let’s test the plan ourselves

Fun happenings in the Minnesota Senate this week.

Tuesday, there was a health care debate.  Specifically, health care for the poor.  Senator David Hann, a Republican from Eden Prairie, introduced a plan to move 15,000 of these folks, all single adults, off of the Human Services plan, called MinnesotaCare, and give them vouchers so they could buy health care insurance themselves.

Hann said this will give these adults better health care, it would be cheaper for the state, they would have more choices, and Minnesota would no longer be in the health care business.

Now comes the fun part…

Senator Barb Goodwin, a Democratic-Farm-Labor party member, wanted to add an amendment.  Because of the praise being heaped on this bill, she thought the legislative members should try the plan first, for two years, as a test.  Then, if it worked well, they could start taking people off the rolls of MinnesotaCare.

Minnesota Senator Barbara Goodwin

According to the MinnPost.com, this stunned the Senate.  Silence greeted her amendment.  A rookie Senator was actually offended that the legislature would be asked to test something they wanted their constituents to do!

Is this how far away from average people legislative members have come?  The people they want to push this plan on are the same people who elected them into office.  If the plan is good enough for them, then why isn’t it good enough for the State Senate?

I believe this situation happens again and again, every day, from the local to the federal level of government.  Legislation is passed by people we elect into office.  Many have the attitude of ‘we know what is good for you better than you do.’  They don’t listen to their constituents.  They make campaign promises with little intention of keeping them, yet blame it on having to compromise.

The federal health care package is an example.  Since the law passed in March of 2010, weekly polls have been taken asking Americans if they think the law should or should not be repealed.  The weekly percentage of people who think it should be repealed ranges from 50 to 63.  Are the legislatures voting the way the American people want them to?  Fifty-five incumbents we voted out of office in November 2010.  Does anyone wonder why?

Old mailbox style, some of which are painted yellow in protest of the new ones. I think the style and brown color fit well.

This type of thing happens often for almost every elected body.  It has even happened here in my home owners association, recently on replacing mailboxes.

We live in a neighbourhood that has very strict standards, with everything from outdoor paint colours to landscaping needing approval from the board.  We have no choice in mailboxes, they are all the same.  The current style fits in well with the rural aspect of our community.

Last year, against home owners approval, the board members voted to approve new style mailboxes that must be installed by some random date in 2013.  Now, in this economy, when some of our neighbours are struggling to even put food on the table, we all have to come up with $160 to replace mailboxes that home owners don’t even like or want.

The new mailbox. It looks like it belongs in a yard with a white picket fence. Oh wait, white picket fences aren't allowed here! They don't fit with the rural character of the community.

My point is not whether the Minnesota Senators should try the health care plan, or whether Obama care should be repealed, or even whether our community should get new mailboxes

For the record, I don’t like the style of the new ones and I don’t think they fit in with the rural character of community.  If the board would enforce the current covenants regarding keeping the mailboxes in good repair, I don’t think the mailbox issue would even had come up.  But, I digress…

My point is elected officials rarely seem to listen to the people who voted them into office.  Yet, we have kept voting the same one into office.  2010 was a wake up call to elected officials, or at least I hope it was.  They need to start listening!

I also think all elected officials should be held to the same benefits their constituents are.  If they pass laws for the average person, it should apply to them also.  If they vote to freeze pay for workers, their pay should get frozen too.  If they vote to lower the amount of Social Security or raise the retirement age, the same should happen to them.

Members of Congress can retire at age 50, with full benefits, if they have served for 20 years!  20 years!  I’ve worked full-time for almost 30 years and yet I have to wait almost another 20 until I can collect Social Security.  That’s if they don’t raise the retirement age yet again.  And I won’t be getting anywhere near the amount of retirement pay they do.  In 2006, 290 retired members of Congress were receiving an average retirement pay of almost $61,000.  I think I’m eligible for under half that much if I retired now.  But I wouldn’t be able to collect it for  a long while.

It’s time for elected officials to really start representing the people who elected them instead of just giving lip service to them.  But, in the immortal words of Dennis Miller, “That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.”

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12 Responses to let’s test the plan ourselves

  1. Hi Shell,
    WARNING -Piglet RANT
    In the UK they have just raised the pension age to 66 and talking about extending it further. I was meant to get my state pension at 64yr and now I have to eeek out our money for an extra 2yrs. I hate politicians they are slimey whatsits. We ahve paid into the system all our lives and have more than enough points.
    foreigners can come into the UK and claim all sorts of handouts without ever paying into the system…
    As for your Mailboxes…they look fine. I can’t understand if it aint broke why they want to try and fix it? Is someone on a backhander to the company who provides thes boxes…
    Wow I need a drink 🙂

    • Seashell says:

      Your reply brought a big smile to my face, especially since it’s only 9:14 AM here. It was the ‘I need a drink’ comment that finished if off.

  2. Kristin says:

    Well look at what just passed in Indiana… they took away all Federal funding for Planned Parenthood! The people who made THAT decision certainly weren’t using those services, but cutting that funding will have a dramatic impact on a lot of young women (and men!) who depend on those services for ALL of their health care. (When I lived there, I didn’t even have a regular doctor. I just went to PP for yearly checkups.)

    I kind of like the idea of making politicians try to personally experience the impact of the decisions they make. I think two years might be too long for that particular healthcare plan- there are people who really need better healthcare NOW – not in two years.

    On a lighter note- I think the mailbox thing is ridiculous! Both styles are fine, but unless the old ones are falling apart, there’s no reason to just replace them!

    • Seashell says:

      Wow! I didn’t know about the Indiana thing. So, not only do they get rid of the health care aspect of PP, but also the Planning aspect! While I am anti-abortion (my Catholic upbringing plays a part in that), I am not against birth control. How many kids are now NOT going to learn about preventing pregnancies and STDs? I should start a blog about stupid moves by government, but I think there would be too much to write about!

  3. melsar93 says:

    A political blog post. Very bold. I accept your challenge. I will dissent.

    I realize that you could use about 50 other stories to illustrate the point of elected officials don’t really represent the common man very well, but I am going to have to disagree with this one. Senator Goodwin’s amendment seems like a stunt. From what little I know about this health voucher program it seems pretty useless, but this isn’t a program that works for the “common man,” It is a program that works for a percentage of the population that the average citizen has agreed we should help. Most likely we are not going to all agree to provide the premium health care, but rather a balance of what the state can afford and what will actually help people. Her proposing that senators or other average people replace their health insurance with any state sponsored program would have the same result – it would be rejected. It’s like coming in and asking people if they would like to trade their salary for a welfare check, “just to see if it worked well” – and you would still keep doing the same job. (Why people are out of work and need state sponsored health care is a whole other topic and one I certainly don’t know the answer to.)

    I imagine the typical Minnesotan (which maybe I am one of – sometimes I don’t feel very typical) elects our officials thinking that we probably need programs to help the poor, but I don’t really want to be bogged down in the details. Now, go figure that out for us and try not to raise my taxes too much. Of course this would probably require electing people who know how to think beyond their next campaign.

    Sigh. I didn’t really want to think this much this morning.

    • melsar93 says:

      Oh, and that mailbox thing – I would probably have to move. Most likely after being asked to do so.

    • Seashell says:

      I didn’t mean to tax your brain so early on a Saturday morning! Sorry Mike. I appreciate your view on this. I didn’t originally see it as a stunt, but it probably could be called one. She was trying to get her point across as much as the other Senator was who was for the bill. Her way was very shocking and I think those kind of shocks are needed a little more. Whether her colleagues agree or not, it did make them stop and think. Our elected leaders do need to stop and think, as you said, beyond their next campaign.

      • melsar93 says:

        I suppose it was a fairly productive stunt, look at all of this dialog it is creating. Just not sure it brings them any closer to a solution. The voucher thing is going to get vetoed and I’m pretty sure they don’t have a plan B.

  4. melsar93 says:

    Going through my blog roll the very next thing I read today was from Ava and her new song about “We the People.”

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