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MN Governor calls for universal healthcare for children

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This is HUGE. Half the reason I hated Tim Pawlenty so much was that he oversaw a huge increase in uninsured children and poor during his first term and actually cut state healthcare programs for the working poor.

He has changed a lot, however, and has become a foe of the healthcare industry. He opened a website so that seniors could get their medications from Canadian pharmacies to the dismay of the Bush administration, wants to ban medicine advertising on TV, sharply criticizes HMOs, and now calls for universal coverage for children.

While he has not said exactly how we wants to do it, expanding MinnesotaCare to all uninsured children or creating a special insurance program that does not have all the services provided to adults are possible ways (according to the article).

This is also a big deal, because he is a Republican. He has looked at the election results from last week (barely winning by 1% with all other constitutional offices going to democrats with nearly 2 to 1 majorites for democrats in the state legislature).

Tim Pawlenty could be the next in a line of moderate Minnesota Republicans including Arne Carlson that initiated the MinnesotaCare program, Harold LeVander, who created the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and created the first Human Rights Department in teh nation, and probably our most beloved Republican, Elmer Andersen, who was famously bi-partisan and signed into law a bill that took most of the education funding off of property tax doles and put it on the income tax which greatly improved our state's schools and came to be known as the "Minnesota Miracle"

Needless to say, if this isn't some political ploy to gain a bid as VP or President in '08, I won't be so ashamed that Tim Pawlenty won.

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This has received scant media attention, but it will mean insurance for 80,000 Minnesota children currently without health coverage.

The Democrats are expected to push this further so that small businesses can buy their way into the MinnesotaCare system. Basically, businesses would not receive tax subsidization like individuals, but the system is much more efficient than private insurance and the costs have not risen nearly as fast.

Pawlenty was quick to mention that he does not support a single-payer system, but that we need some major reforms and that our healthcare system needs to go from a system based on "keep the patient sick so they keep buying our medicine" to one that has regulations that sets mandates for health improvements.

I would say Pawlenty is reaching well over the center line to do this, and it is an area where he has liberalized significantly since he was majority leader in the state house.

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