Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pawlenty, a GOP presidential hopeful for 2012?

People in Minnesota were upset at what Pawlenty did to healthcare in this state. He did a line-item veto for GMAC (General Assistance Medical Care), cutting off health care for 30,000 low-income Minnesotans. He suggested that people on that program be moved to the MinnesotaCare program, which requires that premiums be paid, even for people with no income or with only the state's General Assistance of $203.00 per month, and which has higher co-pays than GMAC.

As part of a budget deal, the program was re-instated at 25% funding in 2010, but only four Minneapolis area hospitals signed up, leaving the rest of the state uncovered. Starting March 1st of this year, remaining GMAC enrollees were moved to the state's Medical Assistance program under the new MA rules.

Pawlenty pledged "No new taxes," then broke that promise in 2005 with a 75-cent a pack tax hike on cigarettes (calling it a "health impact fee"). This fee hit low-income people the hardest.

In an executive order last August, Gov. Tim Pawlenty ordered all state agencies not to participate in the federal health care overhaul, which he called ObamaCare. He said ObamaCare was a misguided piece of legislation, and would drive up, not decrease, our health care costs. DFL (Democrat-Farm-Labor) legislators were angry then with Pawlenty for passing up $1.4 billion from Washington. They were angry again later when he rejected $68 million for a temporary high risk insurance pool and a $1 million grant to help prevent excessive health insurance premium increases. He rejected federal health care money in the form of an $850,000 grant for teen pregnancy prevention that his own health commissioner had wanted to apply for.

In 2007, Pawlenty proposed his own insurance exchange program for Minnesota businesses, then reversed himself in 2010, saying that the best insurance exchange is the free market.

In April, Pawlenty said, "Everybody I've talked to that's a job provider in this country says the same thing in one form or another, get the government off my back." Those are frightening words to the people who have to work for those "job providers", and to the communities impacted.

There is much more on Pawlenty. Just check http://minnesota.publicradio.org.

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