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Tom Emmer’s “New Direction” On Health Care: Double Down On Pawlenty’s Failed Policies.

Emmer’s “New Direction” On Health Care:
Double Down On Pawlenty’s Failed Policies

Tom Emmer’s first TV ad says that he wants
to take Minnesota in a “New Direction,” but when the chips are down he’s only
interested in holding Governor Pawlenty’s failed line on health care.  Emmer stood with Tim Pawlenty and said
he would refuse federal aid to help pay for Medicare and Medicaid for seniors
and the poor. He stood with Pawlenty in refusing the early Medicaid opt-in, a
move that could cost Minnesota 20,000 jobs and $1 billion in federal

Like Pawlenty, he opposed
the federal health care reform that could have expanded coverage to Minnesotans
and even wanted to stop it from taking effect in Minnesota.  Not to be outdone by Pawlenty, Emmer
did offer one idea for a “new direction” on health care when he suggested
eliminating health care programs and replacing them with a system of “charity
care” where those who can’t afford the expense of health care hope that doctors
are kind enough to donate their services.  Time and again, Emmer proves that his “new direction” is just
four more years of Pawlenty’s failed policies.

Emmer Would Refuse Over $250 Million In Federal Aid

Emmer Said He Would Refuse $263 Million In Federal
Medical Assistance Dollars.

August 22, 2010, Emmer appeared on WCCO’s Sunday Morning.  Host Esme Murphy noted that Governor
Pawlenty was considering refusing $263 million in federal medical
assistance.  She then asked Emmer
if he would accept the money.  The
relevant portion of the transcript is below:

Murphy:  Controversy this week with Governor Tim
Pawlenty saying that he’s not sure if he’s going to accept some $263 million of
federal stimulus money aimed at Medicare and Medicaid funds for the elderly and
poor.  If you were governor right
now, would you accept that money?

No.  And when you characterize it
that way, I think it sounds a little bit more serious.  [WCCO Sunday Morning, 08/22/2010]

Emmer Opposed
Early Medicaid Enrollment

FY 2010 Budget Included Medicaid to Adults Earning
Less Than $8,000 A Year

May 17, 2010, the Pioneer Press reported that the FY 2010 budget Tom Emmer
voted against included an early opt-in option for new Medicaid provisions,
included in the federal health care reform legislation. Under the bill, the
Minnesota Governor could choose to opt in to the new medicaid provisions past
in the health care reform bill before they are required in 2014.  While the DFL initially sought to
require the state to opt-in under federal law, their compromise with the
Governor made it an option at the Governor’s discretion.  Emmer objected to an early Medicaid
opt-in that would have covered childless adults that make less than $8,000 a
year and said he would not use it as Governor:

it did have one controversial provision, to which Republicans — especially
those in the House, including gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer — objected to:
language to offer Medicaid coverage to childless adults making less than $8,000
a year.

so-called early option — those people would be enrolled in government health
care programs beginning in 2014 anyway — is allowed under the federal health
care reforms. But Republicans labeled it “Obamacare,” and said it was
a nonstarter.   [Pioneer Press,

May 2010, Emmer twice voted against an omnibus Health and Human Services budget
that preserved health care programs for low income earners; on passage May 4
and repassage May 12.  It was
vetoed by the governor. [Minnesota House of Representatives, HF 2614 2010, House Journal 11338, 12884]

Emmer Opposed HHS Bill Would Have Leveraged $1
Billion In Federal Payments

reported $200 million cost of early enrollment in new Medicaid programs would
leverage over $1 billion in federal money for Medicaid subsidies.  [Minnesota Public Radio’s Polinaut
Blog, 5/13/2010]

Lawmakers Estimated That The Bill Would Have Saved
20,000 Jobs

estimates suggested that the HHS bill would save upwards of 20,000 health care
and other jobs:

also say Minnesota would get more than a billion dollars in matching federal
funds in return, and potentially save 20,000 health care jobs. They also say
that the four Twin Cities hospitals that signed off on treating GAMC patients
aren’t enough to cover the state. 
[Minnesota Public Radio’s Polinaut Blog, 5/13/2010]


Emmer Opposed
Health Care Reform

Emmer: As Governor, Would Withdraw MN From Federal
Health Care Programs

August 8, 2009, the West Central Tribune reported that Emmer pledged to
unilaterally withdraw Minnesota from the Federal health care bill if elected

socialized medicine is adopted on the federal level, Minnesota is ‘not in’ if
he’s governor, said Emmer. Citing the Mayo Clinic as an example, Emmer said the
state has an excellent health care system that would improve if the issues of
access and cost are addressed. 
[West Central Tribune, 8/8/2009]

Emmer Claimed State Sovereignty to Take Minnesota Out of
Health Care Reform

February 2009, Emmer introduced a bill to “claim sovereignty under the Tenth
Amendment to the Constitution” and negate certain federal functions.  The bill never made it out of
committee.  [Minnesota House of
Representatives, HF 998 2009, House Journal 442]

Previously, Emmer Tried to Amend State Constitution

March 2008, Emmer proposed a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the
right to buy private health insurance. 
It never progressed out of committee.   [Minnesota House of Representatives, HF 4043 2008, House Journal 8741]

AP: Emmer Has Tried Four Times to Keep State out of HCR

September 12, 2009, the Associated Press reported that Emmer had tried four
times to amend the Minnesota state constitution to keep Minnesota out of any
federal health care legislation:

Rep. Tom Emmer says he will try to get
the Democrat-led Legislature to sign off next year on a constitutional
amendment guaranteeing the right to pick private health care and pay for it
directly.  The bill would also
prohibit fines for those who decline to participate in government health care
mandates.  It will [be] the fourth
try for the proposal, which Emmer has pushed since 2007.  [Associated Press 9/12/2009]

Emmer: “All I’m Trying to Do Is Protect the Individual’s

September 29, 2009, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reported that Emmer made the
10th amendment argument about Minnesota not being subjected to national health
care reform.  Emmer reportedly
suggested that he wanted to be sure that no one was forced to by health care
from the government:

I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care
decisions,” said state Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican.


essentially saying that state constitutions are meaningless, and I disagree,”
he said. “And tell me where in the U.S. Constitution it says the federal
government has the right to provide health care? This is the essence of the
debate.”  [Norfolk Virginian-Pilot,

Emmer Asked The AG To Sue To Avoid Health Care Reform

said that federal health care reform was “the crisis” in health care.  He asked the MN Attorney General to sue
to get out of the law:

is not the answer to the health crisis,” Emmer, R-Delano, told the crowd.
“This is the crisis.”

called on those who attended to “make your voices heard,” criticizing
the health care legislation for putting “bureaucrats between people and
their doctors.” He took aim at DFL Attorney General Lori Swanson for not
suing the federal government over the new law’s constitutionality.  [Star Tribune, 5/13/2010]

Emmer Sought Private Sector Solutions For The

espoused solutions like health savings to avoid having to address real reform:

said the House Republican plan will focus on helping small businesses with health
care affordability, connecting uninsured individuals with private sector
solutions, creating incentives for health care savings, and ensuring that
quality of care and accessibility of care is not lost in the debate for
government run health care.  “Universal
health care proposals could increase taxpayer expectations anywhere from $1.4
billion to $1.6 billion within the next few years,” Emmer said. “This is one
treatment taxpayers can’t afford.” 
[Statement from the office of the MN House GOP Caucus, 1/13/2007]


Emmer Would
Eliminate Service for Seniors

Emmer Would Take Free Preventive Service Away from
Minnesota’s Seniors

to, the federal Web page explaining the new programs created
under the health care reform bill, the bill expanded coverage to millions of
Americans, including providing 747,000 senior citizens in Minnesota with free
preventive services, cutting drug costs for 133,000 seniors in half, and
allowing 519,000 residents to qualify for tax credits to help purchase health
coverage. [, accessed 5/15/2010]


Reform Eliminates
Discrimination Based on Pre-Existing Conditions

Kaiser Family Foundation: Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act Bans Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions

to the Kaiser Family Foundation, HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act, “prohibited individual and group health plans from placing lifetime
limits on the dollar value of coverage and prohibited insurers from rescinding
coverage except in cases of fraud.” 
The bill also “prohibited pre-existing condition exclusions for children
[and] beginning in January 2014, prohibited individual and group health plans
from placing annual limits on the dollar value of coverage.”  [Kaiser Family Foundation, accessed 5/16/2010]

New York Times: Health Care Bill “a Triumph for
Countless Americans Who Have Been Victimized or Neglected by Their
Dysfunctional Health Care System”

March 21, 2010, New York Times editorial called the health care bill “a triumph
for countless Americans who have been victimized or neglected by their
dysfunctional health care system” and noted that the new legislation would
“provide coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, prevent the worst
insurance company abuses, and begin to wrestle with relentlessly rising costs —
while slightly reducing future deficits.” 
The editorial also noted that:

legislation would rein in many of the insurance industry’s worst practices.
Insurers would no longer be able to reject applicants with “pre-existing
conditions” or charge them exorbitant rates. They could not rescind policies on
specious grounds after people become sick (that becomes effective immediately)
or cap the amount they are willing to pay toward a beneficiary’s illnesses in
any given year or over a lifetime. 
[New York Times, 3/21/2010]

AFSCME President: “Health Care Reform is a Remarkable

March 26, 2010, AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee issued a press release
praising the passage of the health care reconciliation bill.  He called health care reform “a
remarkable achievement” and noted that:

victory will protect and improve good health care benefits. It stops the worst
abuses of the insurance companies. It gives workers and families without
coverage on-the-job access to affordable health care. It ends skyrocketing
premiums and caps on benefits. It helps seniors by strengthening Medicare and
helps preserve employer coverage for early retirees. It provides critical new
funding to states.  [AFSCME Press
Release, 3/26/2010]

AFL-CIO President: “This Health Care Bill is Good for
Working Families”

March 18, 2010, three days before passage of the Reconciliation Act of 2010,
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a press release calling the health care
legislation “good for working families.” 
He added about the bill:

will make health care more secure for all Americans.  It stops insurance
companies from denying care based on pre-existing conditions and blocks the
worst insurance company abuses.  It stops the relentless rise in health
care costs and expands coverage and care for everyone.  It reduces
prescription drug costs for seniors and saves money for small businesses. 
And because of the work we’ve done, the penalties on employers who try to run
from their responsibilities are tougher – and health care reform will not be
paid for on the backs of working people.  [AFL-CIO Press Release, 3/18/2010]

Over 400,000 Minnesotans Are Uninsured

to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s State Health Facts, there are currently
438,500 Minnesotans without health coverage or 8.5 percent of the state
population.  That number includes
85,000 children, or 6.5 percent of Minnesota children.  [Kaiser Family Foundation State Health
Facts, March 2009]


Emmer Proposed
“Charity Care” Syste

Emmer Proposed A Health Care Plan That Relied On Doctors
Providing Care For Free

March 2010, Emmer spoke to the Star Tribune about his ideas for making health
care more affordable.  He proposed
a system he called “charity care:”

incent our physicians to make money. I want them to treat as many people as
they can, and keep as much money as they can. Then let’s give them an incentive
to provide charity care, through tax breaks.  [Star Tribune, 3/27/2010]

Emmer’s Health Care Proposal  Called “Rattling Tin Cups”

In a
March 2010 column in the Star Tribune, columnist Lori Sturdevant went on the
attack against Emmer’s health care “proposals,” suggesting he wanted to return
to the systems of the 50s or 60s:

under Emmer’s plan, potentially, about one out of every 10 Minnesotans could be
rattling tin cups in clinic waiting rooms. No wonder the state’s doctors have
been big backers of GAMC and MinnesotaCare. Emmer would turn the health policy
calendar back at least 50 years, to policies that pre-date dialysis,
chemotherapy, joint replacements and other costly care.”  [Star Tribune, 3/27/2010]

Emmer Attacked The Very Idea Of A Health Care Safety

made it very clear that he fundamentally disagrees with the notion of a health
care safety net.  He suggested that
there was no future in his administration for any government health care

conditioned a generation to believe government is supposed to provide a safety
net for health care,” he said, shaking his head in disagreement with the
notion. “I see a different future for welfare, and that includes health care
programs.”  [Star Tribune,

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