ACA repeal could cut disability services for thousands in Minnesota

REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Related to today’s big U.S. House vote. Glenn Howatt and Chris Serres of the Strib say, “Thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities could lose medical and personal-care services that allow them to stay in their homes and live independently if Congress passes the GOP health bill that heads to a crucial vote in the U.S. House on Thursday. The bill is the House Republicans’ vehicle to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but its biggest impact would fall on the federal-state Medicaid program, which provides health coverage for the poor, elderly and disabled.” 

The AP reports, “A police officer and three other people were shot and killed when a domestic dispute at a bank escalated into shootings at three locations in northern Wisconsin on Wednesday, investigators said. A suspect was in custody. The shootings happened at a bank, a law firm and an apartment complex, where officers, including a SWAT team, had a standoff with the suspect for several hours before ending in a volley of gunfire around 5 p.m. Authorities took no questions in a brief news conference late Wednesday and gave no details on the four victims or suspect.” 

The Strib’s Ricardo Lopez reports: “The Minnesota Senate fired its controller Wednesday after she was charged this week with felony forgery in Hennepin County. Trudi Ruzich, 46, of Blaine, had worked as controller since December 2016, Senate Secretary Cal Ludeman said in a statement. It’s a nonpartisan position related to management of financial operations of the Senate. Ruzich faces up to 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine in connection with the alleged theft, according to a probable cause complaint.”

Well deserved. In The Washington Post, Michael Cavna writes, “Steve Sack draws a rather uncanny Vladimir Putin, complete with heavily hooded eyes perched above long cheekbones — as if even the Russian leader’s very face is simultaneously distancing itself while remaining ever watchful. Fortunately, Sack, the political cartoonist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is watchful as well, because his satiric depictions of Putin and Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong Un are dead-on. And now, the Overseas Press Club has agreed. On Tuesday, the OPC announced that Sack is this year’s recipient of its Thomas Nast Award for cartoons — one of several dozen honors and citations bestowed by the group, which rewards courageous and illuminating international coverage.”

Ripping off a school’s auto shop: classy. A PiPress story says, “When Matt Lijewski pulled up to the Central High School Service Station in St. Paul on Sunday morning and saw the garage door was open, it crossed his mind that another staff member could be test driving a car. Instead, he found the school’s auto repair shop ransacked. Thieves dumped out trash from the garbage cans and used those cans to carry out hundreds of tools worth about $30,000. They also stole Principal Mary Mackbee’s 1998 Toyota Camry, which was at the shop to be repaired, plus about $2,000 of the shop’s cash from a locked drawer.”

Paul Tosto at MPR is considering The End of Days for Sears. “It’s been years since anyone thought of Sears as a destination shopping experience. It’s more nostalgia than anything. The company, which hung on through more than a century of boom and bust economic cycles, ran like a winded geezer in the era of internet commerce. It may survive, but the company’s acknowledgment to the SEC makes it sound like the race has been run.”

Trump will accept the credit. Says Mary Jo Webster in the Strib, “Foreclosures in Minnesota last year were about 26 percent lower than the year before, dropping to the lowest level in more than a decade, according to newly released data compiled by the Minnesota Homeownership Center. There were about 5,300 properties statewide that went to a sheriff’s sale in 2016, with just over half in the Twin Cities. That’s an enormous drop from the years during the housing crisis and recession when an average of 23,000 Minnesota homes went into foreclosure each year.”

Well, there’s gotta be an upside somewhere. MPR’s Tim Pugmire reports, “Minnesota House Republicans on Wednesday outlined their $1.35 billion tax-cut plan, the biggest piece of which reduces the state tax on Social Security income. With the latest economic forecast projecting a budget surplus of $1.65 billion, Republican House tax chair Greg Davids of Preston said it’s time to provide Minnesotans some long overdue tax relief. Davids said his bill uses $270 million to exempt more senior citizens from paying the Social Security tax by raising the income level where the tax kicks in.”

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