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Flanagan to business leaders: Walz to push for paid family leave, more affordable child care — and a MinnesotaCare buy-in

photo of peggy flanagan speaking at lectern
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
“It is really, really important that when we talk about One Minnesota, we mean One Minnesota,” Lt. Gov.-elect Peggy Flanagan said of the Walz administration.

Lt. Gov.-elect Peggy Flanagan didn’t have to explain why she went out of her way to tell those at a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce event Tuesday that the incoming administration was open to listening to what business had to say.

In the lead up to the 2018 election, business organizations had not exactly been allies of the DFL or its governor candidate, Tim Walz. “That’s one of the reasons why, when I received this invitation I said, ‘Yes, absolutely,” Flanagan told attendees of the Women in Business Annual Legislator Luncheon.

“It is really, really important that when we talk about One Minnesota, we mean One Minnesota,” Flanagan said of the Walz administration. “And that we work across lines of difference in order to get things done. And the best ideas — contrary to what you heard for the last several months — can come from both sides of the aisle.”

Looking for cooperation

She delivered that message after an election in which business tried hard, and spent heavily, to help Republicans keep control of the state Legislature, even if those groups mostly stayed away from the governor’s race once former Gov. Tim Pawlenty was defeated in the GOP primary.

While DFL-affiliated groups outspent Republican counterparts five-to-one on the governor’s race, they were outspent almost two-to-one on legislative races. The pro-business Minnesota Jobs Coalition, for one, spent $709,000 in independent expenditures through the Oct. 22 reporting period, while a chamber-connected organization, the Pro Jobs Majority, spent $1.38 million. The Coalition of Minnesota Businesses, which is affiliated with the Minnesota Business Partnership, spent another $824,000.

If the purpose of all the money was to keep the state House in GOP hands, it didn’t work. Nearly all of the DFL candidates in contested districts won, despite the heavy spending against them. Which means that groups like the chamber must now shift from campaign mode into lobbying mode, trying to figure out a way to work with people they opposed not all that long ago.

On Tuesday, that shift included lunch.

“We look forward to working with you and the Walz administration during the upcoming session,” said Laura Bordelon, senior vice president for advocacy at the chamber, before introducing Flanagan.

While the incoming lieutenant governor expressed a willingness to listen to concerns about regulation and efficiency in government, she also set out what the Walz administration might want in return. Walz, she said, will push for a public option for the purchase of health care, something that was touted during the campaign as the MinnesotaCare buy-in. The move would allow those who earn too much to qualify for subsidized insurance to still purchase health insurance through the state system.

She said the administration will also look for ways to make child care more accessible and affordable. “Families absolutely need high-quality, affordable child care,” she said. “This is where, especially, with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, we need you to be our partners as we tackle this issue. It is your work force who require high-quality, reliable child care. This is one issue where it shouldn’t matter which party you come from but that we should be working together to fix this crisis.”

Flanagan also said the incoming administration will be looking at paid family and maternity leave, and again asked for business cooperation. “I know that here in Minnesota we have some of the best and brightest minds to figure out how we get this done and how we work together to be sure that our kids, our new infants, those who are adopted and brought into families have an opportunity to get a really solid start,” she said.

During a brief question period — what Flanagan joked was a “Native American Oprah sort of moment” — an owner of a medium-sized business said she was aligned with the social issues Flanagan spoke about but asked what would be done to improve the business climate that would be needed to fund them.

Flanagan said that as they look at social issues that affect the workforce — education, training, child care, paid family leave — the incoming administration wants to hear from business owners. “I don’t run a mid-sized business. I primarily come from the nonprofit community,” she said. “I know there are different issues you are facing. So I want to make sure we are partnering together and assembling groups of people to talk about that.”

The transition committee she is chairing will also be touring the state to hear from the public, she said.

‘I hope we can find some common ground’

In addition to business leaders, several legislators and legislators-elect also attended the lunch. One was the soon-to-be lawmaker Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, who defeated 10-year Minnesota House incumbent GOP Rep. Jenifer Loon to represent District 48B, in Eden Prairie.

Kotyza-Witthuhn victory encapsulated many of dynamics at play in the election. She won in a suburban district that had been held by the GOP but that had supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Her race was also an example of how and where business groups spent money to protect the GOP’s House majority.

photo of rep.-elect Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn speaking with luncheon attendees
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Rep.-elect Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn, center, was the target of $55,300 worth of negative campaigning by business interests.
While the chamber and its direct affiliates didn’t spend money on the race, other business interests did, including the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses, which spent $55,300 through Oct. 22 on negative campaigning against Kotyza-Witthuhn. Final reports due in January will likely show even more spending against her.

“I consider myself a businesswoman,” Kotyza-Witthuhn said after the luncheon. Yet she still found herself on the receiving end of campaign mailings saying, among other things, that she would raise taxes to pay for single-payer health care.

“As a first-time candidate, I was flabbergasted,” she said of the advertising deluge.

While she expected her race would “garner some attention,” it was more than she had thought. She said she countered those messages by campaigning door-to-door and speaking directly with voters.

Kotyza-Witthuhn also said she didn’t take the negative campaigns personally, understanding that it was aimed not as much at her as at maintaining GOP control of the House. “Many of the ads on both sides of the aisle, whether it was for me or against me, tended to be very cookie cutter,” she said. “I don’t know that it was necessarily writing me off as a candidate and that’s why I hope we can find some common ground.”

UPDATE: This article was edited to clarify the relationships between the largest business-related political committees and to state that the Minnesota Jobs Coalition is not directly connected to the state chamber.

Comments (66)

  1. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/28/2018 - 11:33 am.

    “Walz to push for paid family leave, more affordable child care…”

    Unless you’re suggesting regulatory caps on fees, “More affordable” means government subsidized. That means higher taxes, which means lower net income, which means child care becomes more unaffordable.

    How about lowering the tax bite for families with kids to the point where they can afford to have one parent stay home and be a parent? Not only does that solve the cost of child care, it will reduce the enormous costs of dealing with poorly raised kids later on.

    Sometimes thinking back into the box of what worked is a better solution than looking around outside it.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/28/2018 - 12:28 pm.

      You could eliminate all taxes for people with kids and it still wouldn’t be enough to get by on one income. It’s not the taxes that are keeping people from achieving that particular goal, but rather stagnant wages.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/28/2018 - 06:44 pm.

        That’s true for low, or no skill workers. There is a minimum income threshold for responsibly having children. We can’t stop thoughtless people from making poor decisions, but we can help those that are committed to good parenting.

        • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/29/2018 - 01:25 pm.

          Your first sentence is flat out, 100% wrong. Unless you think all those middle class families both love their careers more than their children. I’ll paraphrase “It takes a Village…”. It takes 2 incomes to raise a family. That’s called Reality.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/29/2018 - 09:32 pm.

            Here’s my reality: Since 1992 my wife and I have been raising a family on an income under 100K, and exceed the average of 3.14 kids. I know several others as well. Middle class incomes all of us. No, we haven’t taken the kids to Disney World. Ma and I haven’t “gotten away from the kids” by spending a week in Mexico. Sometimes I think, “I hope $75 keeps the dentist happy, because I can’t pay the whole bill this month.”

            That’s reality. Would you help other families but not mine?Would you help families with a combined income of $120K but not mine? Do we only get help if we pay someone else to watch our kids? Is sacrificing my wife’s income not a financial struggle?

            I don’t begrudge helping other families with child care. Not one bit.

    • Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 11/28/2018 - 02:36 pm.

      Mr Senker,
      What evidence do you have that children who attend quality daycare for part of the ir day are poorly raised?

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/29/2018 - 10:54 am.

        Like many controversial topics Beth-Ann, the effect of non-parental daycare is too often couched in weasel words, but a careful reading of the record provides some insight.

        For instance, within this article, which in my opinion attempts to gaslight the issue somewhat, we find this telling paragraph:

        “What level of child discomfort are we, as a culture, willing to tolerate in the name of affording women full participation in society?”

        It’s included as a question the author believes must be seriously asked when measuring the effects of non-parental daycare on child development. And let us remember, this author believes he’s treating the subject kindly.

        Conversely we would be hard pressed to find a competent psychologist to argue against full time paternal care and reading being the gold standard.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/23/2018 - 12:41 am.

          I think kids are better off with at least some day care to help with socialization. Kids who spend their whole early childhood alone with their parents can be stunted.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/28/2018 - 03:13 pm.

      Or how about raising wages (which have been flat for the middle class for the last 30 years) so that families can afford child care, the way they did when tax rates were actually higher.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/28/2018 - 06:41 pm.

        Higher wages are taxed more, which leave people with reduced net incomes. A tax reduction directly results in higher net incomes.

        Economics 101.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2018 - 12:23 pm.

          That is absolutely false. Your comment demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of how taxes work.

          If your increased wages move you into a higher tax bracket, you pay the increased rate on the portion of income above the bracket cut-off, not on all of your income. For example, if your taxable income was $38,000, you would be in the 12 percent bracket. If you got a $1,000 raise and had $39,000 in taxable income, you would be in the 22 percent bracket. Moving into the 22 percent bracket doesn’t mean all of your income is taxed at 22 percent. Only the amount of income over the $38,700 cutoff ($300). The rest is taxed as it was in the 12 percent bracket.

          This wasn’t something covered in Economics 101. I probably learned it in a 300 level undergraduate economics course or maybe in tax class in law school. But in any event, the point you are trying to make isn’t something taught in any economics class because it isn’t true. Under current federal and Minnesota tax law, an increase in wages won’t leave you with reduced income due to tax rates.

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/29/2018 - 01:48 pm.

            So, if you move into a higher tax bracket, you pay more taxes. Like I said.

            If you measure your quality of life by the amount of stuff you get from the government, I’m sure you are a very happy fellow…these are the salad days. But there are those of us that believe the function of government is to safeguard our liberties and freedom to succeed of fail as we will; and not much more.

            Happy as you may be, you cannot escape the reality of the facts. People are exchanging their family time for big government to pick up more of the responsibilities our parents and grandparents shouldered while raising well adjusted, educated children. Judging from our declining society, I observe it’s a poor trade-off.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2018 - 03:28 pm.

              The neat thing about the internet, or at least this site, is I can go back and read exactly what you wrote.

              You did not say:

              “If you move into a higher tax bracket, you pay more taxes”

              What you actually said was;

              “Higher wages are taxed more, which leave people with reduced net incomes”

              Not just higher taxes, but reduced net incomes. And that part is completely false. My point wasn’t about your policy preferences, but the fact you don’t understand how tax brackets work.

              • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 11/29/2018 - 07:29 pm.

                Well. Reduced net income if you compare it against what you would have brought home if it were still taxed at a lower rate.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 12:44 pm.

        Wages have been flat or falling since 1973. Much of it due to the govt/fed claiming inflation is only 2% or less. So businesses offer a 2% raise annually to offset that. Reality is that inflation has been running between 6 and 10% annually. Thus you fall behind with such low raises. You’re touching on much broader subject. A parent staying home to raise their own kids is much preferable to putting them in daycare. But to achieve that, we need massive changes at all levels of govt (mainly to eliminate deficit spending and pay down debt).

        • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 11/29/2018 - 07:31 pm.

          Inflation has not been between 6 and 10% over the last 10 years. Where did you come up with that? According to the Treasury’ stats, the average annual inflation rate over the last ten years is 1.45% per year.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/28/2018 - 03:13 pm.

      That’s not thinking outside the box. That’s just going to the same old box no matter what the issue is.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 06:28 pm.

      Will wonders never cease? For the second time in a day or two, I am in partial agreement with Mr Senker. And don’t overlook that “partial”.

      Lacking college degree, I am termed an “uneducated voter”. Despite my comfortable but modest middle class income. the Mrs. and I long ago chose to raise our family on one income. There have been years without any vacation at all. And years where vacation meant taking a few of the kids to a state park for a few days. I think the newest vehicle we’ve owned was 8 years old when we purchased it.

      I don’t in any way begrudge anyone more government support for child care. But I would suggest that those like me not be left in the dust, or dismissed with a “well sure, if you’re high income one parent can stay home.” I’ve not come close to $100K/year.

      Maybe rather than more financial support for direct child care costs for pre-kindergarten kids, direct support could be given to families, who would know best how to use that. For some, that would mean child care. For some, that would mean allowing one parent to leave gainful employment for a short time, as well as things like membership to the Children’s Museum or the Science Museum of Minnesota. This is how the Earned Income Tax Credit works, as does the federal child tax credit.

      There is a growing body of evidence that giving direct cash aid, as opposed to a variety of other types of assistance, is the way to go, as witnessed by the growing chatter about a universal basic income.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/29/2018 - 02:06 pm.

        There are many people sporting college degrees that fit the description of “uneducated voter” to a tee. It’s not a matter of formal schooling.

        I make more than $100k/yr today, but I didn’t come close to that starting out with a family of young kids. When we had our first child, my wife and I made the decision to sell our Highland Park house and move into one 1/2 the size in S. SP, not only so she could be with our kids, but so we could afford to send them to private schools. We had 1 (old) car, and we stuck to a very tight budget.

        It was the most rewarding, and best returned investment we ever made. I have little sympathy for people that claim they cannot afford to raise their kids. That usually means “I’m not willing to give up my comforts”, but even when it does not, the answer is “don’t have them, then”.

        • Submitted by Larry Moran on 11/29/2018 - 03:32 pm.

          The sacrifices (if you view them that way) worked out for you. But I’m sure there are people, say living in an apartment in south Minneapolis, with two children, one old car, two incomes, living at or below the poverty line, who can’t make that choice. No luxuries, no vacations, no savings if one little thing goes wrong, and a constant potential for homelessness. My background is not much different than yours, having made many of the same choices. But I’d wager we both started with more (and I don’t mean money), through nothing but luck, than that family in south Minneapolis. Full time parental care is likely the best but it’s not always possible. It’s for these people, who need two incomes to live simply, that “more affordable child care” is essential.

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/29/2018 - 06:33 pm.

            To the extent that luck plays in anyone’s life, it played no more in mine than the people living in that apartment in S Mpls.

            The biggest difference between them and me is, I didn’t have kids while having to count on anyone else for what was essential to raise them properly. Luck never figured into my decision making, and trust me here, I raised my kids not to count on luck for anything either.

  2. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 12:38 pm.

    I’m just not sure if Minnesota businesses know what they really want, or maybe they are not being honest with themselves or us.

    They want improvements in the way of roads, bridges, and mass transit. They talk about inclusion in the workforce, and acted on that by extending partner benefits to employees before gay marriage was legalized. Out-state, many employers have complained that the high cost of new housing has inhibited their ability to hire the workforce they need.

    Then they support a party that does nothing to advance those efforts. They support institutions like the Center For The American Experiment, which fear mongers immigrants, the very workforce they need now and in the future.

    Maybe it’s all just talk, and all they really care about is low taxes (for themselves, they’ll let the rest of us pay the bills) and the ability to pollute or air and water. Oh, I mean “less regulation”.

    Or maybe it’s some level of cognitive dissonance. Hopefully, how they interact with the new administration will clear up some of this.

  3. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 11/28/2018 - 12:56 pm.

    Nice idea of one parent staying home. Works pretty well for high income households Republicans represent. Doesn’t work well for those families with modest incomes, not because taxes are too high but because pay is too low – because business has held down worker pay to bring larger rewards to CEOs and other executives. For women who are single moms whose children’s fathers left the household it doesn’t work all. In a perfect world a parent should stay home until kids are in school all day. Our country hasn’t done what it takes to make that possible.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/29/2018 - 12:29 pm.

      Can you provide some data to back up your assertion that high income households are more likely to have one parent care for the children? I wouldn’t be surprised to find the opposite is true.

      Owing in part to union negotiated wages and benefits, along with paying cash for older vehicles and cruising the thrift stores, we have been able to have my wife’s vocation be raising our children. It’s a combination of being fortunate as well as choosing a thrifty lifestyle.

      I get it, this is not a politically correct view among us lefties. All of out choices involve trade offs, and they tell us something about our values.

      Some families truly can’t afford to have one parent stay home even though they’d love to do that. Some can and choose not to. I’m not sure which makes me more sad.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/29/2018 - 11:40 pm.

      “because business has held down worker pay to bring larger rewards to CEOs and other executives”

      With the bulk of employers being small businesses who rarely have CEOs and executives I think a more accurate explanation is in order.

      • Submitted by Michael Peters on 12/01/2018 - 02:11 pm.

        As of 2011, 38% of workers employed by the private sector were employed by large companies. While not the majority as mentioned, that means millions of Americans are working for companies where they are in some way impacted by massive increases in CEO and executive pay.

        • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 12/01/2018 - 11:53 pm.

          And back in 2011 those millions of people had jobs. A measurement of the impact of the CEO pay on those people might well have been tens of dollars when divided out over the millions of employees. I look forward to the actual data.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/02/2018 - 09:21 pm.

          And the standard definition of a ‘small’ business is one employing fewer than 500 people.

  4. Submitted by Mark Kulda on 11/28/2018 - 04:26 pm.

    The MinnesotaCare buy-in option is a very bad idea. For two main reasons. One the reimbursement rate paid to providers under the plan is so low the providers have to ‘cost shift’ their losses onto the other non-public payers and those with private insurance have to pay more for their care. But more importantly, the idea that it will increase ‘competition’ is crazy. Because of the artificially low reimbursement rate mentioned above the MinnesotaCare plan (which in an of itself is actually poor quality coverage) will be cheaper than the private market and if people begin to choose the buy-in en masse it will force out other insurers and actually make the availability of private insurance even worse. Soon the MinnesotaCare plan will be the only plan and under that scenario the quality of the health care system in the state under such low reimbursement rates will tumble badly. It would be a serious mistake to go that route when other methods are much better to lower costs and improve quality.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/28/2018 - 06:34 pm.

      Everyone abandoning private health insurance is a feature, not a bug. The money will then go to healthcare, not profits and administrative costs for companies that contribute literally nothing. Ask a doctor how they feel about it. Its all good.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 12:51 pm.

        That is simply not true. Govt run healthcare always leads to rationing. Even in the UK and Canada, the rich have private insurance so they get immediate care. Private health insurance in a free market is cheap and effective. In our current system it’s just prepaid medical care as insurance is billed for everything.

        Go to the Surgery Center of Oklahoma website to see an example of a free market solution where prices are posted online and they are 20% of what others charge.

        • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 11/29/2018 - 02:16 pm.

          Health care is already rationed today. We’re merely arguing over what the proper way to ration it is.

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 03:08 pm.

            That is simply not true. I can get any procedure done I want on almost any timeframe I want. In places like Canada, a simple hernia operation is a several month wait time. I can have it done next week in the US. In the UK various drugs and procedures aren’t allowed at all or are denied to people due to age etc.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/30/2018 - 06:43 am.

              Umm no. If you haven’t the funds for a procedure, and its non-emergent, you will not be undergoing that procedure. See the woman in Michigan who was required to crowdfund 10k before she would be placed on the heart transplant list.


              • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/30/2018 - 10:52 am.

                Umm, he didn’t say they’d do it for free.

                • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/03/2018 - 12:26 pm.

                  Healthcare is already rationed. Last year I scheduled my wife to see a dermatologist and it took see weeks just to get an appointment. And that’s with good health insurance.

                  Given how much our healthcare costs in the U.S., I would be happy to go with UHC and risk a little rationing. We typically pay around $10,000 per person per year in America for healthcare, while countries with UHC are roughly half that. This means an extra $20,000 per year in the back pocket of your typical family of four.

                  I don’t know about you, but that would be a huge coon in my book. With that kind of change, I can buy supplementary insurance if I want to get into a hospital right now and get a procedure done.

                  • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 12/06/2018 - 08:16 pm.

                    The biggest problem with UHC is that it will destroy the quality of the care we get now. The reimbursement rate to providers is so low if ALL the care is compensated at that rate, the providers will cut corners to make the numbers work. Which means fewer hours, fewer locations, fewer providers, less health care options. Americans will very much not like that. We already have the world’s best health care system with a flawed payment system we can fix in a much better way than using a payment system that will destroy it.

            • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 11/30/2018 - 12:09 pm.

              Yes, you’ve demonstrated that it’s rationed by the ability to pay.

        • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/29/2018 - 02:23 pm.

          It’s also unsupported by the facts. The cost of administering welfare has exceeded the increase of the caseload by more than 40% for decades.

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 11/29/2018 - 02:29 pm.

      I figured Walz’ support for Single Payor was a ruse to get left wings dems to vote for him and it worked. This proposal is a far cry from single payor (thankfully) but still a very bad idea for the reasons you gave. Mayo, Allina, etc are not going to discount for more govenment enrollees. If forced to, the rest of us will pay the price, big time.

      Single payor does not work on a State level anyway.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 03:04 pm.

        Single payer doesn’t work period. It only leads to rationing. There is no way to control costs when it’s seen as free so it get used way more often. Thus it must be rationed to keep costs contained. It also means that you will likely not have the best people becoming doctors because there’s so little money to be made for all the years of schooling.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2018 - 03:31 pm.

          There are counties that have single payor, cover everyone, spend less on healthcare, and have better health outcomes.

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 03:53 pm.

            Again not accurate. Outcomes are worse and they must ration. Even the LA Times proved that Canada has a 2 tier system where most have to wait months for actual care. Those other nations get breaks on drugs so if they paid their fair share their costs would nearly match ours. We pay all the R&D costs so they can get cheap drugs. We can’t even import them back in at those lower prices.

            Keep in mind those nations also have much higher taxes than us and are going bankrupt just as fast as we are.

            • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 11/29/2018 - 07:41 pm.

              Outcomes are not a very good way of comparing different countries health care systems because more is factored into outcome than just what care was provided to them. Here’s a great example….on an isloated island in Japan about a decade ago the life expectancy rate plummeted almost inexplicably. What did happen during that time was the island was opened up to American fast food restaurants which built like crazy there and were a huge success. Here in the US, we have more than 200,000 fast food places. In the countries with ‘better health outcomes’ they have a far far lower penetration of fast food outlets and much more dependence on walking to get around. The outcome of a country’s health system measured in the statistics doesn’t factor out things like lifestyle. Let’s face it, the US lifestyle stinks from a health standpoint and yet our medical system is somehow being criticized. We don’t have a quality of care problem. Our quality of care is world class…the best in the world. We have a payment system problem where consumers don’t know the true cost of the care and aren’t able to make smart choices. I’d rather give consumers their own money (HSA style) and have complete and total openness on quality and price and let them decide what to do. Higher cost, lower quality providers will be forced to either get better or cheaper (ideally both) and that will drive down prices which would be better for everybody. The LAST thing anybody should hope for is to allow the government to be the entity to get in between a patient and a provider. The government has proven time and time again to fail at even the simplest thing, like issuing license tabs. Why on earth would we let them have control over our healthcare?

              • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/30/2018 - 12:37 pm.

                Are you good with a profit making private insurer coming between you and your doc?

                A lot of Americans aren’t. What say you?

                • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 11/30/2018 - 03:32 pm.

                  Better that than a government entity that knows nothing about what its regulating. But the system I’m talking about would only have account management not underwriting decisions. So there would be literally nothing between a doctor and patient. Its hard to hide the greedy profiteering by medical providers if ALL the prices are completely transparent. Read America’s Bitter Pill by Steven Brill. Its a brilliant book that highlights abusive pricing practices by medical providers.

              • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/03/2018 - 12:58 pm.

                HSA accounts are pretty much a non-starter healthcare-wise. You’re not going to take the $340 from your HSA and use that to pay for $250,000 cancer treatment. Or end of life hospice. Or any one of a multitude of costly medical procedures. HSA are designed for handling small amounts of predictable items, such as prescriptions, glasses, and whatnot.

                Along the same lines, posting costs is also a non-starter. It’s not like people have the luxury of shopping it around when they’re in the midst of a medical emergency. At that point all they have time for is to get to the nearest medical provider and get the issue fixed before they’re permanently maimed or die. Not to mention that laypeople have no idea what needs to be fixed and what procedures are needed.

                Posting prices for MRIs and flu shots is all great if you have a predictable medical condition, but that’s not realistic for the vast majority of people.

                And posting prices doesn’t help at all if you’re in an area with one provider. Who are they going to compete against? Huge areas of the United States have such low population densities that it’s not economical to have two providers. You’re in a small town in Montana and the nearest large city is two hours away. Who is going to build a second hospital, plus clinics, plus hire doctors, nurses, and staff just to have them sit around 90% of the time?

                It doesn’t make economical sense.

                Not to mention it still doesn’t help people who don’t have health insurance. If you make prices marginally cheaper by posting prices, it’s still not going to help the poor folk who can’t afford their diabetes medicine, let alone major medical procedures.

                Or you could go with UHC health care.
                -Everyone is covered
                -All hospitals, doctors, and clinics are in plan, no matter where you are in the country.
                -No bills when you walk out the door.
                -No bankruptcy from bills.

                Seems like a slam dunk to me.

                • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 12/19/2018 - 04:38 pm.

                  Todd, you don’t understand HSAs at all. An HSA has two parts and you’ve forgotten about the second one. The first part is a cash account (the $340 you mentioned) and that cash is used to buy your health care up until you hit a deductible. After that’s met with the cash in your account, then the second part kicks in….a health insurance policy to pay for the rest (the cancer you talk about, etc.). But these accounts should be expanded and hybridized more so that consumers can take advantage of the price transparency. UHC is nowhere near as simple as you make it sound. It will be a gargantuan program loaded with many problems that will seriously degrade the quality of our health care system. If Americans truly knew what it would do, they simply would not accept that system nor the pricetag that will come with it. Spending other people’s money sounds great doesn’t it? Until you run out of other people’s money.

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/02/2018 - 09:24 pm.

              So why do they live longer?
              American life expectancy (particularly for males) is actually declining!

          • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/30/2018 - 05:58 pm.

            Again, not accurate. Name the counties. The beauty of the internet is that I can quote you exactly. See your post above.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/29/2018 - 05:15 pm.

          Care is rationed now, based on the ability to pay, primarily.

  5. Submitted by Laura Stone on 11/29/2018 - 08:56 am.

    Quality of life for everyone is quality of life for everyone. We should all want to pay taxes for that. And we should donate where and when we can to help that be a reality. The small business person with a coffee cafe or barber shop may be in great need of breaks , they maybe clear 30,000. profit but I know that anyone making over 100,000 a year income can be very generous.

    • Submitted by joe smith on 11/29/2018 - 10:07 am.

      Everyone can be as generous as they want, by giving as much money to the State as they like. There is a line on your tax forms for extra giving to the State. Taxes are not a generous act, it is forced taking of ones money with the threat of jail time if you do not comply. Every time the State starts a boondoggle program to “help people” it requires more tax payers dollars to be collected by the State. With a tax rate of 9.85% for the top earners in the state, how much higher would you make it to fund universal child care? Why should I pay for a babysitter for you?

      • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/29/2018 - 01:08 pm.

        Why? Because – unless you’re wealthy enough to live on your own private island in one of Minnesota’s lakes – you’re not living alone. You share streets, highways, forests, rivers, and every other facet of life in Minnesota with other human beings. For your own self-preservation, you’ll want those other Minnesotans to be at least reasonably educated, among other things, and all the things the state provides you, from clean water to breathable air to paved roads to law enforcement, are in part being paid for by yours truly.

        As for my own tax proposal for funding universal child care, I’d have to consult with Myron Frans, the state budget director, to see what figure he might propose to cover the cost(s) – assuming he would give me, a very ordinary citizen, the time of day, much less the result of significant research. My totally wild guess would be 10.75%, just as a starting point, though the actual figure might be higher or lower.

        I do understand the whining about perpetually-increasing taxes. My property taxes are 50% higher than they were in Colorado, and my state income taxes are 285% of what they were in Colorado, for the exact same income. For me, the real bottom line, Mr. Smith, is quality of life, and to my surprise, my standard of living has not decreased at all, despite those notably higher taxes. I attribute it largely to much less expensive housing and, because I live in the city and not the suburbs, equally less-expensive transportation. I still drive a car, but I drive it less, and shorter distances.

        Taxes are the price we all pay for something approaching civilization, and there ain’t no free lunch. In the 1970s, young males like me, who did not support the war in Vietnam, were urged by “hard hats” to go live somewhere else. If you’d like to live without taxes, I encourage you to take up residence in any one of several third world countries where taxation is minimal, as is the general level of publically-available services and public safety.

        • Submitted by Tim Smith on 11/29/2018 - 02:18 pm.

          Hard to make sense of your third paragraph, guess it all depends on what the percentages and amounts you are talking about are. Hard to believe you live in the city and overall quality of life and expenses are better than Colorado? Have been there a lot and I dodn’t see that as possible.

        • Submitted by joe smith on 11/29/2018 - 02:37 pm.

          “Free lunch” ?? I’ve paid many 10’s of thousands dollars for those streets, woods and water we share…. Hardly free…. If a person came to your house and said I live 4 blocks over could you pay for my babysitter tonight? You might say yes, if she said “for the next 6 years” , I doubt you would. Dont mind paying for streets, woods and water ( plus 1000 other things my tax $$ go to) but not for your babysitter…. Sorry, that just doesn’t make any sense.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 03:00 pm.

          I would disagree with most of your premise. Roads and bridges technically should be paid for by corporations because they need them to move product and to get customers to the store. However, even in a govt run situation that’s still a tiny fraction of the overall State budget. Same goes with police and fire. Both could technically be done by private companies that you would hire to protect your property. But again, both should be a small percent of the budget (public unions make that not always the case).

          Another option is pay for what you use like a gas tax for roads. As for the clean air/water, again privatize it by actually punishing pollution using property rights. But punish them to the point of putting them out of business. Incentive enough to never do it.

          As for education, public education has proven to be one of the biggest failures in American policy. Privatize it and allow homeschooling freedom. If my neighbor is good at teaching and willing to teach my kids then I should be able to go that route. As it is now, we’d all have to join a coop and jump thru dozens of hoops.

          Imagine the luxury of actually owning your home/land without the govt being able to take it away if you don’t pay the taxes. In most cases, 75+% of what govt does can and should be done by the private sector (at much lower costs). Being part of a society does not mean i should be forced to give up a good percentage of my earnings. In a limited government free market system we would each pay for that which we actually use and it would cost less.

          • Submitted by joe smith on 11/29/2018 - 03:28 pm.

            Bob, agree totally. It has become so bad that many folks believe we owe the State/Fed our money. Especially if you are a high earner, then you need to pay for everything for everyone. Usage tax makes sense. Our failure at educating our children may be the most damaging Federal program to date.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/29/2018 - 05:19 pm.

            There are exactly zero hoops to jump through to set up a home school co-op. We’ve been in a few. Has nothing to do with the gubmint.

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/02/2018 - 09:31 pm.

              But a lot to do with education.
              Studies have found that most home schooled children are taught a lot more about religion than they are about English, Maths, Science, etc.
              Obviously there are exceptions.

              • Submitted by joe smith on 12/03/2018 - 08:24 am.

                Home schooled children also score 15-30 points higher on standardized tests than public school children

              • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 12/04/2018 - 10:09 am.

                Which explains why they are never, ever represented in the national spelling bee, or the national geography bee.

                Oh wait, they actually have done quite well in those competitions. But then we hear the complaints “Not fair! They spend all their time studying geography (or spelling)!”

                Clearly, they spend all of their time studying religion. And spelling. And geography too. Somehow.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/02/2018 - 09:27 pm.

          Actually, I found Myron Frans quite approachable when I spoke to him at an open house down here in the wilds of North Mankato.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 12/01/2018 - 11:57 pm.

      Over $100,000 and we can be generous with our money, but I believe that the cutoff for government assistance for healthcare is $92,000. What a difference $8000.00 makes, from poor to rich.

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