Meanwhile NPR reports Muslims are risking plenty by donating to charities. "Donors and their lawyers told me that FBI agents were knocking on donors' doors at home and at their workplaces to interrogate them about their donations," one person said, "asking questions like, 'Did you write a check to a charity?' or, 'What do you know about that charity?' "
WHAT WE'RE DOING
The big story today, of course, will be the official list of programs and services being cut by Gov. Tim Pawlenty through his unallotment strategy. MPR will carry his announcement live on the radio and online at 2 p.m. I'll try to provide a digestible list here. I also want to hear from you. How will the cuts affect you personally?
Midmorning - A discussion of health care and proposals for a single-payer plan in the first hour. I'll live blog it on the site here somewhere. Also see this post from last night. Second hour: Teens and depression.
Midday - Former Minnesota secretary of state Joan Growe will be in the studio on the 25th anniversary of her 22-ballot DFL endorsement for U.S. Senate. She was the first woman to be nominated for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota. Second hour: Daniel Brumberg of Georgetown University will answer questions about the situation in Iran.
Talk of the Nation - The first hour is being pre-empted by Gov. Pawlenty. Second hour: What happens when gays and lesbians come out?
All Things Considered - MPR's Tim Pugmire will recap the governor's unallotment cuts. Annie Baxter has a report on the impact of the economy on the effect of the economy on single women. NPR's Richard Gonzales looks at predictions of $3 (and up) a gallon gasoline this summer. Another report will focus on another governor -- California's -- whacking a state budget problem by proposing eliminating welfare, cutting health care for the poor and slicing education programs.(7 Comments)
I generally find discussions about health care to be endless and unenlightening. So why am I live-blogging today's Midmorning discussion about the future of a single-payer health plan proposals? Because today the game changes for health care when thousands of Minnesotans are thrown under the bus through Gov. Pawlenty's unallotment plan for balancing the state budget. And thousands more will lose their health care as they continue to lose their jobs. Health care in tough times is a different beast than health care when times are good.
You can listen to today's show here. I hope you'll share your stories.
Guests: David Himmelstein, primary care doctor and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. He's also associate professor of medicine at Harvard University.
Thomas Miller, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He was former senior health economist for Congress' Joint Economic Committee.
9:09 a.m. - Kerri just promoted a July 9 event in the UBS Forum on health care. However her instructions won't work. It's not listed on the MPR page. I'll try to get that fixed.
9:11 a.m. - Hillmelstein says the Canadian system has only a few people in a hospital for sending out bills. Back in Boston, a local hospital had 350 people doing the same task. "Each doctors office has to have the clinical staff to fight with the insurance companies," he said. He says $400 billion could be saved with single-payer.
9:13 a.m. - Miller says "going down a different trail doesn't deliver all those things that are promised." He says it'll just create a different bureaucracy. "Most of the problem is in how health care is delivered.... choices we make." We hear the choice thing all the time. What does that mean? Getting you to understand the cost more. If you had chest pains and the ambulance costs $900, would you be less likely to pay attention to the chest pains?
9:16 a.m. - Thirty-one cents of every health care dollar goes to bureaucracy, Himmelstein claims. Miller disagrees and cites this data. There, by the way, you'll find a list of how fast health care costs are growing (thru 2004). In Minnesota -- 7.6%.
"He's absolutely lying" Himmelstein counters. Oh dear. This has potential to be YouTube comments section.
9:21 a.m. -- Caller: Sheila in St. Croix Falls. Would there be an option so that insurance are run as non-profits?
Miller: There've been different ways to propose that. Sen. Conrad of North Dakota reflected uneasiness among moderate Democrats who want to have a cooperative insurance plan through the government w/o heavy hands. Howard Dean rejected this idea.
Miller says we're not going to take profit out of the health-care system in this country. Himmelstein says the idea would help, but not that much.
9:25 a.m. - "Why is single payer a non-starter on Capitol Hill," Kerri Miller asks.
"Most doctors aren't going to be activists," Himmelstein says. "The majority of doctors are with us, but I think the reason it's not on the agenda in Washington is clear. There's an industry here that does nothing useful and is taking money from the American people -- the health insurance industry." The industry is a big campaign contributor, he says.
9:27 a.m. - OpenSecrets.org: Health Insurers Owe Policyholders, But Pay Congress Instead
9:29 a.m. - Obama referred to a 'public plan option' yesterday. Is that single-payer? "Same railroad track, different speeds, reflecting political realities," Miller says. "We've already overloaded the government with massive amounts of debt; You just can't absorb that much."
9:30 a.m. - Caller Tim from Duluth says Canadians come to the U.S. for their health care needs. "The Canadian insurance industry wants to portray that as true," Himmelstein says, "but it's not true." He says surveys of hospitals along the border -- including the Mayo Clinic -- and they found a few Canadians come across the border for care, but not many. The Mayo Clinic, by the way, actively recruits Canadian patients.
9:33 a.m. -- Here are the details of the July 9 event in the UBS Forum on health care. (h/t: Michael Wells)
9:35 a.m. - Recommended reading during the news break:
9:38 a.m. - Caller John from Minneapolis. "The paperwork has gotten out of hand. We do less paperwork than the nursing staff but it increases all the time. I've yet to take care of a disgruntled Canadian patient." (He works for HealthEast)
Tom Miller says "I don't want to make up numbers." He gives his email address: email@example.com and says he'll email information comparing the two systems. "There's not a gigantic pile of money (through cutting waste) that's going to solve all of our problems."
9:41 a.m. - An online commenter says he/she worries that a single-payer plan would operate "like the DMV," slow and inefficient with poor service. "That's what we have now," Himmelstein counters.
9:42 a.m. - Doctors weigh in on health care plan as outlined by President Obama.
9:47 a.m. Caller Henry in Owatonna: "I lived and practiced in Canada and I now practice in the U.S. When it (Canadian system) first started, I thought I'd gone to heaven. 100% were insured and it made no difference to how I related to patients. After about 15 years, the government found the plan was too expensive for them and the government started budgeting hospitals the way you do school districts... They would give a hospital administrator $100 million to run the hospital for a year. To get the cost down, the administrator finds things that don't cost much -- my mother had a stroke and spent 9 months in the hospital. Here in Owatonna, they'd have spent a week."
9:48 a.m. - "We spend $8,000 per person, they spend $4,000 per person and they deliver better care," Himmelstein says. He says for whatever money is spent, a Canadian-style plan gets you better care.
9:52 a.m. - Would it make sense to try it on a state level? No, says Miller. There are three barriers: "Politics, economics, compulsion," he says.
Himmelstein says there should be an option to buy supplemental coverage over a state or federal single-payer plan. "You can't make the system run with private insurers in the middle of it," he says.
9:55 a.m. - Online comment from Eagan:
I keep excellent health and pay $600 a month premium and my employer pays atleast that much towards my health care. Literally I dread the occassions to visit a doctor. As much as I can, I keep fit by good eating habits and exercise routine.
I feel sorry for those people who donot have health insurance and my heart goes out to those who file for bankruptcy because of health care costs.
Medicine in USA is treated as money making machine for business and not as keeping healthy citizens and treating deceases. Now the entities who fear loss of their profits are fighting tooth and nail to protect, all the in the name of free choice. Only people waking upto this reality and actively participating in the debate will make a difference.
9:56 a.m. - Miller and Himmelstein debate whether one of them is lying. Welcome to TV cable talk show.
9:58 a.m. - I'm not sure anything much has been accomplished. This remains a hot-button issue, of course. BTW, here's an interesting blog post on NPR Check on how the issue was covered recently.
// end of live blog
==> An additional blog post with more information can be found here.(19 Comments)
Within the last week, Minnesota legislators began receiving copies of the book, "48 Liberal Lies About American History," written by a University of Dayton professor, and sent to them by the chairman of the Montgomery County (Ohio) Republican Party. They weren't the only ones, however. Over 7,000 politicians across the country are getting the book.
"It's been very fun, the responses that I've gotten," according to Attorney Greg Gantt, the party chairman in the Ohio county. "The speaker of the Ohio House actually returned a bunch of the books and said that the suggested $25.95 cover price exceeded the amount the gift could be. But it only cost us $7. But they took the time and money to send them back," he said. "That sparked some lively debate around town."
(Note: The gift ban in Minnesota is $50).
Twenty volunteers worked for two weeks in Gantt's law firm to get the books out. The effort was bankrolled by Harlan Crow, the Texas real estate mogul and Republican benefactor and frequent contributor to Minnesota Republican pols.
"I just loved it, just from someone taking an event in history," Gantt said. "Many times, as a party chairman, I'll be a part of something and the story comes out and everybody (who knows) realizes that's not exactly how it happened."
Gantt says he hasn't heard anything back from Minnesota politicians, yet. "I got a thank-you note from Sarah Palin yesterday," he said.
Palin and Dayton, Ohio are well linked. It was the city chosen by Sen. John McCain to announce her as his vice presidential running mate. Gantt says Montgomery County is representative of Ohio as a whole. "We've got all the different socio-economic subsets in our county here," Gantt said.
So I had to ask whether Gov. Tim Pawlenty's rumored entrance into the presidential race has got people stirred up in Montgomery County? "Not really, yet," he said. "I think everybody just needed a break from presidential politics."(2 Comments)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty is fond of comparing Minnesota's social service programs with neighboring states -- usually Wisconsin -- to show that the state is overly generous.
Today, he is expected to announce further cuts in health care coverage for the poor. Ironically, it comes at the same time Wisconsin is expanding its state subsidized health care plan to cover adults with no children.
Starting yesterday, the state began enrolling adults with family income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level guidelines ($1,805 for a single person and $2,428.33 for a married couple) into its Badgercare program.
Under the plan, residents must not have any access to insurance from an employer, and must not be gettingMedicaid or Medicare.
In Minnesota, adults without children can enroll in MinnesotaCare under the General Assistance Medical Care program (GAMC).
Posted at 1:52 PM on June 16, 2009
by Bob Collins
Foreign news organizations have been ordered not to film or cover any demonstrations in Iran.
But this is 2009 and the genie can't be put back into the bottle.
Twitter remains a source of information. @iran09 is tweeting from Tehran and the "Twitterverse" is engaging in its own attacks on Web sites and new sources. @StopAhmadi, for example, is coordinating efforts to overwhelm pro-Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Web sites and crash the servers. Messages are being sent around the world with the URLs of Web sites, and Twitter users are complying.
A few ways the governor's unallotment may impact you.
If you're a politician:
You'll have to find another way to convince people to contribute to your campaign. The political contribution refund is eliminated through June 30, 2011. It reimburses Minnesotans for contributions to candidates.
If you're a renter:
Your renter's refund would be reduced from 19% of rent paid to 15%.
If you're a personal care attendant:
The most hours you can work in a month are being reduced by 45.
If you work for the Department of Public Safety, Military and Veterans Affairs, Corrections, or State Operated Services Division of the Department of Human Services:
Relax. The 2.25 percent reduction in the state agencies budget doesn't apply to you.
If you invested in capital equipment:
You won't be getting your sales tax refund payment for up to 3 months.
If you need help applying for public health care programs:
You're on your own. The money to fund it from the state is being suspended. Parts of the program paid for by the tax on health care providers will continue.
If you live in Albertville, Andover, Arden Hills, Baxter, Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Champlin, Chanhassen, Circle Pines, Corcoran, Cottage Grove, Dayton, Eagan, East Bethel, Edina, Farmington,Forest Lake, Golden Valley, Ham Lake, Hugo, Inver Grove Heights, Lake Elmo,Lakeville, Lino Lakes, Mahtomedi, Maple Grove Maplewood, Mendota Heights, Minnetonka, Minnestrista, Monticello, Mound, New Brighton, Oakdale, Orono, Otsego, Plymouth, Prior Lake, Ramsey, Rogers, Rosemount, Roseville, Sartell, Savage, Shakopee, Shoreview, Shorewood, Spring Lake Park, St. Anthony, St. Louis Park, St. Michael, Vadnais Heights, Victoria, or Woodbury:
You may not feel the impact as deeply. Your city doesn't get local government aid (LGA) from the state. Other cities will feel it, city officials say. "It could be in the form of no cop in their kid's school, higher property taxes, or a local library that is no longer open," according to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
If you're Wisconsin:
Send that check!
Minnesota will require payments under the reciprocity agreement that allows Wisconsin students who attend Minnesota public colleges to pay the same tuition they would at a comparable Wisconsin school, and vice versa. This is wrong. You still have to pay up, Wisconsin, but it's the income tax reciprocity agreement that allows residents of one state to file income taxes only in the state in which he/she lives when he/she works across the border.