John Kline (R-MN-02) is being challenged by David Gerson in the August 14th Primary Election. David Gerson has identifed the disintegration of the middle class as a problem, stating “John Kline has been complicit in causing these problems with his blind devotion to voting with house Republican leadership. John Kline has had his chance to lead but has proven that he is a follower of Washington D.C. interests at the expense of the average person in his district and Minnesota.
Chairman Kline has started his campaign by penning an OpEd in the Chanhassen Villager … the theme was healthcare and here are the highlights :
In the coming days, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling. Regardless of the outcome, Congress must recognize the time is long overdue to reform health care in a way that makes sense, lowers health care costs without budgetary gimmicks, and protects individuals, families, and small businesses. Americans including the Minnesotans I humbly serve deserve nothing less.
My Republican colleagues and I are committed to achieving commonsense health care reform and doing so without raising taxes, killing jobs, or putting bureaucrats between you and your doctor.
A majority of Americans – and members of Congress – acknowledge dependents should be able to remain on their parent’s insurance policies until the age of 25 or 26.
They agree employers should be allowed to offer incentives for making healthy lifestyle decisions – such as quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
They recognize self-employed individuals should be able to deduct their health care expenditures, and states, small businesses, and others should be able to band together to offer health insurance with the same low rates currently available to large companies.
They understand the need to put an end to frivolous medical liability litigation that drives up the cost of health care.
Gosh, to Chairman Kline, the solution to healthcare is simple … just five little steps … funny thing is that that is one less step than the solution than he proposed in 2009 (note how little the wording has changed … it’s as if David Gerson’s assertion of “blind devotion” to Republican Party Managers require him to recite the same party lines over and over and over) :
John Kline’s Solutions
Members of Congress from all points on the political spectrum can agree on certain, basic principles. If they sat down with a blank piece of paper and started with the principles outlined below, Congressman Kline is confident Republicans and Democrats could create a plan that would have the support of the American people
A pre-existing condition should not prevent you from attaining affordable coverage.
Dependents should be able to remain on their parent’s insurance policies until the age of 25 – reducing the number of uninsured Americans by as many as 7 million individuals.
Allow employers to offer incentives for making healthy lifestyle decisions – such as quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
Enable self-employed individuals to deduct their health care expenditures.
Allow states, small businesses, and others to band together to offer health insurance with the same low rates currently available to large companies.
Put an end to frivolous medical liability litigation that drives up the cost of health care.
Apparently, the first issue mentioned — pre-existing conditions — is not a concern anymore.
In addition, Chairman Kline fails to acknowledge the problem of rescissions. Chairman Kline may have forgotten that was one of the issues that concerned people and that was resolved as ObamaCare outlawed this practice. Rescissions were a course of action by some health insurance companies who wait until expensive claims were submitted and then investigate enrollment materials to try to locate some discrepancy or omission in those materials that could justify a rescission of coverage and denial of the expensive claims, even if the discrepancy or omission was unintentional and unrelated to the medical condition for which the patient sought care.
Interestingly, Chairman Kline mentions mandating dependent coverage be available up to age 26. Of course, a company can just decline to provide dependent coverage and therefore be exempt from the mandate … Employers often discontinue dependent coverage, instead of dropping coverage altogether, which forces families to seek alternative coverage. In fact, between 2001 and 2005, employers dropping dependent coverage accounted for 11 percent of the decline in employer-sponsored insurance overall … this was a common practice that ObamaCare would correct by expanding the number of insured Americans. Chairman Kline’s mandate could put more working families at risk of losing coverage and no guaranteed way to acquire affordable coverage (since pre-existing conditions are not addressed by Chairman Kline.) Plus by continuing to embrace the employer-sponsored healthcare model, the fear of the consequences of lost coverage due to the whims of the employer persists — forcing American families to regularly make life decisions based on health insurance and not their happiness or their health.
Chairman Kline also fails to inform the readers the goals set out by the House leaders.
On January 20, 2011, the Republicans charged Chairman Kline’s committee to report legislation to the House proposing changes to existing law … and a few particular subject matters that Chairman Kline failed to elobrate on in his five simple steps :
Lower health care premiums;
Provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage;
Increase the number of insured Americans;
Provide States greater flexibility to administer Medicaid programs;
Prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions and provide conscience protections for health care providers;
Eliminate duplicative government programs and wasteful spending;
Under Chairman Kline’s vision, health care will still be expensive and people will still be uninsured (or underinsured) under his plan.
Even considering the Republican plan objectives, the wellness exam is gone;
the Medicare Part D (prescription drug) coverage change is missing;
the community rating provision (which prohibits health insurance companies from charging some customers higher premiums based on medical history) is ignored;
the taxpayer-subsidized “exchanges” are ignored;
the small business tax cuts are ignored; the elimination of lifetime coverage limits is ignored;
… and it totally ignores the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) requirement (MLR is the percentage of money a health insurance plan spends on health benefits from each premium dollar) which was a provision included by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and has already resulted in consumer being eligible for rebates.
These are many popular aspects of the Affordable Care Act … but they are ignored. Heck, Chairman Kline does not even advocate that Preventive care services, like mammograms, should be a central part of our health care system and should be available without financial barriers. And Chairman Kline is not being forthright in promoting his oppostion to abortion or his opposition to access to contraceptives … abortion opponents will know John Kline’s stance, but he is not promoting his views in the newspaper OpEd published for the general public.
Americans should not have to worry that health problems will lead them to bankruptcy, or that the loss of a job or change in health status will result in their loss of insurance but those issues are not resolved with Chairman Kline’s five little steps.
Chairman Kline in his OpEd is pulling a ruse on the readers … implying that he has a plan … but upon review, it is a minimal effort — actually less than the Republican House leaders requested — and one that will re-empower insurance companies (who will just raise fees and maintain their high profitability status).
Chairman Kline has had almost 18 months to address this … but just like reform for No Child Left Behind or Workforce Improvement Act (H.R. 4297) which addresses the Skills Gap, Chairman Kline has just wasted the opportunity and ignored the task.
In this debate, David Gerson has aptly defined his opponent “John Kline has had his chance to lead but has proven that he is a follower of Washington D.C. interests at the expense of the average person in his district and Minnesota.”
Voters do not know much about David Garson or the policies that he would advocate … but what is known is that John Kline is a charlatan offering an inadequate healthcare proposal that are designed to appease his Washington friends than address Minnesota families’ needs.