On Friday, March 20th, Minnesota’s First District Congressman Jim Hagedorn sent an email reporting “steps we are taking at the federal level to combat this disease”. A cursory reading of “THE HAGEDORN REPORT: Response to Coronavirus” hypes the message that he wants voters to know … that Congressman Hagedorn is “Fighting for Taxpayers”, pressuring President Trump to “Rebuilding America’s Workforce”, while “Promoting Innovation“.
Yet, a closer reading prompts some observations and questions why other concerns are not being addressed.
Yep, Congressman Hagedorn is “Fighting for Taxpayers“ … and as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney famously said “Corporations are people, my friend”, Congressman Hagedorn has pressured the Trump Administration that threshold they suggested for delaying tax filings was too low … individuals who may owe $1,000,000 and corporations who may owe $10,000,000 could be hurt. Hmmm … since the inauguration of Donald Trump, the national debt has risen $3 Trillion and Trump is looking to spend more to confront the “Chinese virus” … but Congressman Hagedorn does not want millionaires and successful corporations to have to pay their taxes on the original due date. Rather a stark contrast from his stated opinion when asked about 782 children in rural Filmore County being at risk of losing access to free or reduced-priced school lunches … and Congressman Hagedorn’s dismissive response was “People should fend for themselves.” After all, “we don’t want anyone to starve, we don’t want anybody to live in the cold. We do everything we can. But we also want to be fair to the taxpayers” … gosh, wouldn’t it be fair to the taxpayers who have paid their taxes not to see extending payment due dates for millionaires and corporations ?
Congressman Hagedorn is also pleading for the US Treasury Department to change the withdrawal rules to allow penalty free withdrawal from retirement accounts. OK … first, sorta surprising that Congressman Hagedorn, who spent a few years working in the US Treasury Department, doesn’t realize that Congress sets the rules … not the Trump Administration. BTW, the Senate has included that proposal in their discussions of a Phase Three coronavirus stimulus. Second, one of the problems today is the run on the stock market and by encouraging early withdrawals will likely force more selling of stock and lower market values.
Congressman Hagdorn’s idea to “Rebuild the American Workforce” by urging that his “legislation, the American Workforce Empowerment Act, be included in Phase Three of the coronavirus stimulus package” … that would be H. R. 4469 … which he introduced on September 24, 2019 and at present has SIX co-sponsors. As previously discussed on the MN Political Roundtable (http://mnpoliticalroundtable.com/2019/10/01/hagedorn-hype-authors-american-workforce-employment-act-that-will-benefit-few-but-prime-for-campaign-literature/), that legislation is only beneficial for those that have, or will have, a 529 savings plan … so it’s an extremely limited proposal.
Congressman Hagedorn’s push for Promoting Innovation is rather interesting … just read bullet point “6. Expediting clearances and delivery of imported medical diagnostic equipment is critical.” Hmmm … remember when former Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen would talk about the “onerous medical device tax” that cost US jobs and it had to be repealed? Did you know that medical device imports account for approximately 30% of the U.S. medical device market ? In 2018, they increased by 9.9% to reach a record high of $51.6 billion. Congressman Paulsen successful efforts to end the tax meant that foreign produced items would not have to pay the tax … thus the 2.3% medical device excise tax which was an incentive for domestic manufacturing is now eliminated and further reduces government revenues, thus increasing the national debt . Add to that Trump’s Trade War with China, which has made medical device manufacturers in other countries trade winners — including Mexico ($3.5 billion), the European Union ($2.7 billion) and Vietnam ($2.6 billion). BTW … Canada also benefited from the trade war … and with the new USMCA, both Mexico and Canada will be producing more medical device products for American consumers.
While Congressman Hagedorn is focused on millionaires and business …it is most alarming that he failed to acknowledge the problems that are looming for hospitals throughout his district.
As of 11 AM Sunday, March 22nd report, Martin County had 8 coronavirus cases, 6 in Mower, 4 in Blue Earth, 3 in Nicollet, 3 in Steele, and other counties with one and two cases … plus Olmsted with 14 cases. Olmsted County has the advantage of being the home of the Mayo Clinic … but these other counties are predominantly rural … and rural hospitals should be his concern.
While other Members of the Minnesota delegation have pushed legislation ( for example, Minnesota’s Second District Congresswoman Angie Craig has sponsored H.R. 5481 – Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act of 2019 which will protect vulnerable rural facilities at risk of closure and Senator Tina Smith has sponsored Immediate Relief for Rural Facilities and Providers Act of 2020 which will provide emergency financial assistance to rural health care facilities and providers impacted by the COVID-19 emergency), that issue is not cited as a concern in his *SPECIAL EDITION*: Coronavirus Update 03.20.20.
And it’s not just Democrats who see the problem confronting hospitals … Dave Joyce, a Republican representing Ohio’s Fourteenth District has written endorsing the American Hospital Association recommendation for $100 billion in direct funding to hospitals and health systems
The nation’s hospitals and health systems stand as our first line of defense against this unprecedented crisis. The expenses associated with responding to this crisis will be extraordinary, creating a significant cash flow problem. The full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to be felt, but already many hospitals and health care systems are facing staffing and bed challenges, an ever-increasing demand for testing, an influx of critically ill patients and a dwindling supply of medical equipment needed to care for these patients. If we do not act, the nation could see a series of hospital closures during our time of greatest need.
Congressman Hagedorn, a staunch opponent of ObamaCare, and a defender of the Republican Party’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act which repealed the penalty for not having health insurance, must realize that hospitals are likely to face many patients that will never be able to pay their bills. Call ’em “charity cases” or “bad debts“, the result is the same … the hospital will either go bankrupt and close, or raise fees which are passed on to those who have insurance — which for many Americans means onto their employers.
Ya gotta wonder about Congressman Hagedorn’s priorities … are more First District families concerned getting their taxes filed or whether they will lose their employer-provided healthcare ?
Ya also gotta think that Congressman Hagedorn may not like to be reminded of his words to Fillmore County residents at that January 25 town hall …
“People should fend for themselves.”