Jesse Ventura on Health Care
Former Independent MN Governor
We need a broad-based community dialogue in order to develop a common view of what we want out of our health system, and more consensus about how to get it. The health system must invest more heavily in and reward prevention, not just treatment. We must help refocus the system on producing better health status for all Minnesotans, not just on producing more and costlier services that fewer and fewer people can afford. We need a vision of a new health system built not for the last 50 years, but for the next 50 years.
But the more we as a society can do on the end of prevention, the less any of us will have to spend on medical care. We need to make better choices regarding our health.
By its very nature, medical care can’t be a purely capitalist venture. If it becomes only about making money, we get to the point where we’re messing with people’s lives and health just to make a buck. We do need to have some kind of regulation or watchdogging system in place to keep HMOs from getting out of hand.
Minnesota Care has been good for the children in our state. We should make stronger efforts to identify the children who are eligible to be in the system, but are currently without healthcare. The State should also be paying for immunization shots for children to immunize them against communicable diseases such as chicken pox, whooping cough and the flu.
In regard to the actual settlement, I believe the money should be spent on programs that will help prevent people from ever starting to smoke, some that will assist people to stop smoking and some that will provide healthcare assistance to those who are physically suffering from the effects of smoking.
The Governors support efforts designed to enable small employers to join together to participate more effectively in the health insurance market. In fact, Governors have taken the lead in facilitating the development of such partnerships and alliances. However, these partnerships must be carefully structured and regulated by state agencies in order to protect consumers and small businesses from fraud and abuse and underinsurance. NGA opposes attempts to expand federal authority under ERISA. The Governors have identified the prevention of such federal legislation in the 107th Congress as a top legislative priority.
States have the primary responsibility for health insurance regulation. Across the nation, Governors are working to protect consumers and patients and to properly regulate the complicated health insurance industry.
As you know, preserving and protecting the state tobacco settlement funds is the nation’s Governors’ highest priority. We strongly urge you to reach final agreement and pass the conference report on the emergency supplemental appropriations bill soon, and to retain the Senate provision that protects our settlement funds from federal seizure.
Many of our state legislatures are currently in session, and some have already completed work on their budgets. Therefore, it is critical that conferees reach agreement quickly on this issue. Governors are unified in their commitment to ensuring that the funds remain in the states and that there be no restrictions on states’ ability to tailor spending to meet the needs of their citizens.
We offer our strongest support for conferees to recede to the Senate version of the bill containing the Hutchison/Graham bipartisan tobacco recoupment protection legislation.
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2008 Senate retirements:
Incoming Obama Administration:
Winners of 2008 Senate Races:
( * if new to the Senate)
AK:*Begich over Stevens
DE:Biden and Kaufman
GA:Chambliss v.Martin (Dec. 2 runoff)
MN:Coleman v.Franken (recounting as of Dec.1)
NC:*Hagan over Dole
NH:*Shaheen over Sununu
OR:*Merkley over Smith
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