Tag Archives: Healthcare

Does John Kline engage people who disagree with him?

How well do you think Congressman Kline knows what people of his district want? He sure seems to know a lot of people in his district that agree with him. The problem I fear is that I get the impression that he only listen to what he wants to listen to.

It seems his staff filters out things he doesn’t like. At his last Town Hall in Faribault, he wouldn’t take a question from one of his constituents who happened to also be a member of the media. Kline’s representative Troy Young stated the media was not allowed to ask questions.

Obviously, the Congressman couldn’t take all the questions at that meeting, but the comment on the video by Mr. Young about the media member asking a partisan question leads me to believe they are insulating the Congressman too much. I get the feeling he and his staff think they know all they need to know about what people in the Second Congressional District want.

Since Congressman Kline and his staff are as knowledgeable about what people in his district want, I’m wondering how often he checks that and interacts with people who disagree with him? I get the impression he wouldn’t even take the time to talk to me, Dave or Holly. And if there was a conversation, my assumption is that it would probably be with Mike Osskopp or another staff member doing the talking for him.

Despite the importance of the current healthcare debate, there are many constituents who won’t call him because his staff has been rude in the past, or they feel his staff dismisses their comments. That is a problem. That feeling by a large group of his constituents that they are not being represented or cared about, should be a far greater concern to Congressman Kline than the Democratic Party’s ideas or President Obama’s healthcare plan. The problem he should worry about is unwillingness by him and his staff to work for everybody in his district, and everybody in America to continually make The United States of America the best country in the world. Ignoring that large group of people because of their political opinion makes the most recent bipartisan urging by the Congressman seem quite hypocritical.

It is time for Congressman Kline to be the leader he pretends to be when he is back in Lakeville. It is time for him to step up, or step aside so that somebody willing to take on tough issues can. Earmark reform and health care reform are ideas that can’t just be ignored in protest. People desperate for help can’t wait to start over. Somebody needs to step to the front to be the leader CD2, Minnesota and the nation needs.

The DFL has two great candidates in Shelley Madore and Dan Powers willing to take over for him.

Congressman Kline, represent all of us, or step aside.

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Congressman John Kline, there is no freedom, no pursuit of happiness, no American Dream, if we are slaves to health coverage.

A Note to Congressman Kline:

It is a common theme from the folks on the right to say that Americans have the best health care in the world.  I can’t dispute that we have the best healthcare in the world.  But, what’s the point of having the best care in the world if a large number of people can’t or don’t take advantage of it because of the cost?  What’s the point of having the best healthcare in the world if people pass on seeing one of the best doctors in the world and let what might be a simple diagnosis and simple cure turn into a major illness and maybe even an incurable disease?

What’s the point of having the “best in the world” if access is based on an ability to pay?  We can have the best anything if we have the ability to pay.  The problem we have is that tens of millions of Americans don’t have affordable access to basic health care, let alone access to the best. 

So Congressman Kline, how do you tell the millions of Americans without health insurance, responsible Americans who work and don’t want to go into debt to the point that they bypass treatment at risk of death, that they have the best healthcare in the world?  How do you explain that poor children in America are suffering from diseases of neglect, many of which we might consider third world diseases like worms that could be eradicated with basic healthcare, that they have the best healthcare in the world?  How do tell the person with a serious illness, or even a “preexisting condition” who has to sacrifice their freedoms and property just to qualify for government aid to pay for health insurance, that they have the best healthcare in the world?  How do you tell the mother of three boys under the age of nine who is not only fighting breast cancer, but fighting with an insurance company dictating what treatment she should have first that she has the best healthcare in the world?  Why is it that adult children are buying aging parents needed medication as Christmas presants if they have the best healthcare in the world?

Anybody can have the best healthcare in the world if they can afford it.  That’s why people who can afford it come to this country for treatment.  It isn’t because we have the best coverage.  It is because we have the best doctors and the best technology. 

Congressman Kline, you cited the number of Canadians coming to American for treatment as part of your dog and pony show to dismiss the need for reform last year.  Doesn’t it make sense that people who can afford it would come to American doctors?  Aren’t they the best in the world?  But why are thousands of Americans going to Costa Rica, Turkey and Thailand for medical treatment?  It can’t be because they are the best in the world too!  It is because they can’t afford the best in the world!  Does that make sense to you?

Congressman Kline, what are you going to do to allow for thousands of your constituents to have access to the best healthcare in the world?  What are you going to do for the majority of Americans that make a fraction of the $174,000 a year salary you make, and who don’t have access to the same “public option” health insurance you have?  How do you justify scrapping everything when people die everyday because of a lack of basic healthcare?

There is no freedom, no pursuit of happiness, no American Dream, if we are forced to be slaves to health coverage, if we are indentured to a job because we are dependent on the company’s health insurance, if we are forced to work two or three jobs to pay for our child’s asthma medicine, or if we are a prisoner to a creditor’s garnishment because we borrowed more than we could afford to keep a loved one alive.

Congressman Kline what is your justification to allow a hell of a lot more Americans to be affected each year by an unnecessary death due to an uninsured preexisting condition, or an inability to pay for the world’s best healthcare, than are affected by that so-called “death tax” you support undyingly?  

An inability to pay for the world’s best healthcare in the country that provides the world’s best healthcare is the “death tax” Congressman Kline.  It is the ultimate tax. 

It is time for you to be a leader to make this country stronger, or step aside so that Shelley Madore or Dan Powers can be the leader so many of your constituents want.

Steve Quist
Farmington, Minnesota

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What are Republicans For?

What exactly are Republicans for? I’m not asking it like they don’t deserve to be on the earth. I’m just saying there are a lot of things they are against, but what are they for?

Democrats are for cheaper more efficient health insurance with coverage for the 45 million people without health care coverage. Republicans are against a public option.

Democrats are for a restriction in the release of greenhouse gas emissions using a program called cap and trade, capping the amount of greenhouse gasses being released, and providing businesses that are able to meet the clean air requirements early, the ability to make some money by selling their emission permits. Republicans are against cap and trade because it could harm the economy.

Democrats are for providing services and income when people lose their job or encounter a physical or mental problem that prevents them from living life at an adequate level. Republicans are against welfare.

It’s all perception. A simple word reversal should correct it. What are Democrats against and what are Republicans for?

Democrats are against letting people die because they didn’t get basic or early medical treatment. Republicans are for limiting the type of health insurance coverage an American can have based on the job they have, and for allowing insurance company accountants to decide if a person can be treated for an illness, even if they supposedly have coverage. Republicans are also for letting the people who don’t have insurance go to emergency rooms for basic medical care which we pay for, not the person without coverage.

Democrats are against the release of greenhouse gasses into the environment. Republicans are for the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere so that a CEO can take home a bigger bonus.

Democrats are against poverty. Republicans are for people pulling themselves up by the bootstraps and getting themselves out of the mess they are in, just like all their grandfathers did. Despite the reason they are mired in poverty, it is their own fault.

Anti-Premature Death
Anti-Greenhouse Gas

Pro-Accountant Run Healthcare
Pro-Polluted Atmosphere

Let’s be honest. Republicans are anti-environment, anti-compassion and anti-individual. They are pro-business, pro-business and pro-business.

It is tough being a Republican, just ask them

It is going to be tough for me to keep up over the next few months.  I will be super busy with school, church, kid’s football and hockey.  Of course I am sure I will throw a post up here and there when I get worked up over a moronic comment made by somebody on the right.  For instance…
I listened to Michelle Malkin being interviewed about her views on health industry reforms.  She was asked about how she came to hold her views.  Malkin talked about being shunned at the “extremely liberal” university she attended because her opinions didn’t mesh with the other minority students.  She went on to say she has experienced “liberal intolerance first hand,” and has “experienced all the ad hominem attacks that conservatives in public life are subject to now.”
What a whiner.  She is speaking as if conservatives are some sort of a persecuted group.  It’s like white males asking for more rights.  No wonder the far right likes her so much.
Of course millions of people listened to the interview, and just a small percent who believe her affect the outcome of health care reform.   It bugs me that a little misinformation here and a lie there convert a few people.  Then another lie and a little more misinformation is spread just trying to make something stick.  If one in 100 people believe it and it keeps happening over and over, pretty soon you have a 5 or 10% change in opinion, all based on a dozen lies or misinformation pieces.
And how is it that people who lie, and are proven liars, can continue to build a base of followers simply because they oppose the left.  I will never understand that.  I wouldn’t defend a liar simply because they had the same political views as me.  Blogs and one-sided media with agendas that supersede the common good are propagating a conspiracy theory mentality in the United States that isn’t going to go away.
This is a prime example of what is happening with an irrational distrust of the other political party.  The House of Representatives State Fair Poll Results came out last week.  The third question asked was:

When a person registers for a driver’s license or state identification card, should they automatically be registered to vote?
Undecided/No Opinion
Why shouldn’t they be registered to vote?  Can anybody give me a valid reason why people should not be registered to vote?  I really don’t know.  We are free citizens of the United States, and have the right to vote.  Why do we need to fill out a card separately to say “yes I want to vote”?
My guess is that hard-core Republicans made up most of that 43% who said “no.”  So why are they so hooked on these issues that don’t contribute to the common good?  Really, who are the constituents of the Republican elected officials?  It is not individuals who voted no to question 3.  It isn’t you and me.  Their constituencies are corporations.  Big pharma, big ag, big banks, big oil, big insurance, and the good ole’ military industrial complex .  While they are in office, Republicans spend as much as they can to make their constituency rich.  Then, when they lose they turn around and tell everybody that Republicans don’t spend like the “tax and spend” Democrats.  I guess they are right.  The Dems spend to make the public a better place.  Republicans spend to make CEO’s rich so they give more money to the GOP. 
I think you can compare the difference between Democrats and Republicans on issues like health care by using an example of this story paraphrased from Mike Yankoski, a college student who lived on the streets to see how we responds to the homeless:
A couple of homeless people sitting on the street: We’re on the same level as this little kid in a stroller walking with his family down the street.  The parents ignore the homeless person, but the little kid locks eyes with the homeless person refusing to pretend that they don’t exist.  As adults we pretend that people who do exist don’t.  Kids don’t do that.  Children are curious, but adults don’t know how to engage the homeless…
The Republicans ignore individuals with needs. Yeah, sure, they contribute to a charity, a middle man that takes a little cut and provides aid.  But the Democrats are looking the tens of millions of people without proper health care right in the eye and are saying “here, this is to help you.”   Democrats look right into the eye of the problems. Republicans ignore problems.
A couple of finishing notes: 
Get out and meet the candidates.  The local DFL obviously needs to do a better job of marketing.  I’ve had several people surprised that candidates show up at the CD2 meetings or Senate District meetings.  There is no excuse not to meet each candidate.  They are everywhere.
If you have not had a chance to watch the official Margaret Anderson Kelliher announcement video, take a moment to watch.  It is fantastically produced.  A+ for MAK.
Finally, I thought the sign at the State Fair Republican booth was hilarious:

September 2009 002
Yes, they really said “Real Solutions for Real People.”  I know, hilarious.  They only solution Republicans seem to have is to cut taxes.  We know how well that worked on our transportation infrastructure.  People die when Republicans implement their solutions.

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.”