Friday, July 08, 2005

What is the SBECF?

Somebody, at Cleaver Peasantry Spottie thinks, calls Katharine Kersten "Happy Katherine." But Spottie thinks that although Katherine might be smiling in her picture for the Star Tribune, that she is not happy. Katherine is a member of the SBECF, the Society of Bug-Eyed Control Freaks. SBECF members are not happy because people do not always do what the SBECF tells them to do.

While we're in the neighborhood, let's take a look at Kersten's most recent column on Minnesota Care, entitled Minnesota Care spreading ill feelings at the Capitol. The premise of the piece in a few words is that Minnesota Care is a give-away program that will eat the state budget. Here are a couple of quotations from the article:
Minnesota's state-subsidized health-care programs are among the most generous in the nation.
Who do we want to compare ourselves to: Alabama, Mississippi? How about a little comparative data?
Our health-care programs face projected cost increases that have the potential to break the bank in coming years.
Spottie's lawyer friends call this the "parade of horribles," listing all the terrible things that might happen, usually unproved or unprovable, if a certain course of action is or is not taken. Think "we've got trouble right here in River City."
Even more unusual, MinnesotaCare covers able-bodied adults with no children and with incomes up to 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Most neighboring states, including progressive Wisconsin [which is so progressive, by the way, it is considering banning the "morning after" pill from Wisconsin college campuses], don't cover these folks.
Well okay, but are all of the people eligible for enrollment in some other group insurance plan? How about people who work two or three part time jobs, never eligible for benefits, but do make combined wages over the poverty threshold? Don't we want people to have health insurance because it reduces total health care costs in the long run, keeping people out of emergency rooms where the costs are often borne by a local unit of government, like Hennepin County?

And, of course, participants do pay premiums.

The sources for Kersten's "facts?" Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Human Services Commissioner Kevin Goodno, and Steve Sviggum.

And here's the kicker: Minnesota Care was supposed to be funded in part by the health care providers tax in Minnesota. Presently, Spottie understands that about a half a billion dollars of that tax revenue has been diverted into the general fund. One of Spottie's doctor friends said that in a recent MMA meeting when physicians complained about the diversion, an administration official, maybe even the governor, described this revenue as "low-hanging fruit" to balance the state budget.

No comments: