Katherine Kersten is up to her old tricks again, this time taking on MinnesotaCare, one of the most innovative and successful public health care plans in the nation. She blames our partial state government shutdown on MinnesotaCare, and the DFL insistence that the service retains all its current enrollees.
Kersten argues that without significant cuts, MinnesotaCare growth will run dramatically out of control, and that we are essentially giving away unnecessary health care benefits to those who don't need them. She believes that spending on MinnesotaCare will grow so much that it will consume most of our state budget and eat away at money for education and infrastructure in the future.
To gather these "facts," Kersten had conversations with (surprise!) three Republicans. In Kersten's ears, there are no dissenting voices. There are not even any voices speaking from experience.
Kersten's three sources are Teflon Tim, Republican state human services commissioner Kevin Goodno, and House GOP leader Sviggy Sviggum. Now, I don't know for sure, but I highly doubt any of those three have had to even consider going on MinnesotaCare or have lived in poverty.
Perhaps Kersten should have spoken with some of Minnesota's residents who are actually affected by MinnesotaCare. Would that be too much to ask?
But enough of Kersten's sourcing problems, there's a bigger fish to fry in this column. Kersten employs a common conservative technique of blaming the solution rather than rooting out the cause. It goes a little something like this:
MinnesotaCare costs too much and taxpayers should not have to help out a family of four living on less than $40,000 a year who can't afford health care and are not offered it through their employment. Her loverboy Teflon Tim has proclaimed this "welfare heath care," which is probably the most egregious and "profoundly stupid" thing he's ever uttered being that the program is for people that are fully employed and unable to secure benefits through their place of employment. The cost of health care continues to go up, which means MinnesotaCare will cost more money in the future, which means we'll be spending all of our budget on health care for poor people.
MinnesotaCare, however, is not the problem. What is the problem? Well, there are several. Skyrocketing health care costs, employers who don't offer heath care plans to their employees, poverty, and unaffordable health insurance are all problems for which MinnesotaCare is one part of the solution. Rather than focusing on those important issues and honing in on solutions, Kersten chooses to blame a perfectly good program that is meant to alleviate some of the difficulties.
Why doesn't Kersten talk about universal health coverage, affordable heath insurance, strategies to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, reducing poverty, or progressive and fair taxation? That's a question for the ages.
Essentially, Kersten skirts the real issues. She's the dealer in a game of three-card monte, and you can never find the face card in her argument.
As a sidenote, Kersten and Sviggy Sviggum compare Republicans to a family of moderate means who, when purchasing a car, check the checkbook to determine whether they can buy a a new vehicle or one with 75,000 miles. I wonder if Sviggy and Kersten believe that moderate-income families run up a $2 billion deficit in the checking account like our governnor Teflon Tim did, or a (conservatively estimated) $1.2 trillion deficit as our Republican president has. Hmmm.