Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is tired of your shit, and by "your" I mean people who actually need health care reform. That's why he's introducing his own state wide legislation to help people not in need of reform feel like they have reform while simultaneously not helping the people who actually need help, something that is actually probably considered a valuable skill for people with Presidential aspirations on a Republican ticket.
Pawlenty's Timsurance plan is three pronged, like a trident. And also like a trident, it will be very effective in killing people. Well, okay, maybe not killing people outright, but it won't be very good at saving people.
Here's how it works:
First, the plan lets Minnesotans purchases health care from out of state, an idea repeated heavily by the right based on the claim that it will inspire more competition. This one isn't terrible but it doesn't really help much with just Minnesota doing it. I honestly don't think health care companies are going to be too concerned about one state doing this. Plus it doesn't really help the uninsured because they still can't afford to buy. And if you're wondering, MN is about equal with the national average on premium costs (a tad higher), meaning just as many states will be charging more for coverage as will be charging less. There's also the distinct possibility of a race-to-the-bottom style market where out of state insurers in states with few regulations will sell very cheap policies that don't actually do anything. People in need of actual services, in other words sicker people, will be forced to the more expensive plans which will become more expensive as they become top heavy with only the sick.
Second, the plan sets up a system where customers of the state's MinnesotaCare/Minnesota Advantage services would pay more if they go to a clinic that is deemed to be more costly and/or less efficient. I don't know, I thought the reason these people got on these programs was because they couldn't afford to pay more (or they're just old). I understand encouraging more efficiency in clinics by trying to steer people away from less efficient ones, but what if your only available option is slow and pricey? Well, you're fucked. Pawlenty probably thought of this, he just doesn't care.
Third, the bill requires people at 133 percent of the federal poverty level or higher to contribute to the cost of MinnesotaCare, which is a head scratcher to me because I thought the GOP was all about less taxes. Oh wait, they're all about less taxes for people that can afford to pay them. Silly me! Now it make sense. Actually, I'm surprised that in a Republican state, they didn't have people all the way down to the 101 percent level already paying in to these services.
By the way, Minnesota yearly wages are below the national average by a small but noticeable margin. That means Minnesotans make less than average but pay slightly more than average for health care. If I lived in Minnesota, I would want to trust Tim that this plan will alleviate the cost of health insurance in my state because its obviously too high. The problem is, you can't trust Tim on health care reform. Why? Track record.
In 2009, Tim Pawlenty cut 381 million dollars from the budget for a health care program for about 35,000 childless adults at or near the poverty line, most with mental illness. Why? Because he doesn't give a fuck. He's going to give a fuck when these people start hitting the ER, driving the state premium rates even higher. And this is just one example of Pawlenty's many cuts to the health insurance budget of his state, where apparently only the wealthiest people should have the right to care. Tim has also threatened to assert state sovereignty to keep Minnesota from having to participate in any federal reform bill that comes out of Congress. Yes, you read that right. Tim will hold his own state's residents hostage from valuable reform if he wants to. Source.
A quote, attributed to many different people, including the likes of Winston Churchill, Gandhi, and Pope John Paul II, says, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." If a man's greatness is measured in the same way, then let's remember how great this man is should he decide to run for President as some suspect he might. Tim Pawlenty is a Grade A asshole, and you don't trust Grade A assholes to have your best interests at heart when they talk about reforming the very thing they've been tearing down for the past year. Pawlenty's plan may sound like it has potential, but its harder to believe that when you consider the man who came up with it. PawlentyCare? No thanks.
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