Laura Brod lectures the President about health care reform

Laura Brod’s opinion piece in the Pioneer Press is absolutely absurd!

Laura Brod is the partisan, self-righteous representative from New Prague who would run over a grandma on her way to side with the Chamber of Commerce on an issue.  Brod is one in a long line of Republicans who stand for greed over principles, but still she lectures President Obama on gaining the trust of the citizens.  Did I mention it was absurd?

While Laura Brod alone is enough to bother me, there were two specific comments that really drove me nuts.  The first was her comment centered on her criticism that the President didn’t visit Mayo to really “ see the cutting-edge treatments developed there.”  She then went on to say: “Of course, he could have taken time to visit the University of Minnesota – consistently ranked as one of the top hospitals for health outcomes and for efforts related to childhood cancers and autism therapies.”

Is it really a pertinent criticism that he didn’t visit Mayo.  Yeah, he could have visited Mayo, or the University, or he could have visited Duke, the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins or Northwestern.  All of which are top hospitals in the US.  While Brod included a couple of strong areas for the U of M, 20 years ago, the University of Minnesota was one of the top overall hospitals in the nation.  Now the Medical School which regularly ranked among the Top 10 for decades, is ranked by US News and World Report in 2009 number 35.  A steady decline that seems to coincide with Laura Brod’s party being in charge.  

Funding cut after funding cut, to save taxes for the wealthy.  I have absolutely had it with these people who ignore everything their party did for 20 years, in an attempt justify something today. 

The second thing that made me mad was this comment: “Or, he could have met with the folks at Medtronic to listen to them talk about how his tax proposals will impact their ability to create and retain jobs in Minnesota, or in the United States, for that matter.”

The tax rate was pretty high until the Republican takeover in the 80s.  The top tax rate from the 1960s until Reagan was 70%.  In the 1990s through today, the top rate has dropped to the 35% range.  During that drop, we lost more and more jobs to overseas workers.  Where is the proof that a high tax rate affects jobs?  History would seem to indicate otherwise.  Low tax rates seem to correspond to overseas job loss.  By the way, the top tax rate during the 1950s was 91%.  The economy seemed to be doing pretty well then.  Union membership was high and the economy did well with a high tax rate.  Hmmm…

Laura Brod and the other Republicans attacking this reform by using divisive buzzwords like socialism, nationalization and government bureaucracy would be better served to quit talking about problems and start trying to solve them.

The problem is they don’t want to solve them.  Republicans have never wanted to solve problems.  If we solve real problems, how can the Republicans divide us.  Solving problems is exactly what President Obama is trying to do.  There are tens of millions of people without adequate healthcare, and most of it is not by choice.  There is no reason, health insurance should only be for the well off. 

There is no reform that will impact the economy more than health care reform.  It won’t be a onetime solution either.  We need to solve problems the best we can, and then we need to keep working to solve problems.  There is no excuse that I should pay an exorbitant premium on a shot or an aspirin because hospitals need to cover the cost of care given to other people who can’t afford it.  There is no excuse for me to pay a 20-30% higher premium so an insurance industry can maintain a multi-billion dollar profit structure to ensure the board of director’s stock prices stays high.

As President Obama said:

“The time for bickering is over.  The time for games has passed.  Now is the time for action.  Now is the time to deliver on health care for every American.”

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One thought on “Laura Brod lectures the President about health care reform”

  1. MY RESPONSE : On health care — Laura Brod should speak less, listen more

    Brod’s folksy cheerleading “We’re the Best” OpEd is another example of a politician that is looking at the past and not the future.

    Yes, Obama could have gone to Mayo … and there he would have found out that the clinic financially barely broke even last year, “essentially” frozen saleries for physicians and senior leadship for 2009, it’s pension fund remains $1.2 billion underfunded and the stock market losses during the fourth quarter wiped out two years of gains in its investment portfolio … but Obama already knows that.
    Yes, Obama could have gove to Medtronic … there probably would have been plenty of parking spaces available since in May it announced that it would cut 1500-1800 jobs after reporting its profit in Q4 tanked a disastrous 69% and earned a mere $250M in 1Q09 vs. $812M in 1Q08 ! ! !
    Yes, Obama could have visited the University of Minnesota … where University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks has proposed a budget that would hold tuition increases to 3 percent, but would eliminate 1,240 jobs.

    So there you have it … leading institutions not performing well … but that’s the past.

    Instead, let’s look to the future … the Business Roundtable just released this week a report from Hewitt Associates to explore the cost of inaction in healthcare reform. The Business Roundtable is hardly a left-leaning think tank, but instead is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with more than $5 trillion in annual revenues and nearly 10 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and pay nearly half of all corporate income taxes paid to the federal government.

    So, what does the report say ?
     Without significant marketplace reforms, if current trends continue, annual health care costs for employers will rise over the next decade to $28,530 by 2019.
     These runaway costs, combined with a $56 billion cost shift to payors from uncompensated care, would cripple the employer-based system that currently provides coverage for the majority of Americans and their families
     If nothing changes, by 2019, total health care spending will reach $4.4 trillion, consuming more than 20 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

    I think the President IS LISTENING to the right people … he does know the problem … and wants to address it … but he has “cheerleaders” and “deniers” that are living in the past.

    Brod needs to listen to the CEOs in the Business Roundtable. They will be the ones that decide whether to add new employees … and where those employees will be added. So, when Medtronic decides it wants to add a new production line, will they choose one in America with its uncontrolled healthcare expenses or in one of the other countries that they currently have operations — Ireland, Germany, Finland, France, Belgium, Canada, etc. ? It should not be difficult to quickly see that Medtronic is just an example of one of the many US companies that have established businesses in countries where the home government provides healthcare.

    Brod also needs to listen to the participants at the Leadership Summit held September 8th where the overwhelming concern was the Minnesota budget and the impact of older Minnesotans. State economist Tom Stinson cited a forecast that showed health costs rising at 8.5 percent a year for the next 25 years while state revenue collections grow 3.9 percent. That would mean education and all other state services could rise 0.2 percent annually.

    Brod fails to tell us what she would recommend. The typical Republican response is : 1.) Address malpractice insurance; 2.) Allow small business groups to form pools to purchase insurance; and, 3.) Allow purchase of insurance across state-lines.

    For Minnesotans, these ideas could have little good effect and may actually worsen the situation.
    First, Minnesota has the lowest malpractice insurance rates in the nation and even conservative think tanks admit that it is only impacts premiums by 2% nationally.
    Second, allowing small businesses to pool implies that small business would want to, or need to, provide healthcare benefits. Only 38 percent of them offered health coverage benefits in 2006 — down 6 percent since 2000. What businessman would want to add this uncontrolled cost to their business … and if so, the small business would have to raise prices to pay for the benefit … not something good to do in this economic environment.
    Third, allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines means that those states with low rates will help to offset high state rates … Minnesota will not win in this equation.

    Summing it up best is Antonio M. Perez, chief executive of Eastman Kodak and a leader of the Business Roundtable. “Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option. These costs are unsustainable and would put millions of workers at risk.”
    That’s the real problem, healthcare insurance is tied to employment … either you have it or you don’t …. And if you have it today, you may not have it tomorrow … as almost two-thirds of corporations surveyed by the Mercer consulting firm plan to call on employees to pay a greater share of health plan costs next year … what will it be in ten years ?

    The solution is universal coverage with universal participation paid through a national sales tax … businesses will be able to reduce product costs as they no longer have to pay for healthcare, America will be more competitive, employees and businesses will be able to concentrate on what they do best (build product or services) and no one will have to worry about pre-existing conditions or not having coverage.

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