Dayton campaign calls Johnson’s MNsure charges a ‘smear’

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Jeff Johnson speaking to reporters at Friday's press conference.

Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson has tried to up the ante in making MNsure — and the loss of its most popular insurer — a campaign issue. He called for the state auditor to expand its current investigation into MNsure operations to include whether the Dayton administration pressured PreferredOne to health care rates that were unsustainably low.

Johnson suggested but offered no proof that the Department of Commerce, charged with approving all insurance rates for the state, may have allowed PreferredOne to participate in MNsure without the capacity to sustain the low rates that attracted 60 percent of the MNSure market, or about 30,000 families and individuals.

“The Commerce Department’s role is to make sure that the rates are actuarially sound,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t appear that they were.”

When asked whether politics influenced the Commerce Department, he replied, “I think anything could have happened. There can always be political motives in politics.”

The response from the Dayton campaign was terse. “Commissioner Johnson’s accusations that the Governor engaged in illegal activity are unfounded and untrue,” said campaign spokesman Jeremy Drucker. “We will not dignify Commissioner Johnson’s smear attempt with any response.”

Johnson said that Dayton’s failure to respond to concerns about MNSure prompted the call for further involvement of the legislative auditor. He dodged a question of whether the MNSure issue would be pivotal in the campaign’s outcome. But, he said, “Their health insurance and how much they pay for it is a pretty personal thing to most people.”

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Comments (133)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/19/2014 - 02:24 pm.

    Dayton clearly owns the MNSure debacle; he said himself “the buck stops here”, but I have to say I doubt he had any personal influence in Preferred One’s rate setting….his MO never included paying due attention to details.

    That being said, the actuarial numbers handed out by his minions on the MNSure board should be questioned. They have failed time and again to carry out their responsibilities, and it seems highly likely they were involved in this latest failure.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/19/2014 - 04:15 pm.

    Let Us Not Forget

    That Mr. Johnson, given the opportunity, would do everything in his power to interfere with MNSure and make sure that it ceased to function (or even exist).

    Then we could go back to the point where a lot of folks are where I used to be,…

    60 years old, self-employed and forced to buy insurance through MNComprehensive, and paying premiums of nearly $800/month.

    Whatever MNSure’s flaws, I SERIOUSLY doubt the public will hold Gov. Dayton personally responsible,…

    (he’s the Governor of the State, for heaven’s sake, not a micromanaging CEO personally running every individual department or agency),…

    nor do ANY of us (except, of course those in the upper echelons of the 1%ers) want to go back to what our “conservative” friends regard as “the good old days:”

    being denied insurance for preexisting conditions,…

    having policies cancelled after we got sick,…

    having to sue our insurance companies to get them to pay for things that the policy clearly says are covered,…

    or simply not being able to afford insurance at all,…

    which is where, given the chance, Mr. Johnson would take us.

    • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 09/20/2014 - 09:32 pm.

      What you really mean

      You mean you appreciate all the other people who now pay higher rates so that your risk can be absorbed into the larger pool and you do what you really want which is to consume health care but have somebody else pay for it. Why is the complaint always against the insurance system and yet nobody seems to complain about health care costs? My daughter’s first pediatrician charged an office charge of $50 per visit when she first started going 16 year ago. That same visit today for my two year old is charged at $365! If you want to find out what is really wrong with the system stop blaming insurers and read the Time Magazine article “Bitter Pill” by Steven Brill. Google it and take the few hours it takes to read it. You will learn all you need to know about what’s wrong with the system and you’ll realize it’s not the insurance mechanism that’s broken. Say what you want about whether MnSure works or is a disaster, but this is for certain, the ACA has done absolutely nothing to rein in out of control health care cost increases.

  3. Submitted by Wesley Volkenant on 09/19/2014 - 05:01 pm.

    There is No Debacle, Mr. Swift

    The website that has been the source of so much angst, works! People get signed up for health coverage by filling out the applications themselves. They have had access to multiple choices of plans – four levels, most provided by five companies, with coverage for pre-existing conditions, for serious health issues, or for the casual preventative user.

    Hundreds of County employees around the State continue to process applications on on-going cases, some of whom remain on MA (Medicaid) because they are primarily aged and disabled, and thousands of which are being processed in MNSure’s CURAM system. Had the Republicans agreed to set up MNSure a year earlier, we wouldn’t have been pressed against the deadlines and had to rush a product onto the market. As it happens, MNSure and CURAM have kept evolving behind-the-scenes for the past 14-15 months, into a much more efficient system now – but it had to get there without all the development and practice time new systems require – instead it was a baptism under fire for its first year in existence. The political fault is entirely the fault of the stubborn, anti-Obamacare Republicans. The system developers certainly had issues, too, but oh what a year of “R & D” would have meant to this system.

    Preferred One was the little guy – primarily known as a 3rd Party Administrator to Self-Insured employers. Mine is self-insured – which was a great move – and enhanced by the excellent 3rd Party Administration we receive from Preferred One. But Preferred One – not the Governor, not the Department of Commerce – but Preferred One, screwed up with an unworkable model. Unlike Medica, Health Partners and the others, it had to rely too heavily on this book of business. And despite having nearly 60% of the MNSure customers, it could not make a profit. I’d have preferred the stuck it out with a cheap Bronze plan for the users needing just a cheap product, and then raised prices 15-20% on their Silver, Gold and Platinum plans to better align with the competition. They’d have kept the customers who couldn’t be bothered to make a change, and perhaps still attracted others even after price and plan comparisons.

    Republicans insisted on keeping the insurance structure basically unchanged. This is what happens – some companies can’t quite make it work – think Snyder Brothers Drug Stores once Walgreen’s and CVS pressed the market.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/20/2014 - 09:26 am.

      The website works!

      I find this kind of misinformed belief troubling.

      Applications are being processed by *hand*. The backlog is chest deep. It was just reported that tens of thousands who think they are covered are not, due to an inability to determine their elegibility!

      This is an important subject. You owe it to your fellow citizens to operate from a well researched knowledge, not blind allegience to a politician.

  4. Submitted by William Pappas on 09/20/2014 - 07:01 am.

    MNSURE and republicans

    Negative comments and charges directed at MNSURE or any other outgrowth of the ACA are hard to take seriously. Nearly every single charge has proven to be false and a result of either outright deceit or simple incompetence and blatant ignorance of the ACA. If an insurer drops out it is not a reason for investigation. Many health insurers are happy to compete on the MNSURE site for customers under the new and consumer friendly rules that govern those companies. The ACA has proved incredibly beneficial to every single person in Minnesota and the nation. As Greg’s comment above describes those benefits, it would be horrendous to return to the yearly double digit premium increases, insurance bureaucrat harassement, policy cancellations based on health events, catastrophic costs for events thought covered, employees endentured to employers soley because of their health insurance coverage and inability to shift policies because of pre-existing conditions. In fact, the ACA has enable a flourishing of entrepeneurial startups by single individuals precisely because they no longer have to worry about finding affordable insurance OR any insurance at all that will cover the normal person of late middle age. NO, MNSURE and the ACA are here to stay. Thanks, republicans for donating your signature plan so that the country could at least have some kind of universal coverage.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/20/2014 - 11:14 am.


      I like some aspects of ACA, but this affordable myth is humorous.

      Since technically the plans cost the same or more. The difference is that someone else is paying part of the bill for the low income and high risk patients.

      That is why they need the young to join, and the taxes needed to be raised on all of us who had insurance and flex medical accounts. Or purchase medical devices.

      To me it is just more social engineering compliments of the DFL.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/20/2014 - 05:11 pm.

        As opposed to previously

        Where someone else (namely taxpayers) paid for portions of the low income folks coverage, and those with pre existing conditions were screwed. Hmm such a difficult decision. Still not clear on how you’d like to insure someone, like say my usual example of my niece with CF, since you don’t want to use the government, you can’t use the market (unless you can find me an insurer willing to take a guaranteed loss), and you can’t even use the old “personal responsibilty” dig without coming off as a heartless monster. Suppose you just expect folks to beg for their life to a charity.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/20/2014 - 11:05 pm.

          Read carefully

          Pre-existing condition coverage is one of those things that I do like about ACA. As long as the party has always been paying for health insurance to someone. (ie not just applying once problems occur)

          The wealth transfer aspects of ACA are what I dislike.

          Should Greg, a 60 year old, have lower premiums at the expense of a 25 year old paying more?

          If a person is in pre-retirement (lower income), should other tax payers pay more to subsidize their premiums?

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/21/2014 - 03:51 pm.

            My niece

            Has had CF since birth, she isn’t paying premiums to anyone, her parents are. See the problem with your scenario? So your plan is to penalize those with the temerity to get sick and be unable to work, therefore making it more likely they might lapse their health insurance coverage. Sounds great.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/21/2014 - 07:08 pm.


              Yes, parents do pay premiums for their children and typically the birth of a child is considered a life changing event, so the child is automatically added to the insurance after their info is provided.

              Did the parent’s insurance refuse to add her to the policy because of the CF?

              • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/21/2014 - 09:57 pm.

                yes actually

                But you miss the point. At some point she will no longer be a child. She will still have CF. Under the old system, or yours, she would then have to hope and pray that A. She can find a job that offers insurance, and that that insurance will accept her. Or B. Seek government assistance which would require her to live in poverty. Now, she gets to buy a plan, just like everyone else, or she can rest more easily assured that any plan an employer offers will also take her on.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 06:44 pm.

                  If her parent’s had paid premiums the whole time, I agree with you that future insurance groups should cover her. I think I said that above. (ie one real benefit of ACA)

                  • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/24/2014 - 02:46 pm.


                    Since you don’t favor a mandate, how do you plan to make it affordable, since in your world there is nothing preventing an insurance company from prescribing a premium for the coverage that effectively makes it unobtainable.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/24/2014 - 05:24 pm.

                      When did I say I don’t supporting the mandate of consistent premiums?

                      My point is that I don’t want to have people committing pre-existing condition fraud.

                      That being to save money, they do not pay for insurance until they need it.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/24/2014 - 09:26 pm.

                      You’ve stated

                      Your opposition to mandatory participation ie the “mandate” in question. Since that is the case, one would assume that the young and healthy will not participate, just as many did not before. As insurance claims are paid by the premiums of others, the money to pay for the claims of those with pre existing conditions must come from somewhere. Since you’ve made it abundantly clear that it shouldn’t come from existing policyholders (since we don’t want to transfer any wealth of course) where exactly do you expect it to come from if not from exorbitantly high premiums on those with pre existing conditions. Certainly you don’t expect insurance companies to take losses out the goodness of their non existent hearts?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/24/2014 - 09:29 pm.

                      Or are what you trying to say

                      Is that you’re perfectly OK with wealth transfer as long as a private entity gets a cut? Which of course is utterly ridiculous.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/26/2014 - 11:32 am.

                      Mandate Fine

                      I am fine with mandating that everyone carry health insurance. I am not fine with making one citizen pay for anothers health insurance. To me it is just another form of welfare.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/26/2014 - 03:01 pm.

                      So you support the ACA?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/26/2014 - 05:08 pm.


                      Thats how insurance functions, you can’t have the first without the second.

              • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/21/2014 - 10:13 pm.

                Perhaps you’d prefer a different example

                Had a college buddy, diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma at 19. Nearly died, spent three years in recovery, thankfully while in grad school so covered under a university plan. Left school, no more insurance. Had to work several internships to get employment in his field, not exactly that which would support keeping insurance. So in your world, poof! Out of luck, your needs for a cheap rate outweigh his to have a chance to start his adult life without bankruptcy from ongoing bills. Worse yet, what if his recovery wouldn’t have allowed him to continue his education? He wasn’t on his parent’s plan. Funny thing is, I just one guy and I have many more examples, just from people I know personally of how your idea won’t work in practice. Multiply that by 350 million and you’ll understand why for this one reason alone I’ll fight to my last breath to stop conservatives rolling back this legislation and throwing people, including those I care about out to suffer as they have in the past.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 06:42 pm.


                  “Multiply that by 350 million ”

                  By this do you mean that every American will develop a chronic pre-existing condition and not be able to get insurance through their employer? Source please.

                  • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/23/2014 - 09:56 am.

                    350 millon with experiences

                    Like mine. Point being, the problem is consistently understated by those with a vested interest in minimizing the issue.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/23/2014 - 10:25 pm.


                      The problem is consistently overstated by those with a vested interest in maximizing the issue.

                      We know 350 million is vastly exagerated since every American does not experience the issue.

      • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 09/22/2014 - 09:55 am.

        The Young will eventually become the Old

        Think of it as the Young subsidizing their future high costs when they become the Old. Charging more than it costs when you are 25 will pay itself back when you turn 55. It is a near certainty that everyone will need healthcare at some point in their life. The options are to spread it out or pay a lump sum at the end. Nobody rides for free.

        I agree that the ACA is not able to control the rate of increase in medical costs. There are things that can help control costs (allowing Medicare to negotiate for drugs is one) but there will be tradeoffs in how quickly new technologies arrive.

    • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 09/21/2014 - 12:46 pm.

      It has NOT helped everybody

      “The ACA has proved incredibly beneficial to every single person in Minnesota and the nation.” You mean except for the ones who have either lost their coverage or have had less benefits at a higher price. It is NOT beneficial to everyone. For every person who has gotten a better deal, there are others who are worse off.

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/20/2014 - 11:01 am.

    This kind of wild and unsubstantiated “claim” or “assertion” or “suggestion” by a political candidate is to be condemned by everyone who thinks: Johnson is obviously scraping the barrel for something–anything–to say in the campaign.

    What he doesn’t want people to ponder, of course, is what this insurer’s withdrawal says about the ultimate wisdom of continuing to have private companies be the ones offering health care insurance. That was the huge ACA compromise, and probably wrong for us. We need a public, single payer.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/21/2014 - 01:29 am.

      Health Care

      Make that public single payer universal and you’ve got my support. All in and all benefit. For those who insist on a market approach, there’s still a roll for the for-profit sector to provide additional insurance above the basic services the government provides.

      Everybody is covered and no one has to worry about some for-profit company dropping them. No worries about pre existing conditions, a car accident, cancer, or sports injury.

      Want to start a new business or change jobs? No worries about your coverage. It baffles me that Republicans aren’t clamoring for universal based on this point alone.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/21/2014 - 12:01 pm.

        Same old problem

        Public single payer universal would just be another arbitrary wealth transfer tool run by a bureaucratic behemoth, kind of like the public school system….

        Would you really want that many patients left behind?
        Would you want questionable healthcare professionals protected by their public employees union?
        Would you want to have a limited ability to sue?
        Would you want the Bureaucrats burying the waiting lists and patients like the VA?

        I think about offering more and more free stuff as equivalent to paying every US citizen $10,000 per year just for standing on American soil. For those happy to live on that or slightly more, what would be their incentive to work and support the success of America? I mean it would be nice for them, they could pursue their passions or hang out. The only downside is that $10,000 has to come from the pocket of some other citizen.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/21/2014 - 03:55 pm.

          It might be more persuasive

          If virtually all those problems didn’t already exist under the system we just left, or in the alternatives your side proposes. Limited ability to sue? Apparently you’ve missed the conservative plank of tort reform huh?

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/21/2014 - 07:21 pm.

            Tort Reform

            Every time I hear the lawyer ads, I am reminded that tort reform has not passed. Just think how much money must be gained by the lawyers to justify running all those ads. Well at least the media outlets and lawyers win.

            Though you are correct that some folks are left behind since they can not or choose not to pay. The rest of us do get the best medicine money can buy, and when things go wrong we are free to sue everyone and anyone involved.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/21/2014 - 10:01 pm.

              well if you or a family member are damaged by medical negligence

              I’m sure your health care providers will be glad to hear you have no plans to hold them accountable for the screw up. Sorry, but if you think its the lawyers driving up your medical bills, good luck to you.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 08:03 am.

                My point is that the previous and current system let you sue, I am not sure how that would work with single payer, especially if the government opened clinics and hospitals like the VA.

                And of course ambulance chasers and class action lawyers drive up the costs, someone is paying for those ads and the Law firms behind them. Paranoid Doctors schedule extra tests just to triple check their opinion. They have to pay for expensive malpractice insurance.

                So we know it does drive up the costs, the question is “is it worth what we pay?”

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/22/2014 - 09:54 am.


                  Doctors run multiple tests because they are enormously profitable. They take out insurance because A, They screw up a lot, or B. They are incredibly inept at managing the expectatations of their patients with regards to outcomes. Your problem is in holding up doctors to some foolish ideal, pretend that they are somehow more moral and trusworthy than any other businessperson. They are in fact worse, as they have what is in essence a captive market. Sorry, if I screw up my job, I can get sued, you don’t see me carrying insurance against it. Don’t screw up, problem solved.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 11:25 am.

                    Law Suits

                    If you are self employed and not carrying a lot of liability insurance, you may want to rethink that decision.

                    If you are employed like most of us, the law suit would typically go against the company you work for.

                    I think we will need to disagree regarding Doctors and their intent / capability. I am typically very happy with my Doctors and respect them greatly. The reality is that bad things happen in medicine, some could be prevented and some could not be prevented. Unfortunately our culture believes the person harmed is owed something either way, and there is usually a Lawyer who is willing to help push the issue.

                • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 09/22/2014 - 09:26 am.

                  I don’t think most folks are suggesting that the U.S. go to full nationalized health care, like the U.K.

                  And, actually, if you do the research, you’ll find that tort reform isn’t going to fix the problem. The real problem isn’t that people are getting too much out of the system, it’s that most people who suffer malpractice aren’t getting compensated at all. And our systems to get rid of offending doctors instead often work to protect them and keep them practicing.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 11:38 am.

                    Suffer Malpractice

                    How in the world would one quantify this?

                    I do recognize that the extreme stories of someone having the wrong organ removed are clear cut cases of malpractice, and I hope those Doctors pay.

                    The more likely issues of nicking a nerve, getting an infection, someone bleeding out, missed cancer diagnosis, etc seem a little harder to determine if some miraculous doctor could have done better.

                    So let me get this straight, it is ok for the Teacher’s Union to fight dismissals and demand pay for years served, but not okay for licensing organizations to make the call if a Doctor is fit?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/22/2014 - 12:15 pm.

                      Sounds as if

                      You feel poor medical care is just unavoidable. Tell me, if the doctor “nicks a nerve” as you put it, leaving someone permanently disabled, do you suppose they set aside their exorbitant fees? How about the medical facility? If the pressure of perfection is too great a burden to bear when dealing with people’s lives and health there are many other professions available without such burdens.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 02:51 pm.


                      To err is human…

                      And some of the problems are not even an error, they are just normal variability of results within the task/system.

                      The severity of errors and variability in their field are high, however it is unlikely they can attain perfection with so many interacting factors in play.

                      Do you or your work group ever make mistakes?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/23/2014 - 10:05 am.


                      My mistakes don’t cost anyone life or limb. Sorry, but that’s all that really matters, they happily accept the great rewards that come as a result of what is essentially a captive market, its more than fair to expect they take responsibility for their mistakes. You can’t have it both ways, if you are going to hold doctors up as paragons of intelligence and competence, then give them a pass because the problems they face are complex and the standard to which they are held is high.

                    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 09/22/2014 - 12:27 pm.

                      The point is that a relatively small number of doctors (6% who lost 2 or more malpractice claims) were responsible for nearly 60% of malpractice payments over a 15-year period. in a national study. Stronger discipline for such doctors would do far more to reduce the costs of the malpractice system than tort reform — and it wouldn’t have the negative impact on victims that limiting their collections would.

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/22/2014 - 12:48 pm.

                  Ambulance Chasers and Lawyers

                  Total Medical Malpractice Payouts in 2011 = 3.2 billion.
                  Total US Healthcare Expenditure = 2.3 trillion.

                  Those costs account for, what, approx 1.5 percent of US Healthcare spending?

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/22/2014 - 02:35 pm.

              Dang them lawyers!!!

              Medical malpractice insurance accounts for roughly 2% of the cost of medical care in the US. The cost savings due to a decrease in so-called “defensive medicine” would be around 0.3% (a peer-reviewed link:

              Speaking from my own limited experience, plaintiff’s attorneys turn away more potential medical malpractice cases than they accept. Medical cases are complex, expensive, and hard to win.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 03:08 pm.

                Your Source

                “From our analyses, we conclude that defensive medicine practices exist and are widespread, but
                their impact on medical care costs is small.

                Does our analysis suggest that tort reforms such as caps on damages and limits on attorneys’ fees should not be enacted? No, because even this small level of extra cost should be eliminated from the system. It does suggest, though, that claims of high levels of expected savings from tort reform are overstated.29”

                As for the tort reform I would support, having a medical panel determine if medical negligence occured, having a jury of lay people do it is silly. Maybe we could have the lay people assess damages after negligence was proven.

                And stop the class action suit nonsense where the lawyers get rich and the victims get a pittance.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/22/2014 - 05:10 pm.


                  You may recall that both the state and US Constitutions grant the right to trial of civil cases by jury. How much money would have to be saved before other rights are taken away? Think how much outlawing gun ownership would save!

                  Class actions have nothing to do with medical malpractice, and are in fact seldom tort actions of any kind. They are usually used to enforce consumer protection laws, which . . . oh, I think I see. Never mind.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 06:38 pm.


                    In a law suit where a husband was crushed by a piece of mobile equipment, the wife was allowed to come in and plead her case regarding how terrible her loss was. Which might make sense if it was in the portion of the trial where the fine/payment was to be determined.

                    However this was done before the cause / fault had been established. It didn’t matter that she was no where near the incident, it did not matter if she knew anything about safe operation, etc… It only mattered that she could cry and wail in front of the jury. Thereby incenting them to believe that she was owed something from the deep pockets of those involved.

                    I am very aware that the country’s founders had good intent. However something is not quite right about our current civil court system. Maybe in time it will improve.

                    Here is an interesting view.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/23/2014 - 09:08 am.


                      Sorry, but these stories of outrageous lawsuits are generally one-sided accounts of isolated incidents.

                      Does your objection really go to the assessment of damages against “those involved?”

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/23/2014 - 12:40 pm.

                      Normal Variation

                      Bad things happen to good people, even if no one is negligent.

                      From my view, the first step in determining if money should be paid is to determine if negligence occured. Negligence being something worse than normal variation. This is not an emotion based exercise, it is a technical evaluation of what happened as compared to the current state of the art.

                      Once folks agree that someone has been negligent and that damage payments are due. Then let the wailing widow in the courtroom.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/23/2014 - 02:52 pm.


                      Negligence IS what needs to be determined by the court… so that’s like saying that someone else needs to determine if a party is innocent or guilty _before_ sending the case to court… so that a jury can decide sentencing. The ‘normal variation’ in these circumstances are typically enumerated by the medical professional prior to the patient receiving such care… and in cases of death, even if death IS a known possible complication, there should be a deeper level investigation anyways.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/23/2014 - 10:34 pm.

                      Grand Jury

                      Or maybe you could consider it a grand jury made up of subject matter experts. Their task is to determine if there is adequate proof that negligence occurred to justify a trial.

                      An investigation and a civil suit are 2 distinctly different things.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 09:05 am.

                      I’m just not into taking away the legal rights of health care “consumers” to seek remuneration for medical negligence.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/23/2014 - 04:38 pm.

                      Bad things happen to good people

                      If no one is negligent, no one has to pay money.

                      You can bring in a dozen wailing widows (well–maybe only in Utah), but the jury still has to determine that someone was negligent in order to award any money. The jury verdict form lists these as separate questions.

                      “But what if the jury is swayed by emotion?” That can work both ways. One reason medical malpractice cases were traditionally such difficult cases to win at trial is that juries tended to assume the doctor was right. It’s an inherent flaw of any system in which humans make decisions (judges or panels of experts are no more immune to emotion than anyone else).

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/23/2014 - 07:11 pm.

                      Yeah Sure Yah Betcha

                      You must be kidding.

                      Lawyers count on the jury seeing that wealthy company and that distraught poor victim. I think they call it the “deep pockets” argument.

                      Sorry, but people tend to be less sensitive when they are exposed multiple times. For better or worse. This allows them to focus on the details.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/24/2014 - 01:57 pm.


                      Why do we want people to be “less sensitive?” Empathy is an essential part of humanity. It is also, if I recall my Bible study, well thought of in Christianity (that Jesus fellow seemed to talk it up quite a bit).

                    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/26/2014 - 07:07 pm.

                      “If no one is negligent, no one has to pay money.”

                      So lawyers are working free these days? Sheesh.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 09/23/2014 - 07:20 pm.

                      Wailing Widow?

                      You have an excruciatingly annoying habit of dismissing anything that hasn’t happened to you personally. For someone who claims to be a Christian, you don’t seem to be familiar with the phrase “There but for the grace of God, go I”

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/23/2014 - 09:19 am.

                  But isn’t kind of stupid, or at best, quixotic, to put such a huge percentage of conservative effort towards healthcare reform in the form of ‘tort reform’ towards a problem that only reflects 1-2% of the cost?
                  Tort reform seems to be the only consistent conservative response to what needs to be done to corral health costs in this country… and they’ve had years to come up with an alternative to Obamacare (AKA Romneycare, AKA Bob Dole’s health care plan from 1996).

                  • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/23/2014 - 10:18 am.


                    Didn’t Texas enact tort reform several years ago? I seem to recall that they found it had no impact on health care costs or malpractice insurance costs after it went in place. Maybe someone with more time on their hands than me can look it up when they get a minute.

    • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 09/22/2014 - 04:18 pm.

      Single Payer

      Like the VA? I’ll tell you what, you get the VA running well and then we’ll talk about single payer. Until then, the idea doesn’t even deserve serious consideration.

      • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 09/23/2014 - 08:49 am.

        The VA isn’t single-payer, it’s more like a nationalized health care system.

        Medicare is the closest equivalent to single-payer, and it works perfectly fine.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/23/2014 - 10:51 pm.

          True Maybe

          Now would medicare and medicaid work as well if our private healthcare systems were not funding R&D, paying for facilities, encouraging medical professionals to go into the field, etc?

          I don’t think so…

          • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/24/2014 - 08:45 am.

            Private healthcare systems funding R&D

            Where’d you get that? Drug companies, medical device companies, philanthropic groups, and even the government fund medical R&D. Private healthcare systems–not so much.

            It makes sense–drug companies, medical device companies, and biotech companies have an interest in increased technology for profit’s sake. Philanthropic groups and the government have an interest in technology for public benefit. Private healthcare systems have an interest in sick people–that’s how they make their money. While doctors and other health professionals might individually want to contribute to health, that’s not what fills their pocket books. One need not look too far for motive, though. It would seem that the high number of (highly paid) specialists as compared to (relatively lowly paid) general practitioners would suggest that most peoples’ motives aren’t entirely altruistic. That’s fine. General practice is hard and demanding. Why would you willingly trade higher paid position for harder work?

            I would assert that medicare and medicaid would continue to work just fine, especially since private healthcare systems have little to do with funding advanced research in medicine.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/24/2014 - 10:25 am.

              Silly Question

              Where do you think “industry” gets their money from to cost justify spending all those research dollars?
              And according to your source “industry” provides ~50% of the research dollars.

              Would they keep investing $70,000,000,000 per year if a monopolistic health care system implemented price controls that greatly reduced the potential profits to be gained by doing the research? I don’t think so…

              • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/25/2014 - 10:21 pm.


                How do the medical manufacturers and drug companies in Europe make a profit given the universal health care they have there? Their health care costs are cheaper and they provide better service than America.

              • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/29/2014 - 09:39 am.

                Not silly at all

                Profit is profit. Perhaps it will mean that there’s more competition for the profit, but competition is good, right? Capitalism only works if there’s competition, right? If you want to champion capitalism, don’t forget how it’s supposed to work.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/24/2014 - 10:30 am.


              From the source you provided, it looks like ACA is already pushing some of our R&D money elsewhere.

              “While promising, none of the increases in industry funding appear to signal the beginnings of a significant upward trend in private sector R&D. The med tech industry is contending with a 2.3% excise tax that took effect January 1, 2013, and both the biotech industry and the pharmaceutical industry face continued uncertainty regarding future reimbursement levels and other policy concerns, including intellectual property and regulatory issues. In such a climate of uncertainty, investors are attracted to nations with stable, predictable regulatory environments.”

              • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/24/2014 - 11:37 am.

                And that ‘uncertainty’ is a feature, not a bug, of the Republican congress and their perpetual inability to do anything of worth.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/24/2014 - 04:15 pm.


                  I am thinking the DFL pushed the big change and uncertainty button when they passed ACA.

                  And when they try to implement price controls via Medicare and Medicaid.

                  • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 08:56 am.

                    The DFL is a state party, and had nothing to do with the ACA.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 10:11 am.


                      So the Republicans are the GOP
                      What are the Democrats? DEMs?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/26/2014 - 05:12 pm.

                      If we’re being really nit picky

                      Isn’t the MNGOP identified as IR in some circles? Or is that a historical artifact of a time.when it may have actually applied?

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/24/2014 - 11:20 am.

            If you want advanced research taking place, reverse the foolish Federal Sequester cuts. That shortsighted nonsense gave NIH and other research funding a huge kick in the giblets.

        • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 09/24/2014 - 07:58 am.

          VA and Medicare

          My point was that I need to be shown that the government can run a large system of hospitals before I put it in charge of all of the hospitals. So far the response to the VA scandal has shown that government workers (and the people that love them!) are more interested in shifting blame than they are in actually fixing problems. It would be nice to see some evidence that this exact same attitude wouldn’t be in place with an expansion of government responsibility in the health sphere.
          How well would the Medicare system work if it wasn’t sitting on top of a freer system? Arguments about efficiency ignore how much government work piggy-backs on private systems. Take those away and you lose that efficiency.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 09/23/2014 - 10:15 am.

        Single Payer

        A single payer system is the only system even worth considering. Everything else is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Here are a few points to consider.

        Insurance gets cheaper the more people you have in the pool. Self funding your health care is essentially a pool of one, which is very expensive. With a universal system, you have all in, which creates the largest pool possible. The people who are sick today are covered at a lower price and the people who are healthy today know they’ll covered tomorrow when they need a doctor. Everybody in; everybody benefits. And you don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions, which was a big problem under the pre-ACA system.

        Administrative costs are cheaper for government-run programs than for both the for-profit and the nonprofits sectors. Medicare typically runs 3% of funds for administrative costs whereas the others run about. Given that we’re looking at trillions of dollars in health care per year, that’s a lot of money. Of course the insurance companies won’t like a single payer system unless they’re the guys who get to be the single payer. It threatens their business model and you know how people don’t like change.

        Single payer means doctors and hospitals only have one set of paperwork to fill out, which is a huge cost savings for them and that means cheaper service for you. Have you noticed that clinics only take some health plans and not others? That’s because it’s too expensive for them to hire a staff to handle all the different plans that are out there. Simply simplifying the paperwork would be a huge benefit to them, which would further reduce their administrative costs.

        In other words, it’s more efficient.

        Another benefit: you can go to any hospital, clinic, or doctor you want. They’re all in your plan! Under the current system you have to change clinics whenever your employer changes insurance companies, which sucks when you get used to a good doctor you like.

        Universal care also means people can go to the doctor at the first sign is illness, rather than put it off until they have a job with benefits several years down the line. Everyone knows that preventative maintenance is cheaper than taking care of the issue after the fact. We’ve all heard the rhyme “a stitch in time saves nine.” So it is with health care, where a minor ailment is easier (and cheaper) to cure than a full blown disease with complications.

        And then there’s the issue that I touched on in an earlier post; namely that universal coverage is one major item an entrepreneur or job seeker doesn’t have to worry about. It makes for a more efficient, mobile, and adventuresome work force. People can take the risk of starting a new company if they don’t have to worry about their family’s health care.

        Again, the benefits of a universal single payer system are so logical and obvious that I’m amazed Republicans and Democrats alike aren’t clamoring for it from the highest hilltops. People may quibble about a detail here and there, but the system is elegant, sound, and well tested in many European countries, so we’re not exactly traveling new ground here with dragons around every corner. This is an item all political stripes can get behind with bipartisan support.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/23/2014 - 10:03 pm.

          Sounds like you are willing to give the State a lot more power and influence in our personal lives.

          I am guessing many people like myself will find monopolistic healthcare that is over seen by “Big Brother” somewhat objectionable. But I have been wrong before.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/21/2014 - 09:50 am.

    I’m your Huckleberry

    “Nearly every single charge has proven to be false and a result of either outright deceit or simple incompetence and blatant ignorance of the ACA.”

    OK, I have my pencil and paper; I’m ready to be convinced. Please name a few deceitful charges that have been proven false by competent and knowledgeable Obamacare proponents.

  7. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/21/2014 - 12:35 pm.

    Too easy, Mr. Swift, like shooting fish in a barrel

    Obamacare Myths

    You have been tweeting misinformation about Obamacare yourself. I’ve tried to set you straight for years with facts and links…

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/21/2014 - 06:58 pm.

      More fish for harvest

      If you want to shoot fish, this statement by Mr Pappas seems ripe for harpooning.

      “The ACA has proved incredibly beneficial to every single person in Minnesota and the nation.”

      The reality is that ACA has been beneficial for some people in some ways. As mentioned above, people with pre-existing/chronic conditions, those with lower incomes, and young adults who can stay on their parent’s plan longer do benefit.

      The downside is that this was not free and the rest of us do pay more to cover the extra costs. The costs are either direct like higher taxes or higher premiums, or indirect like higher medical device costs or less choice.

      Now whether this is good or bad is another issue, but to say that ACA has beneficial for everyone is a gross overstatement. I am guessing 80% of us see only increased costs and 20% have benefited.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/22/2014 - 08:02 am.

      From your link: “Claim: If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Misleading.”

      Lol! You got me there, Bill.

      • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/22/2014 - 10:31 am.

        As usual, Mr. Swift, your reading

        You asked for false claims about Obamacare.

        see link above

        Claim: 8.2 million Americans can’t find full-time work partly due to Obamacare. says: False.

        Claim: The law is a job-killer. says: Overblown.

        Claim: Premiums are going up because of the law. Premiums are going down because of the law. says: It depends.

        Claim: All of the uninsured will pay less on the exchanges than they could now on the individual market, even without federal subsidies. says: False.

        Claim: You won’t be able to choose your own doctor.
        Claim: The government will be between you and your doctor. says: False.

        Claim: Those applying for federal subsidies can lie about their income without facing verification. says: False.


        Your response is typical of your mode of argumentation as most readers are aware by now.
        Ignore the main points of the link and focus on something to use for deflection.

        And I note that there are plenty more examples of unfactual criticism of Obamacare out there. Like shooting fish …

  8. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 09/22/2014 - 08:27 am.


    Any process where prices are literally being fixed needs high amounts of transparency. If the commissions and boards had some improper arrangement with PreferredOne, then we need to know about it. The possibility is there, of course. And given the history of government boards and corporate entities, it would be silly to think that it couldn’t happen.

    I’ll note that from the info given in the article, Johnson is simply saying that something improper ‘may’ have happened. It’s the Dayton people that are inflating this into a charge of criminal activity.

  9. Submitted by Chris Williams on 09/22/2014 - 10:12 am.

    An IT Perspective

    I work in at at a large financial instituion that routinely does these large scale projects.

    Whether you agree with the ACA or not is up to you. I’m not here to debate that. But, getting a system of that magnitude up and running in such a short timeframe and expecting no bugs was foolish. Nothing that big and complicated can be rolled out in such a short time frame. Every 1.0 release from any tech company has problems.

    The Republicans need to own this. They stonewalled and stonewalled development because they were sure the supreme court would strike down the ACA and didn’t want to spend funds on something they didn’t think would survive. This is poor planning. You always need a contingency plan. When they didn’t get the ruling they wanted, they finally got around to approving the exchanges (both at a state and federal level). That short timeframe more than anything is what is leading to such a poor experience on the website. Now they want to use that poor experience as a campaign issue to shut the thing down. It’s all just shenanigans. Its like cutting funding from public education to the bone, getting poor results, and then saying public education is a bad thing and we should privatize it. It’s part of the playbook.

    Had there been a proper timeframe for this IT project, it would have went much smoother.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/22/2014 - 11:17 am.


      Minnesota and the other states should have used the national system.

      Instead we tax payers apparently paid quite a few IT companies to develop quite a few unique systems with their own unique bugs. Now we paying these various IT companies even more to fix and maintain these various systems.

      How many billions of potential healthcare dollars went into and will go into the development and marketing of the multiple systems? The world may never know…

    • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 09/22/2014 - 04:15 pm.

      Obama Needs to Own This

      Chris, I think you have this exactly backwards. The party that needed to have contingency plans was the one that was setting up the product. The party at fault was the one that needed to have some realistic idea of their capability. You may not know this, but the Obama administration pushed back deadlines for states to choose in hopes that more of them would choose to set up their own plans. Exactly none of that is the Republicans fault.
      The idea that Republicans halted development while they waited for court challenges is pure revisionism.

    • Submitted by Bruce Young on 09/23/2014 - 03:36 am.

      How long is long enough?

      The federal web site suffered from the same design/functional issues. There was clearly enough time for their system to be designed & properly tested. No Republicans were in any way responsible for that debacle.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/23/2014 - 09:25 am.


      Republicans did everything they could to hamstring this law, or to keep it from ever getting implemented, which did artificially constrict the development timeline for these exchanged and electronic system. These types of websites area incredibly hard to build, and that shortened time-frame affected the outcome.

      It also doesn’t help that (at least on the federal level) the government process by which IT vendors and developers are awarded contracts typically goes to the company that is best at winning government contracts, not the company that is best at doing X, Y, or Z.

  10. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/22/2014 - 10:23 am.

    Obamacare didn’t create the problems of health care in America, in particular the increase in costs resulting from the aging of the population, it’s a response to those problems. It is unlikely that it will increase overall costs because we were giving roughly the same care anyway, and we were simply allocating the burden of those costs inefficiently in ways that increased costs.

    I hear a lot about “transparency”. It’s a nice thing to have, but the problem with the fix in which we find ourselves and never been less than obvious, and really isn’t eased by increasing the acuity with which we perceive it.

  11. Submitted by Paul Landskroener on 09/24/2014 - 08:39 am.

    Tort reform: missed opportunity

    To get in a little late: The Obama administration missed a huge opportunity when negotiating the ACA in not agreeing to reasonable medical malpractice tort reform as part of the deal. First, it might have given political cover to the few remaining moderate Republicans to support the bill, undermining the extremists’ largely successful attempt to make it a partisian issue. Second, depending on the kind of reform adopted, could result in better (i.e., fairer, more consistent) compensation for malpractice victims and would have hurt (if that’s the word) virtually no one except malpractice lottery winners. Tort reform (again, depending on what’s meant) likely wouldn’t save very much money (as others have pointed out), but it would have blunted the opposition and have been a cost-free political benefit. I regret that the opportunity was missed.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/24/2014 - 12:23 pm.

      Who am I

      You, or anyone else except a judge, and possibly a jury, that we think we should have the right to decide what is a just compensation for these “malpractice lottery winners” as you describe them. Try to remember, before all, they are victims of medical negligence. Should we just put up all civil judgements to popular vote, maybe make a reality show? My word, the mental flip flops one must do to justify such positions have to be stunning.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/24/2014 - 07:35 pm.

        They are not “victims of medical negligence” until a jury determines it to be so. And even then as RB and I are discussing, some juries are swayed by their empathy. I mean the lawyers count on it and play to it.

        I think our desire is to make settlements more lucrative for the victim and less lucrative for the lawyers…

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/25/2014 - 06:16 am.

          Unless you plan

          To come between an person and their lawyer, (wow violating freedom of association and dissing the free market all in one post) the two are inseparable. As I’ve stated previously, the easy way to avoid all this is to not screw up.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 07:43 am.


            Yes perfection is a worthy goal. However it reminds me of a Dilbert comic where the Boss tells the crew that “No errors will be tolerated.” And then Dilbert notes that Wally is frozen in place for fear of doing something and possibly making a mistake.

            Rarely are we treated without a Doctor going through the potential risks of the procedure or the medication. Then we choose to proceed of our free will. Asking for “negligence” payments when typical complications and problems occur seems odd.

            • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 09/25/2014 - 09:14 am.

              Who is asking for “negligence” payments when typical complications and problems occur?

              People are looking for people truly impacted by preventable error to be compensated.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 08:14 pm.


                How would we know?

                I think the lawyers are just looking to get paid, and maybe gain some notoriety.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/26/2014 - 09:05 am.

                  Just looking to get paid

                  So are hedge fund managers and investment bankers, yet we are not supposed to look cross-eyed at them because then they won’t have incentives to let us breathe their air; I mean, to create jobs for all.

                  • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/26/2014 - 01:05 pm.


                    But how would we know?

                    I think the hedge fund managers are just looking to grow jobs in America, and maybe gain some goodwill.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/26/2014 - 02:31 pm.

                      That’s right

                      They act only from the best of motives.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/25/2014 - 06:21 am.


          In order for one to be a “malpractice lottery winner” would a decision regarding the negligence of the damaging party need to have been made? Please note that while not technically the case, I would consider an out of court settlement as a de facto admission of guilt, if one has the goods to prevail in court, go do so.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 07:29 am.

            Admission of Guilt

            Maybe, or it is the less expensive of competing alternatives. (ie payment vs court costs)

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 09:09 am.

              It’s so they can avoid admission of guilt. If they are never found guilty, then there is no legal history of judgement against them and they can (technically) correctly claim that they’ve never been found guilty… which would also positively affect future potential lawsuits, from the defendant’s position.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 10:04 am.

              Since we’re already going down this legal rabbit-hole, here is an example of how individuals face great obstacles while they seek legal justice against a financial behemoth with a lot of resources, and for the plaintiff, may have to accept an out-of-court settlement for various reasons. Often times, if the defendant is worried about their negligence seeing the light of day if their case DOES go to trial, they will try to settle right before that would happen… but not after years of legal obfuscation, trying to wait the plaintiffs out.

              “Families of teens killed in Wisconsin crash drop lawsuit against GM”

              “For GM, Tobias said, it’s advantageous to encourage settlements with Feinberg — even for millions of dollars — to avoid bad publicity, legal costs and the risk of huge verdicts. The automaker has set aside $400 million in its compensation fund and may pay out up to $600 million.”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/24/2014 - 02:03 pm.

      Cost-free political benefit

      Cost-free except to the injured people who are denied a remedy for their injuries. The “malpractice lottery winners,” who down here in the real world are about as numerous as unicorn wranglers, are an insignificant cost to the system.

      The political benefit would have blunted the opposition by an unusually large injection of federal authority into tort law, which has always been an area of state concern. I realize that the opponents of the ACA seldom let principles slow them down (especially if it means hosing the powerless), but that fact should be noted.

  12. Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/24/2014 - 02:41 pm.

    National Institute of Health

    You know where all the research on diseases that AREN’T potential money makers for the pharmaceutical industry gets done. That and cures for chronic diseases that said industry would prefer to manage with lifetime prescriptions to their latest product.

  13. Submitted by John Appelen on 09/24/2014 - 07:29 pm.


    “Why do we want people to be “less sensitive?” Empathy is an essential part of humanity. It is also, if I recall my Bible study, well thought of in Christianity (that Jesus fellow seemed to talk it up quite a bit).” RB

    Empathy is very important in many cases, one of which likely being the damages portion of a trial.

    However if you were being tried in civil court for being negligent, do you really want the jurors finding you guilty because they feel sorry for the widow or because they are personally squeamish about the procedure being performed?

    Or do you want them knowledgeable in the procedure, the typical success rates, the complications and making their judgement based on facts, data and some expertise?

    • Submitted by jason myron on 09/24/2014 - 09:04 pm.

      Metrics means very little

      to the “wailing widow” who just lost her husband. Once again, you’re obsessed with the thought of someone gaining monetarily that YOU deem unworthy. It’s a personality trait that you seem extremely proud of and one that I find personally repugnant.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/24/2014 - 09:37 pm.

        Please explain further

        Who am I seeing as unworthy by promoting the use of facts, data and expertise in the court room when working to determine if another person is guilty of negligence?

        Do you feel any empathy for the person or persons who are being sued? or
        Are you judging them to be guilty before the jury rules?

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 09:19 am.

          You’ve already pre-judged the defendants as being innocent, and the plaintiffs as being guilty of greed, in these cases, and think that we should change tort law based on your assumption, not facts. I wonder what you find so distasteful about American jurisprudence,

          Either way, this is a long way from the topic of the article, about the MNGOP Gubernatorial Candidate alleging that the current Governor threatened a company into lowering it’s prices fcr political benefit.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 11:36 am.

            Facts and Data

            I don’t think advocating for the use of facts, data and expertise to determine if negligence occurred is pre-judging anyone. Oh well, you are correct that we wandered a long ways a field.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 12:40 pm.

              “I don’t think advocating for the use of facts, data and expertise to determine if negligence occurred is pre-judging anyone.”

              Agreed, and what you’ve described already exists, it’s called a “trial.”

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 05:49 pm.

                Widows Sorrow

                Is that fact or data when determining if someone was negligent in the operating room?

                Assuming she was not there to observe the procedure, or in my case the accident.

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/26/2014 - 08:54 am.

                  “Assuming she was not there to observe the procedure…”

                  In what universe would the plaintiff (your “wailing widow”) be expected to be the expert witness in their own case? She, (or he) would not be the person responsible for determining negligence. I don’t think you understand how these things work.

                  …wailing widow… just seems like more cruel indifference to me… especially since this is a construct of your own imagination, and this is the scenario you pick to defend negligent imaginary doctors.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/24/2014 - 09:34 pm.


      In essence you simply would like to remake the entire justice system? Well kudos for ambition, but I’d suggest packing a lunch. I did put out the reality show concept earlier so no plagiarism, please.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/24/2014 - 11:18 pm.

        Dreams Matter

        Other commenters here dream of a state run health care monopoly that is fair, efficient and effective, and paid for by the well to do.

        I dream of a tort system that identifies neglience accurately and efficiently, provides fair rewards to those who were injured by true negligence and reduces the payment to the lawyers/court system.

        Maybe some day our dreams will come true…

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/25/2014 - 09:53 am.


          So its not that you want to shaft the victim, only provide them with what is “fair”. Hmm, do I need to go on, I think you can guess my next question, after all its one of your favorites.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 02:33 pm.

            What is Fair

            Yes … What is Fair?

            I think that is something the jury can decide once it has been decided medical negligence occurred. By the way, here is an intereting link.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/25/2014 - 06:34 pm.

              This would be different from staus quo how?

              If it simply means you don’t trust a jury to make the correct call, one hires a better lawyer, who will do a better job at jury selection, one doesn’t rewrite the rules of civil jurisprudence. Or perhaps one should have a little more faith in the judgement of his peers.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 08:11 pm.

                Progressives who argue for the old status quo. Who would have thunk…

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 09/25/2014 - 09:40 pm.

                  If it ain’t broke…

                  I don’t think rule of law, and its corresponding justice system, is really a bone of contention between the ideological camps until you get to the level of old men pulling the intentions of the founders from their derrières.

                • Submitted by jason myron on 09/26/2014 - 01:08 pm.

                  Based on your contiued commentary

                  it’s obvious that you really don’t know any. You seem genuinely baffled by the response you have received here. But people who are enamored with analytics rarely have people skills or the ability to expand out of a very narrow parameter, so I can’t say that I’m surprised.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/25/2014 - 09:19 am.

      Empathy is inescapable. I can’t help but feel that the natural empathy of those “knowledgeable in the procedure, the typical success rates, [and] the complications” will be unduly skewed towards their peers (“So he forgot to take the stitches out of the man’s rectum.* I can see how that would happen.”). I would rather have a finder of fact who feels empathy for the “wailing widow” than one whose empathy goes to the slapdash physician.

      *Real case from Hennepin County, but I don’t recall the name offhand.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 09/25/2014 - 12:57 pm.

        Slapdash Physician

        Again with what I perceive as pre-judice that the Doctor / Hospital was negligent or careless. No where in this comment string have a inferred that the patient may have caused the problem by not following directions, etc. Yet over and over again folks here infer that the Doctor was at fault / careless just because it got to court. I’ll never understand.

        Do you want justice, or just a payment for all who are injured and sue?

        If a meteor falls from the sky and kills the husband, whould expect that someone should compensate her for her loss?

        I think a professional review board could feel empathy for all involved, and therefore form a better judgment.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/25/2014 - 02:00 pm.

          Professional review board

          One of the consistent problems for plaintiffs bringing medical malpractice cases is the difficulty in finding expert witnesses to testify against a fellow physician. Sure, in the abstract, they may fee empathy towards an injured victim. When push comes to shove, however, there is a natural tendency to circle the wagons to protect one’s own.

          I have personally seen a physician change his opinion on whether a given treatment was malpractice based solely on his becoming aware that the treatment he had originally condemned was the standard one recommended by his employer (just to bring you up to speed, the standard of care for a physician is defined as the care exercised by all of the physicians in the community, and is not determined by a group’s standardized practices).

        • Submitted by jason myron on 09/25/2014 - 07:20 pm.

          A meteor falling from the sky

          does not equate to a physician whose mistake causes the death of a patient. A professional review board is nothing but a bunch of suits who are just as apt to rule based on arbitrary action, personal favoritism or corporate coercion. Thanks, but I’ll stick with a jury of my peers.

  14. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/25/2014 - 06:29 am.

    Tort reform

    Achieving Obamacare was a virtually impossible thing to do. It was the result of a party, one with a real commitment to health care reform, gaining control of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, not just with a majority but a veto proof majority. I don’t think this will ever happen in my lifetime, and as it happens it only effectively occurred for a brief period in 2009, and ended with the death of Senator Kennedy. Even then, passage of health care reform was an extraordinarily difficult task, It barely got done at all and what did pass was basically a Republican program that many Democrats found difficult to support. Getting this job done with the addition of more controversy such as medical malpractice reform would have simply been impossible, and the greatest opportunity for meaningful reform would have been lost for a lifetime.

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