Losing so others may win. Stribber Christopher Snowbeck reports, “A federal government decision to freeze ‘risk adjustment’ payments under the federal Affordable Care Act is threatening more than $70 million in funding expected by Minnesota health insurers while also raising questions about the potential impact on premiums next year. On Saturday, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said a court decision earlier this year means it must put on hold the financial transfers, which effectively shift money from some insurers in certain markets to carriers that cover more people with expensive health conditions. Health policy experts argue the federal agency could have responded to the ruling without freezing the transfers. Insurers, in turn, criticized the move, saying it could result in higher rates for consumers. ‘It’s ridiculous,’ said Jim Schowalter, chief executive of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, a trade group for insurers. ‘The timing, the impact, the uncertainty continue to make health care harder and more expensive for people than it needs to be.’”
So this is not organic, free-range or artisanal, right? Says an AP story, “A federal court has ordered the owners of a Minnesota farm to stop distributing adulterated meat in interstate commerce. According to a consent decree filed Monday, the Meech Dairy Farm in Sebeka is permanently barred from distributing meat that has been medicated with new animal drugs above legal limits. Federal authorities say high levels of these drugs in meat poses a public health risk.”
My dog won’t roll unless the AC is on. Austin Howard of the Grand Forks Herald says, “Eleven dogs en route from a Mississippi animal shelter to Minnesota died when the van they were being transported in broke down Friday, July 6, in northern Mississippi. The van was headed to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, Minn. The volunteers who were driving unloaded the dogs as fast as they could to transport them to a cooler spot, but it was too late for 11 of the 50 dogs expected in Minnesota. According to the Southern Pines Animal Shelter Facebook post, they don’t believe the deaths were caused by heat in the van. ‘At this time, we do not know what caused these dogs to pass, but we are actively trying to determine the cause if possible.’” Fifty dogs … in a van?
RIP, Babs. In the Strib, Jim Walsh writes, “Barbara Carlson, a former Minneapolis City Council member, talk radio host and self-described ‘broad,’ has died at the age of 80. She was surrounded by family and friends during her last moments Monday. ‘We all had a lot of alone time with her this morning to hold her and tell her what she meant to us,’ her daughter Anne posted on Carlson’s CaringBridge site. … In the end, the return of lung cancer finally did what political opponents and the people she skewered on her radio show and in her books — including former governor and ex-husband Arne Carlson — could not: Silence someone who seldom hesitated from saying what was on her mind or sharing the intimate details of her life.”
Keeping it on the down-low. Jessie Van Berkel and Kelly Smith of the Strib report, “U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan visited several Twin Cities businesses Monday, touting tax cuts and technical careers while also talking up the chances of two fellow Republicans facing competitive congressional races this year. ‘We think Minnesota is a great opportunity for us this year as a party,’ Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said in an interview after talking about taxes in a closed-door meeting with Rep. Erik Paulsen and employees at Best Buy’s headquarters. ‘I’m just here to help out the team.’ Ryan also stopped at Burnsville’s Ames Construction, where he heard about the need for more skilled workers at a meeting with Rep. Jason Lewis and a small group of business and trades representatives.” I got $100 for both campaigns and Ryan’s next SuperPAC if the three of them walk the length of Nicollet Mall at lunch and take all questions.
Good on these folks. At MPR, Emma Sapong writes, “Some Twin Cities restaurants are cooking up social activism Tuesday. Twenty-five eateries will donate a percentage of their sales to help reunite separated migrant families on the Arizona border. Since early May, 2,342 children have been separated from their parents after crossing the Southern U.S. border, according to the Department of Homeland Security, as part of a new immigration strategy by the Trump administration that prompted a widespread outcry.”
He probably didn’t want to take it to the Supreme Court anyway. In the PiPress, Josh Verges says, “A federal judge has rejected an African-American graduate student’s claims that Hamline University discriminated against him because of his race and sex. Gary Prewitt, who lives outside Nashville, began taking online master’s degree classes in 2009 in hopes of becoming a teacher. According to complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education and in U.S. District Court in Nashville: Prewitt earned good grades and made progress toward his degree until 2012, when he traveled to St. Paul for two weeks of in-person study. That’s when Prewitt said he was photographed for his student ID, which was the first time the school would have known he is black. When he applied for graduation months later, Hamline told him he needed a higher grade in a class he’d taken three years prior. His instructor said he could complete an extra assignment to improve the grade but a supervisor said too much time had passed.”