Health care debate, Minnesota-style

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The issue: will a future governor and legislature be able to opt out of a federal health care plan? According to the Star Tribune:

The stakes are high. According to federal estimates, 875,000 Minnesotans could be directly affected: the 519,000 uninsured, plus another 356,000 with nongroup coverage who could be eligible for health insurance through a federal exchange that includes the public option.

The current DC debate includes proposals to allow states to opt out of a public option for health insurance coverage, made in order to win conservative Democratic support for the bill – or in a vain attempt to win over any of the recalcitrant Republicans.

In Minnesota, Republican gubernatorial candidates are taking on health care. Marty Seifert wants to assert states’ rights in opposition to health care reform, while Tom Emmer is backing a constitutional amendment in opposition to national health care, called the “Health Care Freedom Act.”

Another contributor to the health care debate in Minnesota surfaced Sunday, when Nick Coleman outed 3M for its lobbying efforts:

Last month, 3M sent e-mails to its 30,000 U.S. employees — including 15,000 in Minnesota — asking them to forward a company-prepared letter to their representatives in Congress urging them to vote against a public option in the debate over health care reform. Although employees were told they were free to rewrite or modify the letters (addresses for the elected officials were generated automatically), some 3M employees felt pressured to adopt the company line.

Then there’s Republican Senator Judd Gregg. The Daily Kos reports that Gregg sent all of his Republican colleagues a letter listing parliamentary maneuvers for stalling and obstruction. Kos quotes HuffPost’s summary:

He highlights the use of “hard quorum calls for any motion to proceed, as opposed to a far quicker unanimous consent provision. He reminds his colleagues that, absent unanimous consent, they can force the Majority Leader to read any “full-text substitute amendment.” And when it comes to offering amendments to the health care bill, the New Hampshire Republican argues that it is the personification of “full, complete, and informed debate,” to “offer an unlimited number of amendments — germane or non-germane — on any subject.”

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