Michelle Alimoradi

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TruthToTell, Monday Sept 3 - 9AM: GUNS: Rampant Killing Is Now a Pandemic; TruthToTell Aug 27: WHAT ARE WE DOING TO OUR SENIORS?: Costs of aging in Minnesota

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, September 3, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Sept. 20th. Become a Friend of TruthToTell and let us put you on RADIO! Come to TTT’s 5thAnniversary Bash and help keep our weekly shows exploring and examining the issue that matter most – and expand our reach into other corners of the community and Greater Minnesota! And we'll record your voice and ideas on mic! DETAILS HERE!

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Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page!

The world's gone mad.

No, make that the United States of America. With nearly 14,000 people dying from gun-related killings every year in this country – and lately we've witnessed some blatantly public series of killings - too often than not by ex-military personnel - almost every week for months now, outspoken voices in almost every sector - but Washington - are calling for some - SOME – kind of control over the incredible arsenals being sold and acquired as in no other nation in the world.

Consider, as if you could forget:

There have been at least 60 mass killings in the last 30 years—and most of the killers got their guns legally.

In addition to the shootings occurring in cities across the US every day in pockets of urban poverty, where the law of desperate, resigned and survivalist reigns, demanding an eye for an eye in street terms, come these more visible realities that have thus far moved no one to action:

  • Five-year-old Nizzel George was shot and killed through the wall while he slept on a couch in his grandmother's north Minneapolis home. Two teenagers have been charged with murder in connection with the shooting. Even now, the victim’s and accused’s families have been at each other’s throats inside and outside the courtroom.
  • And recently, Malcolm Jackson, 16, was sent to prison for 25 years for the gun murder of Trequan Sykes, 16.
  • An 8-year-old rural Dassel boy (condition unknown at this moment) was taken by ambulance to Meeker Memorial Hospital and later transported to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon after he was accidentally shot in the head at his home with a black powder .44-caliber handgun by a sibling. The bullet had ricocheted off the ground and then hit the boy in the head.
  • After work on Aug 14, Hamline University computer engineer student Aung Thu Bo and his girlfriend went to meet Steven Lewis, a convicted felon at a public location to buy a iPhone listed for sale on Craigslist, his mother said. Steven E. Lewis, 26, of Maplewood was charged in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree murder and aggravated robbery in connection.
  •  
  • We still don't know precisely what led a radical right gunman to murder six people at a Sikh templein Milwaukee slightly over a week ago. The murders were an assault on peace, and on a religion that values complete equality and non-confrontation and which gives women equal status. 
  • A disgruntled former apparel designer, 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, was killed August 24 in a hail of police gunfire in front of the Empire State Building after he shot and killed a co-worker and engaged in a gun battle with two officers. At least nine others were wounded in the incident as the officers unloaded 14 rounds at the gunman, who apparently turned his weapon against them in one of Manhattan's busiest neighborhoods.  The violence erupted just as visitors began to queue up to ascend the famous New York skyscraper. 
  • Just this past Thursday or Friday, three more people died after an employee at the Old Bridge, NJ, Pathmark store, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and an automatic pistol opened fire inside the store early this morning, killing two young store workers before turning one of the weapons on himself.
  • James Holmes murders 12 moviegoers and wounds umpteen others in a Colorado movie theater showing a Batman film last month.
  • The January 8, 2011, wounding of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson (not to mention the several bystanders – some children – who were killed).
  • Then – all the school shootings and the McDonald’s massacre – over and over in many parts of the country. The mentally ill Army officer at Fort Hood, Texas. All over the last decade or so.

Deadly weapons – guns of every shape and character and capability – are amazingly simple to buy or acquire.

As one commentator extolled, the hate and intolerance in a nation built on the precepts of equality and diversity are an equal threat, and, by extension, to our very democracy itself.

And not a whimper from this President or any of the 435 Congressman cowering from theNRA as if giving license to more of the truly sick men settling grudges with one of the - get this now - 8,500,000 guns being made here or imported EVERY YEAR in this country.Japan - who kicked off the Pacific Theater of World War II with its very successful attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 now BANS firearms for its millions of citizens and there are TWO gun-related killings there per year.

More than 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers peddle these weapons,according to the latest Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)numbers (Aug. 1) – almost as many dealers as there are grocery stores in the United States. Of those, 51,438 are retail gun stores, 7,356 are pawn shops and 61,562 are collectors (who buy and sell guns on a regular basis). This is not to mention the unlicensed and unregulated sales of weapons at gun shows, thousands sold without required background checks.

Needless to say, as so many observers have noted: gun murders – none of them in defense of hearth and home, as the conceal and carry bunch insist justifies the freedom to wield weapons of indiscriminate destruction – have become epidemic in the United States – the fourth highest rate of gun fatalities on the planet – and the highest among the top industrial nations by the thousands.

Public support for reform of gun laws seesaws back and forth – waxes and wanes – as one of the very public mass killings is first reported, then moves off the front page. Not so with those up for election this year – and that’s just about every office in the land, except some governors, including Minnesota’s. What might happen once the General Election is behind them – and us – is anyone’s guess. Will courage not present now suddenly surface after November 4th?

But the sheer frequency of such episodes now seems to be taking hold of reason among the masses – likely, even, among supporters of the Second Amendment’s so-called right to bear arms. The question may be whether the NRA’s hammerlock on the nation’s elected officials and other policymakers has been loosened by the rapidly increasing carnage by possibly deranged young and not-so-young men (all of them thus far are men), most of whom seem to have served on the killing fields of one war or another and have come home in a deadly state of mind.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with two of those active and immersed in the area of gun ownership and misuse:

GUESTS:

HEATHER MARTENS – President, ProtectMinnesota (or Citizens for a Safer Minnesota).

STATE SEN. JOHN HARRINGTON – newly appointed Chief of the Metropolitan Transit Police; former Chief of Police for St. Paul, MN; and Founder/Board Chair, Ujamaa Place (for retrieving young African American men from a downward spiral and breeding success).

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MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, August 27, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: Sept. 20th. Become a Friend of TruthToTell and let us put you on RADIO! Come to TTT’s 5thAnniversary Bash and help keep our weekly shows exploring and examining the issue that matter most – and expand our reach into other corners of the community and Greater Minnesota! And we'll record your voice and ideas on mic! DETAILS HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page!

It’s the been the talk of demographers and advocates for many years: Boomers are aging, becoming part of the dominant demographic of our time while the economy continues to tank and conservative political pressures seem hell-bent on keeping it that way – as long as the 1% gets theirs.

Even as the economics of aging are playing against self-sufficiency, especially in a job market committed to younger, if less stable, workers, life expectancy expands for various reasons. It grows more difficult for aging Minnesotans to find work, retain jobs and contribute to the economy well beyond that very arbitrary retirement deadline set by science society a very long time ago – and long since rendered by nature as generally too young to wrap up one’s working life – with the exception of those rare birds who can both afford and wish to live another thirty to fifty years in the lap of luxury and/or leisure.

If 60 if the new 50 and 70 is the new 55, what the hell are all these people going to do for the rest of their much longer lives? While the gap separating men and women’s life expectancy has narrowed, women are still many years longer the men on average.

And what about women, in particular, who remain too far behind men in the wages and salaries earned, but who are and always have lived up to 20% longer than men, in general, and are thus needing even more opportunity for taking home enough money to stay alive, live independently in their own homes or apartments? Women are struggling mightily against economic pressures that multiply as they age.

We have a strange norm at work here. Because age 65 has been for the longest time a benchmark for retirement, Social Security and Medicare, we have developed a society that labels its citizens 65 and over as all but senile when well more than half of us are perfectly suited to productive work. And we vote. And we remember. Why, even 3M – the granddaddy of Minnesota’s largest corporations – still forces its chief executive out at age 65.

Judges must retire by age 70. Some do so earlier, but with the exponential rise in caseloads for every level of the courts, instead of raising the mandatory retirement age to more like 75 or 80 (with caveats for some of the exigencies of aging as a militating factor), they turn most retired judges into “senior judges.” Senior status keeps these men and women on the bench long after officially retiring.

These are just examples. And some of the other issues confronting seniors in direct relation to their aging are the costs of prescription drugs. Part D Medicare still requires that the so-called Medicare gap be filled with out-of-pocket burdens that can break the bank for the next few years - although the Affordable Healthcare Act appears to eliminate the gap and provide continuous drug coverage starting a couple of years from now.

Still, the cost of these drugs, especially some brand name pharmaceuticals not yet lapsing into generics and often suffered by the chronically ill. For example: there is NO generic substitute for the very effective AdVair asthma steroidal inhaler – so, without insurance coverage, the total cost per month can exceed $200 for each diskus. Its worse for the most effective inhalant for chronic pulmonary patients – those with emphysema and other breathing disorders – where, without insurance, the monthly cost is almost $300. There are worse examples, but if a doctor were to say to a patient with COPD that he or she should use both drugs, that’s a $500 bill for just two of the drugs that may be keeping some patients alive and independent.

That’s why US drug companies hate the Canadian connection where the same – and generic – version (tiotropium) – IS available for about $22 per month through RxRights.org. Even the brand, Spiriva, costs less than $68 a month..

Employment and economic security for seniors and, especially women, but for all of our aging population as well as the costs associated with maintaining good health under the United States medical system fairly scream for reform – reform resisted by those who work on behalf corporate interests of one kind or another – are this week’s topics of discussion with advocates from ElderNomics and Mature Voices/RxRights.org.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI carry on this conversation with ourguests:

BONNIE WATKINS, Executive Director, Eldernomics Minnesota; former Executive Director, Minnesota Women’s Consortium

LEE GRACZYK, Executive Director, Mature Voices Minnesota and RxRights.org

TruthToTell Monday, August 20-9AM: COMMUNITY CABLE & ACCESS: Can We Keep a Grip on It?; TruthToTell, Aug 13: NONPROFIT CONUNDRUM: To Merge or Not Merge - PODCAST BELOW

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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Do you watch your local access channels or community programming productions? Why not? These have always had tremendous potential for connecting people and neighborhoods in our cities or the cities and regions and they may be forever lost to the powerful cable companies that control their physical and financial resources – mostlyComcast Cable around here – never to be seen again, those connections will be lost.

A prominent StarTribune story a few weeks ago detailed the demise of one cable access group in Eden Prairie after the city council there agreed with the near monopoly cable TV service supplier around here, Comcast, that the entity should be shut down.

We know that long-standing promises Cable companies made to all the cities and clusters of suburbs to maintain both channels and equipment for community programming and access production are under siege and being broken all over the place. Unfortunately, unlike the days when City Councils and Joint Cable Commissions (most suburbs) extracted some serious commitments to a long life of funding and equipment supply for local cable access facilities with two or more channels set aside for local communities and organizations to produce public, educational and religious access programs, city councils and cable commissions are now buying into cable company arguments that not enough people are using those channels and equipment to justify continuing the set-asides.

This may be a chicken-egg issue. Is lack of adequate use spawning the movement to take back the channels? Or are cable access groups brining this on because they fail to produce and promote enough programming to justify continued existence?

Some cable access users and facilities are busier than others creating shows of wide-ranging quality and content. That was bound to be true, no matter the city or group of cities where cable access and community programming outfits operate. Many cities have far different arrangements from their sister cities in the Metro, and some cable franchises cover a multitude of communities, perhaps as many as seven cities in a cluster of cable subscribers and these operate under joint powers agreements struck in order to secure the best deal possible from the cable companies who bid on those franchises with extravagant promises, some promising the moon in terms of channel numbers, programs and varieties, carriage of local television stations originally watched free of charge with rabbit ears or rooftop antennas. And cable access cameras, studios, channels and other equipment and facilities to broadcast programs to every nook and cranny of each city.

Aside from periodic complaints about First Amendment abuses by some access producers, most cable access organizations have supplies community information and programming ranging from scrolling community calendars and event announcements to well-produced in-studio discussions or edited digital documentaries. But, as with all available services, such capability must be heavily promoted and facilitated – both in training users on complex equipment and production values and techniques and in the sort of content that might reach wide or narrow audiences with some ease.

With cable companies now lusting after underutilized and potentially profitable access channels in some franchise locations, any city or joint commission agreeing to turn channels back for company use, or curtailing the existence or use of company-supplied space or equipment is setting precedents for future court challenges of franchise promises long ago made by the original cable company owners. Most every original franchise applicant company has been bought out – by one or a series – of the ever-consolidating media industry, thanks to an eroding regulatory climate, something this program has explored in some, if not complete depth over the last couple of years.

Join the conversation with TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL next Monday here on TruthToTell. We’ll bring on a few advocates for local access, examine the different local franchises that promise such services and channel space and even ask a Comcast rep to come on and explain why out of the hundreds of channels available, they feel the need to scuttle such franchises just to tack on more commercial programming that is far less useful to us than programs created and cablecast by our own people.

GUESTS:

JEFF STRATE – Eden Prairie cable access producer and activist; former TPT producer of cultural affairs programming.

MIKE WASSENAAR – Executive Director, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN); longtime community programmer; former Chair of KFAI’s Board of Directors

MICHAEL FALLON – Executive Director, Minneapolis Telecommunications Network (MTN)

INVITED:  EMMETT COLEMAN, Comcast Government Affairs

AND for the younger set - a possible visit from a major celebrity talking about - oh, yes - ranked choice voting!

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MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, August 13, 2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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I reckon very few of you have not been involved with sort of nonprofit organization somewhere in your lifetime. Some of us are what many might call nonprofit junkies, although that might be stretching a point, because almost always, it isn’t the nonprofit itself, but what services it performs for the betterment of humankind – usually – that attracts us.

Some nonprofits offer direct services to people in need. Others work with other groups to organize communities or like-minded groups to accomplish a specific mission – often an education effort of some sort or one that delivers services to a specific constituency or funds others doing the same.

Recent years have found many of the thousands of nonprofits re-assessing how they’re funded and governed, perhaps partly because of diminishing pools of dollars available, especially if funders change their priorities in midstream or community and constituent needs change significantly (rare), or even the possibility that expansion is required to fulfill one’s mission (fill the need or abandon it).

Nonprofit boards and staff must often look internally, the most difficult perspective of all – to decide what gut-wrenching changes are needed (aren’t they all?) to either expand their reach or even to survive.

Some of the questions needing to be asked: Can the organization sustain itself as currently configured? Is the governance model working? Who’s in charge and is it an appropriate authority? Is the tail wagging the dog? And, most of all: is the mission being met? Is our constituency being adequately and properly served?

Strategic planning is a normal method for assessing all of these, but one of the most difficult decisions is yet to come for many groups:

To merge or not to merge? And, if yes, with whom? How will that look?

Resistance to change is well-known – classic as a human dynamic. Giving up independence and the authority it brings is another conundrum, especially if a founding mother or father is part of the mix. The questions are unending, which is why we can’t even ask all of them, let alone answer any of them.

But we can create a conversation about the challenges faced by nonprofits as they rush to make hard choices in hard times. Some advocates – especially large social services funders like Greater Twin Cities United Way – clearly believe that mergers portend more success than failure and they offer a study of 41 merged nonprofits conducted over the last several months by MAP for Nonprofits in concert with Wilder Foundation. Titled“Success Factors in Nonprofit Mergers” the study spawned a day-long session last week, held to thrash out the pros and cons of the merger movement. The entire enterprise was funded by Wells Fargo Bank, The Huss Foundation and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.

Others in the business of consulting, advising and servicing nonprofits aren’t necessarily so sure. There may be many success factors among nonprofits who’ve merged, but did they really have to and have their individual missions been enhanced by the combined corporations?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with two of the leading organizers of the study and the ensuing conference, along with a couple of leaders of well known organizations that have merged, sometime several times over the years. We’ll also bring in an outside consultant in organizational effectiveness and community empowerment.

GUESTS:

 JUDY ALNES – Executive Director of MAP for Nonprofits


 DINAH SWAIN – Director of Community Forums,Greater Twin Cities United Way; member of the Systems Change and Innovation team

 ARMANDO CAMACHO – President,Neighborhood House, St. Paul



 STEVE CRAMER – President and Executive Director, Project for Pride in Living; former Minneapolis City Councilmember; former executive director of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency


BARBARA RAYE – Executive Director, Center for Policy, Planning, and Performance


TruthToTell, Monday, Aug 13 - 9AM: NONPROFIT CONUNDRUM: To Merge or Not Merge; TruthToTell Aug 6: ENCORE: POVERTY TODAY: The Painful Part of the 99%

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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I reckon very few of you have not been involved with sort of nonprofit organization somewhere in your lifetime. Some of us are what many might call nonprofit junkies, although that might be stretching a point, because almost always, it isn’t the nonprofit itself, but what services it performs for the betterment of humankind – usually – that attracts us.

Some nonprofits offer direct services to people in need. Others work with other groups to organize communities or like-minded groups to accomplish a specific mission – often an education effort of some sort or one that delivers services to a specific constituency or funds others doing the same.

Recent years have found many of the thousands of nonprofits re-assessing how they’re funded and governed, perhaps partly because of diminishing pools of dollars available, especially if funders change their priorities in midstream or community and constituent needs change significantly (rare), or even the possibility that expansion is required to fulfill one’s mission (fill the need or abandon it).

Nonprofit boards and staff must often look internally, the most difficult perspective of all – to decide what gut-wrenching changes are needed (aren’t they all?) to either expand their reach or even to survive.

Some of the questions needing to be asked: Can the organization sustain itself as currently configured? Is the governance model working? Who’s in charge and is it an appropriate authority? Is the tail wagging the dog? And, most of all: is the mission being met? Is our constituency being adequately and properly served?

Strategic planning is a normal method for assessing all of these, but one of the most difficult decisions is yet to come for many groups:

To merge or not to merge? And, if yes, with whom? How will that look?

Resistance to change is well-known – classic as a human dynamic. Giving up independence and the authority it brings is another conundrum, especially if a founding mother or father is part of the mix. The questions are unending, which is why we can’t even ask all of them, let alone answer any of them.

But we can create a conversation about the challenges faced by nonprofits as they rush to make hard choices in hard times. Some advocates – especially large social services funders like Greater Twin Cities United Way – clearly believe that mergers portend more success than failure and they offer a study of 41 merged nonprofits conducted over the last several months by MAP for Nonprofits in concert with Wilder Foundation. Titled“Success Factors in Nonprofit Mergers” the study spawned a day-long session last week, held to thrash out the pros and cons of the merger movement. The entire enterprise was funded by Wells Fargo Bank, The Huss Foundation and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.

Others in the business of consulting, advising and servicing nonprofits aren’t necessarily so sure. There may be many success factors among nonprofits who’ve merged, but did they really have to and have their individual missions been enhanced by the combined corporations?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with two of the leading organizers of the study and the ensuing conference, along with a couple of leaders of well known organizations that have merged, sometime several times over the years. We’ll also bring in an outside consultant in organizational effectiveness and community empowerment.

GUESTS:

 JUDY ALNES – Executive Director of MAP for Nonprofits


 DINAH SWAIN – Director of Community Forums,Greater Twin Cities United Way; member of the Systems Change and Innovation team

 ARMANDO CAMACHO – President,Neighborhood House, St. Paul



 STEVE CRAMER – President and Executive Director, Project for Pride in Living; former Minneapolis City Councilmember; former executive director of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency


BARBARA RAYE – Executive Director, Center for Policy, Planning, and Performance


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MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, August 6, 2012

ENCORE: We take you back to our April discussion of poverty’s grip on Minnesota and its devastating effects on people often blamed for being poor. This was an important discussion with people on the front lines of fighting poverty and the policymakers who would just as soon keep them that way. READ ON.

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HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

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The baffling thing about poverty, like other societal maladies, apparently, is that, despite the dry, old statistics showing incredible increases in poverty, the decline in median incomes, the rise in homelessness and the decline in public assistance, the increase in foreclosures and the plunge in property values – the gap widens – and the people in power really don’t seem to give a damn.

What is it going to take – a complete collapse (as if we’re not already witnessing one) of our economic infrastructure before middle-class suburbanites take up arms against The Man and find themselves in the same place as the poor and people of color have been for decades – on the business end of a police officer’s 9mm Glock or Billy-club, a pepper-spray can or tear-gas canister for their trouble?

Perhaps. Then again, perhaps, that will be the only time a march on the banks and politicians will yield some results and policies will change and wealth will be shared.

But, leave us not hold our breath.

Average citizens/residents are feeling the pinch created by people and institutions who literally could care less – because they seem to have no depths to their lack of caring.

Poverty is NOT one of those conditions that will get better by the pulling up of bootstraps. Poverty is a societal disease that needs a major injection and infusion of capital – real capital – money and other resources. Anything else is a punishment inflicted on people who have less than the people making the decisions and who spend much of their legislative or administrative time and capital denying others their fair share of a pie they keep shrinking.

How bad is it?

Cynthia Boyd of MinnPost.com wrote last Fall:

Nationally, the poverty rate is 15.1 percent, while Minnesota ranks 13th lowest in the nation in numbers of those living below the poverty line ($11,344 for an individual or $22,113 household income for a family of four), but the state's numbers have increased significantly from 2007-2008. The poverty rate then was 9.6 percent.  

The effects play out in the state in concrete ways. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson told MinnPost last month that 104,000 more Minnesotans have signed on for food support this year compared to last.

And a September 2011 Minnesota Budget Project report comes this:

In 2009-2010, 560,000 Minnesotans lived in poverty, or roughly one out of ten state residents. That represents a 2.1 percentage point increase from 2006-07. Nationwide, 46.2 million people were in poverty in 2010.

Even more staggering, the preliminary numbers show that over the last decade,Minnesota’s median household income fell from $65,120 in 1999-2000 to $54,785 in 2009-2010, or by more than $10,000, after adjusting for inflation. Only Michigan experienced a larger decline in median income during the same period.

And, should anyone believe this is limited to the Metro – where many believe all “those people” live – this from Robb Murray of the Mankato Free Press:

John Woodwick, executive director of the Minnesota Valley Action Council in Mankato, said the number of people in the nine-county area served by MVAC rose from 16,292 in 2000 to 26,233 in 2009, an increase of 61 percent.

During the same period, federal and state funding for MVAC’s (poverty-related)services has decreased 21 percent on a per-person basis. In 2000, MVAC received a total of $793 in federal and state funds for every person living in poverty in the south-central Minnesota service area. By 2009, funding had decreased to $627 per person, according to MVAC’s annual budgets.

“We haven’t seen lately the massive layoffs we’ve seen in the last two years, but the new hires aren’t happening either,” Woodwick said. “And many people haven’t been able to locate work, especially not at what their previous wages were.”

The once-reliable Minnesota, Metro and regional foundations have cut their humans services funding, sometimes by half, even as many nonprofits and advocacy groups came to believe philanthropy would fill the gaps political types either created or refused to fill.

This year’s legislative session almost made a complete disaster of its humans services bill(s), but escaped some of the worst cuts tendered for passage by Republican bill sponsors, perhaps in the face of sure vetoes by Governor Mark Dayton. But, this is all relative, is it not?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with just three of the many Minnesota advocates whose ulcer-ridden work continues to be a war against the disproportionate impact of rightwing politics and a struggling economy that gives the policymakers the excuse to cut further into the lives of the people they blame for being poor: the poor themselves.

GUESTS:

Katherine Wagoner, Executive Director, Affirmative Options Coalition

Angel Buechner -  Co-Chair, Welfare Rights Committee

Nancy Maeker - Executive Director, A Minnesota Without Poverty

TruthToTell, Aug 13: NONPROFIT CONUNDRUM: To Merge or Not Merge - PODCAST BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 08/13/2012
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I reckon very few of you have not been involved with sort of nonprofit organization somewhere in your lifetime. Some of us are what many might call nonprofit junkies, although that might be stretching a point, because almost always, it isn’t the nonprofit itself, but what services it performs for the betterment of humankind – usually – that attracts us.

Some nonprofits offer direct services to people in need. Others work with other groups to organize communities or like-minded groups to accomplish a specific mission – often an education effort of some sort or one that delivers services to a specific constituency or funds others doing the same.

Recent years have found many of the thousands of nonprofits re-assessing how they’re funded and governed, perhaps partly because of diminishing pools of dollars available, especially if funders change their priorities in midstream or community and constituent needs change significantly (rare), or even the possibility that expansion is required to fulfill one’s mission (fill the need or abandon it).

Nonprofit boards and staff must often look internally, the most difficult perspective of all – to decide what gut-wrenching changes are needed (aren’t they all?) to either expand their reach or even to survive.

Some of the questions needing to be asked: Can the organization sustain itself as currently configured? Is the governance model working? Who’s in charge and is it an appropriate authority? Is the tail wagging the dog? And, most of all: is the mission being met? Is our constituency being adequately and properly served?

Strategic planning is a normal method for assessing all of these, but one of the most difficult decisions is yet to come for many groups:

To merge or not to merge? And, if yes, with whom? How will that look?

Resistance to change is well-known – classic as a human dynamic. Giving up independence and the authority it brings is another conundrum, especially if a founding mother or father is part of the mix. The questions are unending, which is why we can’t even ask all of them, let alone answer any of them.

But we can create a conversation about the challenges faced by nonprofits as they rush to make hard choices in hard times. Some advocates – especially large social services funders like Greater Twin Cities United Way – clearly believe that mergers portend more success than failure and they offer a study of 41 merged nonprofits conducted over the last several months by MAP for Nonprofits in concert with Wilder Foundation. Titled “Success Factors in Nonprofit Mergers” the study spawned a day-long session last week, held to thrash out the pros and cons of the merger movement. The entire enterprise was funded by Wells Fargo Bank, The Huss Foundation and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.

Others in the business of consulting, advising and servicing nonprofits aren’t necessarily so sure. There may be many success factors among nonprofits who’ve merged, but did they really have to and have their individual missions been enhanced by the combined corporations?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with two of the leading organizers of the study and the ensuing conference, along with a couple of leaders of well known organizations that have merged, sometime several times over the years. We’ll also bring in an outside consultant in organizational effectiveness and community empowerment.

GUESTS:

 JUDY ALNES – Executive Director of MAP for Nonprofits


 DINAH SWAIN – Director of Community Forums, Greater Twin Cities United Way; member of the Systems Change and Innovation team

 ARMANDO CAMACHO – President, Neighborhood House, St. Paul



 STEVE CRAMER – President and Executive Director, Project for Pride in Living; former Minneapolis City Councilmember; former executive director of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency


BARBARA RAYE – Executive Director, Center for Policy, Planning, and Performance


TruthToTell, Monday, July 9−9AM: ALL ABOUT THE COURTS AND JUDGES: Dispensing Justice? Or Bias? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

Monday, July 9, 2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back in February of this year and a couple of years backTruthToTell aired a couple of editions exploring the possibility of instituting an entirely new way of selecting our judges in Minnesota. Wisconsin’s circus of judicial elections, especially for the state Supreme Court over there (think shoving the face of a colleague there last year), is a very bad one in the minds of many court-watchers. That electoral system only mimics those envisioned in the outgrowth of the US Supreme Court ruling negating one of Minnesota’s cherished Judicial Canons that had, till then, prohibited as a possible conflict any overt campaign discussion of issues that could one day come before the court for which a given candidate was running. The 5-4 SCOTUS ruling opened wide the political campaigns of judges and justices, and this politicization of judicial races portended for the legal community nothing but trouble.

Legislation promoting a state constitutional amendment ordering new system of appointing judges and justices, then putting their performance before public scrutiny later – when their terms came up for renewal – has fared poorly over several sessions, despite it promotion by some of Minnesota’s most prestigious political and legal celebrities.

I erred in last Winter’s announcement and script when I stated that this new system of appointing judges called “retention elections” – was supported by Hennepin County District Judge Kevin Burke, whose credentials as a Chief Judge and an Assistant Chief Judge among the 62 judges of the Hennepin Court are significant, to say the least. Judge Burke wrote and simply stated he has never supported the proposed system.

So I wrote and called to discover that Judge Burke favors the election of judges in Minnesota. I then suggested that he come on, not just to defend the judicial electoral status quo, or some variation of it, but to discuss the plethora of reforms needed in the courts and criminal justice system.

So. From the horse’s mouth, as it were, we can delve into court reforms and criminal justice disparities along with the ways judicial campaigns should be conducted if straight elections are to remain our primary selection method.

Of course, governors will continue to appoint when judges step down or retire before their terms are completed, and the field of candidates will be, as currently done, whittled to three by a nonpartisan merit selection commission, and from those top three contenders, the governor will usually – but not always – make his (or her) appointment. He or she may appoint whomever they wish as Gov. Pawlenty and others have done.

We – TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI will spend the hour with:

HENNEPIN COUNTY DISTRICT JUDGE KEVIN BURKE.

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, July 2, 2012

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s 2012. Four years since the “crash” of 2008, when the real bailout could have been to the bank, but through the device of saving homeowners from the conflagration of foreclosures from the crooked system of subprime loads to people who might not have been able to afford a mortgage of any size, but at usurious interest rates – both conventional and ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages).

Millions who worked hard to keep up their payments to no avail in this economic bust of an economy have been turned out of their homes, some of them from homes they owned for 15 years or more.

Recently, in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street and its local incarnations, Occupy Homes Minnesota has begun stonewalling such foreclosures on behalf of Twin Cities homeowners, many of them in communities of color, where the subprime market ran rampant or interest rates drove payments well beyond the mortgagers ability to keep up.

The foreclosures have thrown thousands into the streets and homeless shelters and left neighborhoods decimated of their housing stock while rising vacancy rates turn communities into war zones.

One of the families resisting with the help of Occupy Homes MN is the Cruz family of South Minneapolis. Despite promises to fix what was an unjust demand for accelerated payments from the beginning – admitted by both PNC Bank Mortgage Company and indicted, but bailed-out mortgage packaging giant, Freddie Mac – several police raids and clashes with protesters has led to well over a dozen arrests – including that of internationally respected Minnesota-based hip hop artist, Brother Ali.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with members of the Cruz family and their advocates as well as Brother Ali himself.

GUESTS:

BROTHER ALI – International Rap Artist and member of the Occupy Homes movement


 

 

•DAVID CRUZ – Son of the first-generation Latino family homeowners losing their home (shown with sister, ALEJANDRA)

•NICK ESPINOSA – An Organizer with Occupy Homes Minnesota

TruthToTell, July 9: ALL ABOUT THE COURTS AND JUDGES: Dispensing Justice? Or Bias? - AUDIO PODCAST is UP

On-air date: 
Mon, 07/09/2012
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back in February of this year and a couple of years back, TruthToTell aired a couple of editions exploring the possibility of instituting an entirely new way of selecting our judges in Minnesota. Wisconsin’s circus of judicial elections, especially for the state Supreme Court over there (think shoving the face of a colleague there last year), is a very bad one in the minds of many court-watchers. That electoral system only mimics those envisioned in the outgrowth of the US Supreme Court ruling negating one of Minnesota’s cherished Judicial Canons that had, till then, prohibited as a possible conflict any overt campaign discussion of issues that could one day come before the court for which a given candidate was running. The 5-4 SCOTUS ruling opened wide the political campaigns of judges and justices, and this politicization of judicial races portended for the legal community nothing but trouble.

Legislation promoting a state constitutional amendment ordering new system of appointing judges and justices, then putting their performance before public scrutiny later – when their terms came up for renewal – has fared poorly over several sessions, despite it promotion by some of Minnesota’s most prestigious political and legal celebrities.

I erred in last Winter’s announcement and script when I stated that this new system of appointing judges called “retention elections” – was supported by Hennepin County District Judge Kevin Burke, whose credentials as a Chief Judge and an Assistant Chief Judge among the 62 judges of the Hennepin Court are significant, to say the least. Judge Burke wrote and simply stated he has never supported the proposed system.

So I wrote and called to discover that Judge Burke favors the election of judges in Minnesota. I then suggested that he come on, not just to defend the judicial electoral status quo, or some variation of it, but to discuss the plethora of reforms needed in the courts and criminal justice system.

So. From the horse’s mouth, as it were, we delve into court reforms and criminal justice disparities along with the ways judicial campaigns should be conducted if straight elections are to remain our primary selection method.

Of course, governors will continue to appoint when judges step down or retire before their terms are completed, and the field of candidates will be, as currently done, whittled to three by a nonpartisan merit selection commission, and from those top three contenders, the governor will usually – but not always – make his (or her) appointment. He or she may appoint whomever they wish as Gov. Pawlenty and others have done.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI spend the hour with:

HENNEPIN COUNTY DISTRICT JUDGE KEVIN BURKE.

 

 


TruthToTell, Monday, June 25−9AM: RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Will You Speak Up?; TruthToTell, June 18: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell, Monday, June 25−9AM: RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Will You Speak Up? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org


Time was – back in the 1950s – those of us from Catholic grade schools who found ourselves attending public high schools – in my case Central High School from St. Luke’s Parish (now St. Thomas More) in theArchdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis – religious education was continued by way of what were called “Release” classes. Every Wednesday afternoon, the agreement between the schools and the church allowed Catholic students to be “released” from their class(es) early to walk a few blocks to a Catholic Church (in our case, St. Peter Claver – where the “Black Catholics” go. Still do, but very mixed now), sit around talking some catechism and all that for an hour, then woke up and went home. Probably between ten and twelve showed up each week.

This went on for the first year, perhaps another half-year before I gave up on that nonsense.

Meanwhile, in place of the discredited high school fraternity/sorority system that prevailed in Minnesota until thrown out in the early 50s under a somewhat scandalous shadow, came the Hi-Y (boys) and Y-Teens (girls) clubs established under the rubric of the YMCA and YWCA, respectively. About five to seven clubs for each gender and themselves taking on Greek names (Kappa Hi-Y was the one I joined). Of course, we Catholics were theoretically forbidden to belong to one of these because the Y’s are “Christian” – meaning Protestant (horrors!). The Catholic answer to all this were the CYC’s – Catholic Youth Centers – all put together to keep us Catholic and away from all the others. Our school was St. Paul’s true melting pot. About 80% of the city’s Jewish kids attended Central (you’d know many names) and they had their own groups. The boys belonged to AZA, the girls – B’nai B’rith.

All this to say that religion and religion youth groups have forever been part of a teen’s life in Minnesota’s public schools. But, those organizations, while well-attended and active, were off-campus, and, as far as I know, the elementary schools were out of bounds altogether. No religious group claimed the right to use public school resources or spaces for their religious or social activities. Meetings, classes, social events and dances, etc., were all staged elsewhere and the classrooms were free of such intrusion.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has tracked most of this record of court cases and disputes between churches and state institutions. One of their surveys may shock you:

“Federal courts, …civil libertarians point out, have consistently interpreted the First Amendment's prohibition on the establishment of religion to forbid state sponsorship of prayer and most other religious activities in public schools.

“Despite that long series of court decisions, polls show that large numbers of Americans favor looser, not tighter, limits on religion in public schools. According to an August 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds of Americans (69%) agree with the notion that ‘liberals have gone too far in trying to keep religion out of the schools and the government.’ And a clear majority (58%) favor teaching biblical creationism along with evolution in public schools.”

This is shocking news, running counter to Supreme Court rulings dating to 1940 that were clearly designed to separate public schools from intrusive religious credos. Until 2001, when, in a 6-3 decision (Child Evangelism Fellowship [CEF] vs. Milford (NY) Central School), the US Supreme Court threw out a district policy forbidding the use of school property for religious purposes, effectively freezing out CEF from establishing its “Good News Clubs” there. Such a ban violated freedom to promote a viewpoint, said the majority. Outside groups could be banned, but not based on their views. The dissenters rabidly stated that the CEF was using Good News Clubs to proselytize, but the majority said that doesn’t matter. A Minnesota case is pending in the Federal Court of Appeals.

Much of this would no doubt be buried in the arcane business of local school governance and the courts were it not for 1) a series of articles by MinnPost.com’s Education Reporter and Columnist, Beth Hawkins, and 2) a new book by investigative reporter Katherine StewartThe Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children. The latter will be in town to appear and sign books and talk about this phenomenon under the auspices of Americans United (for Separation of Church and State). All of this in advance of a Child Evangelism Fellowship strategy conference to be held here in MInneapolis in July.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI will talk with the reporters/authors and an AU representative about the legal history, the political climate and the future of the precedents in the arena of religion on the public schools.

GUESTS:

 KATHERINE STEWART  - Free-lance Investigative Reporter (The New York TimesThe Guardian, theDaily BeastBloomberg View, and Religion Dispatches); Author, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.


 BETH HAWKINS – Education/Public Policy Reporter/Columnist and Blogger (Learning Curve), MinnPost.com

 

DEREK BIRKELAND – Board Member/Treasurer, Americans United (for Separation of Church and State) – Minnesota

Katherine Stewart presentations and book-signings:

MONDAY, JUNE 25, 7:30 P.M. – MAGERS & QUINN BOOKSELLERS
 - 3038 Hennepin Ave.  Minneapolis

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 7:00 P.M.
– COMMON GOOD BOOKS
 - 38 Snelling Ave. S.
– Saint Paul

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell, June 18: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts - PODCAST HERE


Listen to or download this episode here: 

Facebook: Search TruthToTell; Twitter: @TTTAndyDriscoll; Email: andydriscoll@TruthToTell.org

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Just in time for our next show this Monday on health care comes a StarTribune story about the exponential rise in the number of Minnesotans on Medicaid – to be sure, double the national rate over the last two years, according to Reporter Warren Wolfe’s June 13th article.

Medicaid – not to be confused with Medicare – is the federal health program for the poor, but is handled differently in just about every state. In Minnesota we call it Medical Assistance. Of Minnesota’s population of 5 million folks, fully 733,000 of them are on Medical Assistance to the tune of $4 billion per year. This represents a big jump of 125,000 over the last two years and increases the percentage of us on Medical Assistance to fully 15% of all Minnesota’s people, but big in part because Gov. Mark Dayton added 80,000 to the rolls, thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA).

There’s more to this, but the questions remaining for all of us as the Supreme Courtapproaches a decision on what those who call the ACA “Obamacare,” is what the states’ responsibilities for providing healthcare coverage and access to their citizens, no matter what that decision may be. After all, even if the court throws out one or more of the ACA’s provisions – or the entire law (unlikely) – the need for health coverage for all of us remains as dire as ever.

As it is, most states and health insurers have already implemented many of the law’s provisions – dropping of precondition exclusions, coverage of children up to age 26 under most circumstances, etc. Most major insurers, including Minnesota-based United Healthcare, have no intention of returning to their old ways and exclusions and states have started designing their mandated health exchanges when patients without employer-supplied health plans need some sort of coverage without resorting to the all-too-expensive option of using emergency rooms for routine care.

We know that the public, perhaps even Republicans, support the ACA’s consumer protections:

• Abolishing annual and lifetime caps on benefits paid.

• Ending rescission (dropping people from insurance when they get sick), except in cases of fraud.

• Ending exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

• Ending price discrimination based on gender and medical history. (Higher premiums can still be charged based on tobacco use, age and geographic region.)

• Allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.

• Phasing out Medicare’s “donut hole” (the gap in prescription drug coverage).

• Establishing a minimum medical loss ratio – the percentage of premium that must be spent on health care rather than on administration or profit. (source: Growth&Justice)

Most physicians and consumers support some sort of single-payer system – where our tax dollars would pay for health care that would remain delivered by private providers (like Aspen, HealthPartners, and Allina). Many are suggesting this model would be a Medicare-for-all option. Current administrative costs through even nonprofit private insurers (BlueCross/Blue Shield, HealthPartners, Medica and UCare) amount to almost 30% of every healthcare dollar, whereas the administration of Medicare amounts by law to no more than 2%. How much more efficient would that revision be when another quarter of the healthcare dollar could actually be spent on caring for people.

A new 38-page report from one of Minnesota’s premier progressive voice on state economic issues, Growth & JusticeBeyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota makes a strong, well documented case for a state-based single-payer system, ACA or no ACA. G&J recommends a “unified system” that takes in many other benefits.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI ask the report’s author and advocates to explain the report’s findings and conclusions, the why of this particular recommendation and what the politics might be toward adoption.

On-air guests: 

DANE SMITH – President, Growth & Justice Policy Developers

AMY LANGE, RN, MS, CNM – Policy Fellow on Health Care, Growth & Justice; Author, Beyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota

ELIZABETH FROST, MD – Family Physician; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP)-Minnesota Chapter; Advocate, Health Care for All-Minnesota

TruthToTell, Monday, June 18 − 9AM: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

TruthToTell, Monday, June 18 − 9AM: HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION FOR MINNESOTA: A Unified System Debuts - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

 

NOW: CALL or TWEET or POST ON FACEBOOK AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION Monday morning: Phone: 612-341-0980 

Facebook: Search TruthToTell; Twitter: @TTTAndyDriscoll; Email: andydriscoll@TruthToTell.org 

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just in time for our next show this Monday on health care comes a StarTribune story about the exponential rise in the number of Minnesotans on Medicaid – to be sure, double the national rate over the last two years, according to Reporter Warren Wolfe’s June 13th article.

Medicaid – not to be confused with Medicare – is the federal health program for the poor, but is handled differently in just about every state. In Minnesota we call it Medical Assistance. Of Minnesota’s population of 5 million folks, fully 733,000 of them are on Medical Assistance to the tune of $4 billion per year. This represents a big jump of 125,000 over the last two years and increases the percentage of us on Medical Assistance to fully 15% of all Minnesota’s people, but big in part because Gov. Mark Dayton added 80,000 to the rolls, thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA).

There’s more to this, but the questions remaining for all of us as the Supreme Courtapproaches a decision on what those who call the ACA “Obamacare,” is what the states’ responsibilities for providing healthcare coverage and access to their citizens, no matter what that decision may be. After all, even if the court throws out one or more of the ACA’s provisions – or the entire law (unlikely) – the need for health coverage for all of us remains as dire as ever.

As it is, most states and health insurers have already implemented many of the law’s provisions – dropping of precondition exclusions, coverage of children up to age 26 under most circumstances, etc. Most major insurers, including Minnesota-based United Healthcare, have no intention of returning to their old ways and exclusions and states have started designing their mandated health exchanges when patients without employer-supplied health plans need some sort of coverage without resorting to the all-too-expensive option of using emergency rooms for routine care.

We know that the public, perhaps even Republicans, support the ACA’s consumer protections:

• Abolishing annual and lifetime caps on benefits paid.

• Ending rescission (dropping people from insurance when they get sick), except in cases of fraud.

• Ending exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

• Ending price discrimination based on gender and medical history. (Higher premiums can still be charged based on tobacco use, age and geographic region.)

• Allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.

• Phasing out Medicare’s “donut hole” (the gap in prescription drug coverage).

• Establishing a minimum medical loss ratio – the percentage of premium that must be spent on health care rather than on administration or profit. (source: Growth&Justice)

Most physicians and consumers support some sort of single-payer system – where our tax dollars would pay for health care that would remain delivered by private providers (like Aspen, HealthPartners, and Allina). Many are suggesting this model would be a Medicare-for-all option. Current administrative costs through even nonprofit private insurers (BlueCross/Blue Shield, HealthPartners, Medica and UCare) amount to almost 30% of every healthcare dollar, whereas the administration of Medicare amounts by law to no more than 2%. How much more efficient would that revision be when another quarter of the healthcare dollar could actually be spent on caring for people.

A new 38-page report from one of Minnesota’s premier progressive voice on state economic issues, Growth & JusticeBeyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota makes a strong, well documented case for a state-based single-payer system, ACA or no ACA. G&J recommends a “unified system” that takes in many other benefits.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI ask the report’s author and advocates to explain the report’s findings and conclusions, the why of this particular recommendation and what the politics might be toward adoption.

On-air guests: 

DANE SMITH – President, Growth & Justice Policy Developers

AMY LANGE, RN, MS, CNM – Policy Fellow on Health Care, Growth & Justice; Author, Beyond the Affordable Care Act: An Economic Analysis of a Unified System of Health Care for Minnesota

ELIZABETH FROST, MD – Family Physician; Board member, Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP)-Minnesota Chapter; Advocate, Health Care for All-Minnesota

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell June 11: HEALTH INSURANCE COMEUPPANCE: Companies Make the Case for Their Replacement - PODCAST HERE


Listen to or download this episode here: 

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every time I think we may be returning too often and concentrating on the health care issue on this program, I’m upended by the plethora of stories coming from every quarter of the health care universe – most of them unearthing fraudulent or deceptive practices by a healthcare system run amok. To wit:

  1. Locally, the Health Care for All Minnesota group, which under its former banner, Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition, is peopled by a mix of physicians, former healthcare providers and health insurer types, not to mention citizen advocates of extraordinary dedication to the idea that the medical and insurance system in the USA and Minnesota is riddled with uncaring incompetence and a focus on the money to be made or saved by providing the absolute minimum levels of care to everyone – or no care to many while their bottom lines bloat and their collection tactics smell (see Accretive Health and Fairview Medical). Attorney General Lori Swanson’s report has blown up Fairview’s management.
  2. From a Stateline (Pew) report on Medicaid fraud: “Nationwide, the federal government estimates it lost $22 billion of its share of Medicaid funding last year to what it calls “improper payments,” according to its payment accuracy survey. This suggests that the loss to state treasuries was also in the tens of billions.”

    Improper payments refers to Medicaid paying out those billions to fraudulent providers. Do these stories hit the mainstream media? Rarely. How does the public generally view Medicaid (and welfare) fraud? As perpetrated by the legendary “welfare queens” so often heard about in drunken bar conversations and on Fox News. The tiniest percentage of assistance recipients may game the system – but it’s a flea on a pinhead compared to the blanket billions of taxpayer dollars vacuumed up by thousands of doctors, dentists and other providers, each of whom can hit on the Medicaid Fund to the tune of millions per month, compared with a few thousand over a full year for an unscrupulous recipient.

  3. And not so finally, the health insurance industry whose sole purpose for being appears to be in denying, not supplying, health benefits. In fact, an assessment by one of Minnesota best-known health insurance analysts,Kip Sullivan, talks about the new wrinkle in what we used to call HMOs (health maintenance organizations) and are now called ACOs - accountable care organizations – although there are, indeed, some distinctions, namely the size of the risk, the number of enrollees (that’s us) and the provider pool (the medical-dental-hospital community). Beyond this, this will involve Medicare and Medicaid recipients under the new Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare?). We’ll learn more about these Monday, we trust.

    But, the health insurance industry is a study unto itself. We’ve heard for years that any notion of a single-payer or healthcare for all system smacks of socialism or that it would be too costly and that “the Best Health Care System on the Planet” would be fatally compromised. The fact is, the insurance industry has claimed millions of lives and ruined others through its coordinated denial of health care services and exploded costs to the tune of 16% - or nearly ten times the overall national inflation rate – per year. This, from the former CIGNA executive, Wendell Potter, author ofDeadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, whom Barack Obama cited as an authority in his quest for health care reform legislation. Potter, now a senior analyst at the The Center for Public Integrity, among other positions, was CIGNA’s spinmeister, if you will.

Mr. Potter joins our discussion along with local insurance whistleblower, David Feinwachs and Dr. Ann Settgast of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP). As usual so much to cover, but important in its own right and as a set up for the following Monday’s show on a report – Beyond the Affordable Care Act Web.pdf – issued by our local progressive policy group, Growth & Justice on which we’ll feature G&J’s president, Dane Smith and the report’s author, Amy Lange, RN, MS, CNM and Growth & Justice Policy Fellow on Health Care, and Dr. Elizabeth Frost, also of the PNHP and HCAMn.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI start this week with the status of state and national health insurers as we work our way toward full implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act – unless it’s thrown out in the middle of our conversations with our reform advocates.

On-air guests: 

WENDELL POTTER – former health insurance executive turned whistleblower; author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans (Bloomsbury Press hardcover, November 2010, now in paperback)

DR. ANN SETTGAST - practicing physician in Internal Medicine and board member, Physicians for a National Health Program

DR. DAVID FEINWACHS – Attorney; former Corporate counsel for Minnesota Hospital Association – Fired as a Whistleblower over indiscriminate taxpayer payments to HMOs