State plans under Obamacare quietly succeeding; repeal now could hurt millions

The roll-out of Healthcare.gov, the federal online marketplace to purchase insurance under Obamacare, has been beleaguered and ridiculed, to say the least. The media and talk-show hosts have had a field day, and of course the “botched roll out” has been the target of unrelenting criticism from Congressional Republicans. On November 14th, House Speaker John Boehner declared, “The only way to fully protect the American people is to scrap this law once and for all.” However, the critics of Healthcare.gov’s rollout have in large part ignored the substantive successes of the state based exchanges, and the defenders of the system may have the last laugh by the fall of 2014. Continue Reading

On the Affordable Care Act, the media, and crying wolf

A night or two ago CBS Evening News did what news reports always seem to do: in order to capsulize the latest crisis, they had short interviews with two women in Virginia after Tuesdays election. The unsuccessful candidate for Governor had made Obamacare the prime issue, and while he lost, the margin was less than predicted. Continue Reading

Obamacare: Republican tragedy, Democrat farce

By now everyone knows that federal roll out of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) health care exchanges has been a disaster. But Obamacare is also a tragedy and a farce. A tragedy because it is a horrible policy, a farce because it is now forcing Democrats to defend what was essentially a Republican idea. Continue Reading

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota looks to its past in order to move forward

At a time when many pundits and prognosticators are declaring the demise of the labor movement, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota is defying the doom and moving forward. The 10,000-plus members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota face great challenges, not only in the federal Affordable Care Act and the state MNSure program, but also in two new campaigns. Continue Reading

AFSCME to rally Thursday for affordable health care

AFSCME members at the University of Minnesota will lead a rally Thursday for affordable and accessible health care for all.The rally will run from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, on Northrop Plaza, 100 Church St. SE, on the University’s Minneapolis campus.“Using the excuse of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the U of M administration wants to take $1.8 million a year out of workers’ pockets and put it in the general fund,” AFSCME Local 3800 said in announcing the rally. “These take-backs would increase every employee’s out of pocket health care costs and punish the lowest paid workers and those with chronic conditions.“AFSCME workers are leading the charge in our collective bargaining sessions to stop these horrible changes, and are proposing a sliding scale plan that is equitable and doesn’t punish the lowest paid workers.”Local 3800 and the University are currently in contract negotiations. In addition to the sliding scale plan for health care, the union wants the administration to stop the cost-shifting to employees and the institution of deductibles and higher copays. Continue Reading