Expect a steamrolling of progressive policies


With conservatives in control of the legislature and the likelihood that Governor Pawlenty is going to be in the executive office longer than anticipated, progressives are concerned that many of their priorities will likely be steamrolled.

One of those priorities is maintaining what’s left of our public health insurance infrastructure. On that front, it appears a coalition of hospitals, doctors and medical providers is taking a proactive step to prevent massive health care cuts.

According to the Star Tribune, its exact course of action isn’t clear, but it “may offer a plan to restructure the state’s large and costly health insurance programs.” One quote in the article indicates the group has little confidence in conservatives protecting providers or patients’ interests.

“‘We’re going to have new leaders who are not as familiar with health issues as the DFL leaders were, and we have an opportunity to help them find solutions while minimizing the damage to people in need,'” the paper quoted one Minneapolis health care consultant.

To me, that sounds like “Minnesota Nice” for: “We’re scared to death these guys are going to slash the health and human services budget to the bone.  It’s up to us to make the case that this course of action would be really bad.”

That’s essentially what conservatives on the federal level aim for with their health care repeal agenda.

Here in the Midwest, there’s a:  “We’re all in this together mentality.” But what’s made Minnesota rise above some neighbors is the way we’ve taken this goodwill and coordinated it into a well networked system of public and nonprofit agencies to truly help each other from a health care and community services standpoint.  Strong public and private investment has bolstered this effort. It makes no sense to abandon one of our state’s key health care assets.

I hope it doesn’t take us hitting rock bottom before we realize how foolish it is to only cut our way out of a budget deficit.