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What if health care was more like the auto insurance market?

In a recent Star Tribune letter, Dr. John Dryer of Maple Grove tried to argue against free-market health care reform but he unwittingly illustrated one of the main problems with the American health care system. Dryer was responding to a previous Start Tribune letter by Kyle Christensen that opposed state mandates and argued that “the best way to help individuals buy health insurance is to reduce the cost of it.”  Dryer’s response was that taking his point “to its logical conclusion, the state should drop the requirement that car drivers carry insurance.” Car insurance is relatively affordable because the power of competition...

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Big Tax Cuts Likely for 80,000 Minnesotans Charged Obamacare Penalty

One of the most significant provisions of the Senate tax cuts got lost in the media frenzy immediately following passage. On the way to approving the most comprehensive tax reform since Reagan, the Senate also voted to kill Obamacare's individual mandate. And it doesn't exactly fit the liberals' narrative of tax breaks for the rich. The repeal amounts to a major tax cut in itself for millions of Americans. The beneficiaries of getting to keep their own money include nearly 82,000 Minnesotans who paid the federal government $35 million under the penalty for 2015. The tax hits middle and lower income Americans hardest...

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Franken, Durenberger take partisan jabs in call for bipartisan health care bill

In a commentary published in the Star Tribune, former Sen. Dave Durenberger and Sen. Al Franken urge Congress to pass a bipartisan health care bill sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray. It's hard to take their call for bipartisanship seriously when they themselves level unfair partisan jabs at Republicans and President Trump. Instead of discussing partisanship from both sides, they lay blame only on Republicans who,"ever since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, ...

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It is pledge time at MPR: Why I am not a member of NPR/MPR (again this year)

Why are taxpayers forced to pay for government radio? Here is one example, of many, why taxpayer funding should be declared unconstitutional. This exchange about Obamacare was not reporting; it was commentary parading as reporting. And the pampered intelligentsia at NPR are so convinced of their righteousness, so lost in the beltway, that they could not hide their hysteria or breathless opposition to any rollback of Obamacare. ...

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Attorney General Swanson Sues to Force Trump Administration to Break the Law

The Star Tribune reports that Minnesota's Attorney General, Lori Swanson, will join several other states in suing to try to force the Trump administration to resume making "cost-sharing reduction" payments to health insurance companies. Trump announced yesterday that such payments would cease. Completely absent from the Strib's reporting is the reason why the Trump administration is suspending CSR payments: they are illegal, because Congress has not appropriated money to fund them. In fact, a federal court has already ruled that the CSR payments that were made by the Obama administration were unconstitutional. Last May, in U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell,...

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Trump signs executive order to begin replacing Obamacare with better health care choices

After repeated efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare in Congress, President Trump signed an executive order today directing federal agencies to take specific steps to give Americans more and better health care choices. In just three short years, Obamacare has severely damaged health insurance markets across the country, leaving some markets on the brink of total collapse. Going into 2018, consumers will have access to just one health carrier in nearly half of the counties across America.  In many cases, this sole health carrier does not include local doctors in its network, forcing people to switch doctors and drive long distances...

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Last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare might just bring moderate and conservative Republicans together

Yesterday four Senators—Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller, and Ron Johnson—released the latest bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Like every other bill, it only partially repeals Obamacare because it aims to satisfy the Senate’s reconciliation process, which allows a bill to be passed by a bare majority and avoid a filibuster.  As such, the bill can only include budget provisions related to revenue and spending. The reconciliation process also puts a severe time constraint on the bill’s passage because, according to the Senate parliamentarian, the current reconciliation instructions expire September 30—the end of the federal fiscal year. Once that time expires, it’s...

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Minnesota’s reinsurance program helps calm health care rates

Premiums have stabilized in the individual market, thanks to a $542 million subsidy, but legislators still have more work to do. This op-ed originally appeared in the Star Tribune on August 4, 2017 This week, Minnesotans subject to three years of spiking health insurance premiums on the individual market got their first bit of good news. Rates won’t be spiking again in 2018, according to preliminary health insurance rate information released by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Proposed average changes range from a 14.5 percent reduction to an 11.4 percent increase across the four major health plans. Every plan projects that at least...

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Strong growth in physicians licensed in Minnesota

The Federation of State Medical Boards released their latest biennial report on the number of doctors licensed to practice medicine in American in 2016.  Assuming having more doctors is a good thing, then Minnesota is doing better. The number of doctors licensed in Minnesota increased from 20,174 in 2012 to 23,494 in 2016.  This represents a 16.5 percent increase, a substantial jump in just four years.  This was the eleventh highest rate of change in the country.  States with stronger growth are all either Mountain states (Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah) or strung down the east coast (New Hampshire, Rhode Island, D.C.,...

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