Posted at 6:29 AM on June 9, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Twin Cities hospitals and the nurses union are preparing for Thursday's one day strike. Hospitals say they're ready. Nurses are questioning staffing levels.
Gov. Pawlenty told reporters on Tuesday that he won't get involved in the negotiations.
Pawlenty has a news conference scheduled for today with Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Larry Shellito.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals backs a plan for a huge power line expansion.
Tuition at the U of M is headed up again.
Dakota County is doing financial screenings to make sure only the truly poor qualify for a free lawyer.
There were a ton of primaries last night. The Washington Post's Dan Balz has an interesting recap.
Mark your calendar, Republican Tom Emmer will be on MPR's Midmorning tomorrow at 9am.
Mississippi reporters are questioning how Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Matt Entenza was "run out of Mississippi" when he spent time there. The story comes after Entenza ripped the state.
The MNGOP filed a complaint against Republican Tom Horner.
MinnPost examines how Horner is bragging about a poll done by one of his supporters.
Several candidates for governor will appear at a forum on Sunday.
GOP Lt. Gov. candidate Annette Meeks talked crime during a town hall in Mankato.
Democrats point out in a video that the Emmer campaign's Prosperity Tour stop in Rochester was closed to the public. Emmer repeatedly said when he announced the tour that it would be open to the public, press and Ted, the DFL tracker. An Emmer staffer says an individual was asked to leave because
he was "disruptive." "the host had reason to believe was intent on disrupting the meeting
An anti-crime group wants Congress to step up ways to keep kids out of trouble in a school reform bill. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.
The budget and politics prompt early work on the Farm Bill. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is mentioned.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Pawlenty says he won't try to be funnier than Jon Stewart during his Daily Show appearance.
WCCO checks Pawlenty's past funny lines.
The Fix says the early endorsements in Iowa and South Carolina by Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney will help in 2012.
House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the DFL-endorsed candidate for governor, says the state should move early to shift thousands of low-income residents from two state programs into Medical Assistance, Minnesota's Medicaid program.
It's a good idea because it will bring money back to the state, she said in a May 25, 2010, press conference.
"For every dollar we put in, $7.50 [will come] back to the state," Kelliher said.
Kelliher's statement falls into a grey area. Minnesota will be getting a lot of federal money, but her statement is misleading because it implies an impressive return on investment.
Kelliher wants to shift people who get health insurance from two state programs--General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) and MinnesotaCare--into Medical Assistance (MA).
The state and federal governments split the cost of MA. The other two programs don't get any federal funding.
The new federal health care law expands Medicaid coverage to low-income people who don't have insurance now--the same kind of people the state now pays to cover under GAMC and MinnesotaCare - and requires the federal government to match state spending.
For Minnesota, this means shifting patients from GAMC and MinnesotaCare into MA, effectively dissolving most of the two programs that would otherwise cost the state about $1.2 billion over the next three years.
The shift also translates into $1.4 billion in federal dollars. Because the state will have to match federal Medicaid money it will still have to spend the $1.2 billion, plus another $188 million.
The reason the cost goes from $1.2 billion to a combined state and federal total of $2.8 billion is because MA would cover many more people than the two state programs do now and provide enhanced benefits. Under the new federal law all states will have to expand Medicaid in 2014.
On one hand, the plan sounds like a good deal for Minnesota. Kelliher is correct that for every new dollar the state invests in MA, $7.50 in federal funding will come back to Minnesota.
But Kelliher's statement glosses over the important point that the state will spend $188 million in addition to the $1.2 billion it would otherwise spend on GAMC and MinnesotaCare. All told, the state will have to expend the same amount as the federal government.
As a result, Kelliher's claim is inconclusive.
Minnesota Public Radio News, Kelliher on the MA opt-in, May 25, 2010
Minnesota Public Radio News, Federal health law becoming an issue in governor's race, by Tom Scheck, May 25, 2010
Minnesota Department of Human Services, Medical Assistance, accessed June 3, 2010
The Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid Coverage and Spending in Health Reform, by John Holahan and Irene Headen, May 2010
The Kaiser Family Foundation, Financing New Medicaid Coverage Under Health Reform: The Role of the Federal Government and States, May 2010
The Minnesota State Legislature, health care budget details, accessed June 5, 2010
E-mail Interview, Matt Swenson, Spokesman, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, June 3, 2010
E-mail Interview, Karen Smigielski, Communications Manager, Minnesota Department of Human Services, June 4, 2010
Phone Interview, Stephen Parente, Professor, Carlson School of Management, June 3, 2010
Phone Interview, Martha Heberlein, Research Analyst, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, June 4, 2010
Phone Interview, Lynn Blewett, Director, University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center, June 4, 2010
Democrat Mark Dayton's campaign for governor announced today that the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen are backing his campaign for governor.
"I recognize the commitment that you have made to improve the lives and protect the jobs of all workers and their families," Minnesota State Legislative Board Chair David Brown reportedly told Dayton (via the Dayton release). "You have established a distinguished record of voting for the improvement and rebuilding of Minnesota's infrastructure of railroads, roads and bridges."
The support of the BLET adds to other important endorsements for the Dayton campaign, including the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, the United Steelworkers, Teamsters Joint Council 32 and AFSCME Council 5.
Posted at 2:58 PM on June 9, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
The head of Minnesota's National Guard announced today that he's retiring when his seven-year term ends this fall.
Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito said he had the distinction of serving during a historic period, when 18,000 Minnesota guard troops were deployed overseas. His total guard career spans 37 years. During a news conference with Gov. Pawlenty, Shellito said he wants to make sure there is a seamless leadership transition. He said he decided to retire because he will soon be 65-years old.
"If I were to be re-appointed, I could only serve about six months," Shellito said. "And that would be totally unacceptable in my viewpoint. So, it's a matter of the term is up, the age doesn't make me eligible again. Minnesota would have to change the law and literally pick up the tab, and that's not going to happen. I wouldn't recommend it. And also I'm tired."
Pawlenty, who appointed Shellito to the position in 2003, was lavish in his praise.
"At every juncture, every time there's been a challenge, every time there's been a request, Gen. Shellito and the Minnesota National Guard have answered the call and done it in exemplary fashion and have done an outstanding job for our state," Pawlenty said."
Pawlenty said he's forming a search committee, and hopes to name Shellito's replacement by the end of August.
One day after the two top officials in the Minnesota Republican Party filed a complaint against IP endorsed gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner, the state Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board said it would not investigate.
In a letter to Tony Sutton and Michael Brodkorb, board Executive Director Gary Goldsmith said it's unclear whether the facts they allege about Horner's campaign getting access to a poll before its public release would constitute a campaign contribution.
A bigger issue, writes Goldsmith, is that the board does not have the jurisdiction to enforce the law they believe Horner violated.
Read Goldsmith's letter here.
Sutton and Brodkorb say they will refile their complaint with the state Office of Administrative Hearings.
Gov. Pawlenty says he can't shed any light on a mysterious book that's gone on sale, even though he's the subject of the 100-page paperback.
Amazon.com lists Governor Tim Pawlenty: The Sam's Club Republican by J.A. McClure for sale at $9.95. The publisher is CreateSpace, an Amazon-owned self publishing operation.
Pawlenty told reporters that the book just came to his attention this afternoon.
"I don't know anything about it," Pawlenty said. "I don't know what's in it. I never heard about it. I was never contacted about it."
The book didn't have Pawlenty's blessing, but that didn't stop his Freedom First PAC from becoming a sponsoring link on the Amazon.com page.
Here's the book description from Amazon.com:
"We are the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club." These words define Tim Pawlenty as a politician. By the time he spoke them at the 2001 State Republican Convention, he was already well on his way to transforming Minnesota's political landscape. The goal was to re-brand the Republican Party with a type of "contemporary conservatism," broadening the party's base without compromising conservative values. Pawlenty accomplished his goal. He served as governor from 2002 to 2010, successfully shifting Minnesota from center-left to center-right. It's no surprise party leaders vetted him for Vice President in 2008 and continue to mention his name for national roles. J. A. McClure tells the story of Pawlenty's humble beginnings in South St. Paul, his action-packed political campaigns, his accomplished tenures in the Minnesota House and governor's office, and his prospects for a national career. Drawing from hundreds of articles and interviews, McClure presents a thorough and fair introduction to a man destined for leadership.
Pawlenty announced in April that he had signed a book deal with Tyndale House Publishers. His memoir is expected in 2011.