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One moment, please... Health care reform?


Fri, Jul 23rd, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

I've been meaning to offer some thoughts on the passage of the health care reform bill, but the steady distraction of an earwig invasion has taken my attention elsewhere.

Well, I think I can finally take a moment to breathe deep and offer my two cents.

Quite often, when I see anything in the news on health care reform, I am only hearing general opinions with no specifics. So, I feel it will be helpful to explain a few of the dynamics of the 2,000+ page health care reform bill, so we're all speaking the same language.

Who will be eligible to receive free or subsidized health care?

The uninsured and self-employed will be able to purchase insurance through state-based exchanges with subsidies for families with income falling between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Estimates indicate the coverage would support upwards of 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured.

What is the federal poverty level?

For a family of four, you're looking $22,050 annual income. So, if you are a family of four, and you bring home between $29,326.50 and $88,200.00 per year, then you would qualify for free or subsidized health care.

When will this program begin?

Exchanges will be created for small businesses to purchase coverage effective 2014. Funding would be made available to states to establish exchanges within one year of enactment and until January 1, 2015.

How will we pay for this plan?

Medicare Payroll tax, starting in 2012, will be expanded to include unearned income. This will primarily be targeting families making more than $250,000 per year.

Excise Tax, beginning in 2018, insurance companies will pay a 40 percent excise tax on high-end insurance plans priced at $27,500 or more for family coverage.

Tanning Tax, amounting to a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services.

How will this impact insurance companies?

They will no longer be able to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions, just six months after the enactment.

Starting in 2014, insurance companies cannot deny anyone coverage based on preexisting conditions.

They will be required to allow children to stay on their parent's insurance plans until age 26 -- increased from the current norm of 23.

Are there any mandates?

In 2014, every American will be requ .....
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Tim Walz deserves praise, not attacks, for his leadership on DISCLOSE Act

Fri, Jul 16th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Last January, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned decades of law, giving corporations the power to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence U.S. elections. After the Court's ruling in the "Citizens United" case, there are no restrictions on forei ..... 
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One Moment Please - The next election

Fri, Jul 16th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

As July creeps by in the unassuming resemblance of a mid-summer nights dream, politicians plot and plan like General Petreaus on a victory voyage scheduled for an early ..... 
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Congressional hearings are not about the witness

Fri, Jul 16th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Even before Tony Hayward, the embattled CEO of BP, appeared in front of a House investigative subcommittee on June 17, everyone knew why he was there. It was not to apologize for the Gulf oil spill or to explain his company's behavior - though all o ..... 
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Who's to blame for the oil spill?

Fri, Jul 9th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

rsauer@fillmorecountyjournal.com

The gulf oil spill disaster has too many parents to do DNA testing to sort it all out. It is tragic, not just for the poor people in the Gulf States, for the whole country. Assigning blame has sucked all the a ..... 
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Each of us can help sooth The beast threatening our economic future

Fri, Jul 9th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

kreisner@fillmorecountyjournal.com

Ever rising health care costs and an aging population are driving so-called "entitlement" program expenses through the roof, growing much faster than even a robust economy. Over the past decade the cost of t ..... 
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It's tough to give Americans what they want

Fri, Jul 2nd, 2010
Posted in Commentary

The Gulf oil spill has laid bare a series of shortcomings in the government's ability both to prevent and to respond to such a crisis, and the result is spiraling public frustration. But it might not hurt for members of the public to save a little o ..... 
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Online article comments at fillmorecountyjournal.com

Fri, Jul 2nd, 2010
Posted in Commentary

All online comments are unedited and presented as published by the original author.

In response to a commentary titled: Catastrophe, published in the Journal on June 28, 2010

Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Article comment by: Fr ..... 
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Catastrophe - 6/28/10

Fri, Jun 25th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Imagine thousands of barrels of oil day after day gushing out of a Fillmore County field and spreading across our agricultural land, through our grasslands and forests and into our springfed streams. Property values plummet, businesses close, jobs a ..... 
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