpreted)…but that would achieve a hand as fist which is not so great either eh? Enough already, yes…

  5. Submitted by Jim Million on 11/12/2014 - 10:41 am.

    “Can we start with getting rid of all the sick people?”

    Is this your snarky tag, Brian? If so:

    Is the tidal surf now a bit too strong…or, is your comment count simply down?

    Pretty irresponsible, even for this page. Retraction in order here. [Editors take note.]

    Maybe you’re just feeling the anticipatory anxiety related to the coming Legislative Auditor’s MNsure Report. Is that it?

    Readers should know that Jim Nobles and his staff have been busting their butts all summer to tell the story like it is/was. Facts and recommendations are coming to a publication near you very soon.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/12/2014 - 02:38 pm.

      How soon they forget

      2011 Republican debate moderated by Wolf Blitzer at which the crowd cheers the suggestion that a healthy 30 year old man who chose not to buy insurance and then becomes catastrophically ill should simply be allowed to die. The crowd cheered. And hollered “Yeah!”.

      No -Brian’s comment was based on a bit more than simple snark.

      But this was an event I suspect many Republicans would prefer the general public to forget.

      Sorry. Something like that lives on.

  6. Submitted by Curtis Loschy on 11/12/2014 - 11:36 am.

    War on Poverty

    Someone should tell the new house majority, in reference to MN Sure, that war on the poor is not the same as war on poverty.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/12/2014 - 01:09 pm.

      But unfortunately

      the results seem to be the same. The black family couldn’t have been more destroyed over the past 50 years than if the KKK had been in charge of our cities. I grew up in a black neighborhood 50 years ago that was a thriving middleclass enclave of hard working, two-parent, church-going familes. It’s all gone now.

  7. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 11/12/2014 - 12:01 pm.

    Brian + MNSure = Over the Top Commentary

    He’s just passionate for the current setup, it’s perfect the way it is. If you disagree you are a hysteria-monger and/or just want to want to get rid of all the sick people.

  8. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 11/12/2014 - 12:38 pm.

    “Can we start by getting rid of sick people?”

    Sick joke plus Sick speaker equals sickness of a most dangerous kind; sickness of the mind I would say…reminds one of Fascism, Germany 1932…

    • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 11/12/2014 - 02:01 pm.

      Brian was using parody

      at the expense of Republicans, or at least that ‘s how I read him.

      Given that much of the GOP seems indifferent to the personal tragedies people face with medical bankruptcies and denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions, it would be within parodic license to wonder if “getting rid of sick people” might be on the table as well.

    • Submitted by Tom Clark on 11/12/2014 - 02:37 pm.

      Ah yes, I remember them well

      Those long ago days of yore when Sarah Palin was talking about so-called “death panels”. Thankfully Brian isn’t anywhere close to being a nominee that’s a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States.

  9. Submitted by Tom Clark on 11/12/2014 - 01:10 pm.

    It’s interesting to note how many conservatives here

    seem to have no idea what Minnesota Republicans have been saying for years about the Affordable Care Act:

    So Brian’s snark is, if anything, pretty gentle stuff given what Republicans have been saying on the subject. So no, I don’t expect anything constructive being offered at all, only more B.S.

  10. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 11/12/2014 - 02:29 pm.

    Did I miss something?

    I probably did…Brian’s was merely a bit of back-handed snark talk ; not an endorsement I assume?

    But the thought that too many are viewed expendable in this society – who deserves to live, who deserves to die and carelessly slide into the discussion however tongue-in-cheek, defining the evaluation of the conservative right..for words in this crazy society do at times activate small minds, like an endorsement of same in a discussion that for many is a serious issue; a matter of life and death ?

    As one who seeks no health care since mid fifties, I’ve been lucky. But it is ‘the other’ citizenry, those with a need for affordable health care…which single payer (Wellstone’s perspective) would have been great, but which self indulgent conservatives gridlocked out of Obama’s initial plan demonstrating a sad bit of political selfishness, yes indeed.

    When the most desperate among us have no hope in this society, when policies we never dreamed could happen here, become acceptable where could we be headed next? Change happens so slowly we barely notice…

  11. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 11/12/2014 - 02:36 pm.

    …and yes,

    …my apologies to Brian if I read him wrong..

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