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 Response Page - Marty  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
John Marty Interview of


As part of its on-going examination of proposed remedies for soaring healthcare costs, the Caucus visits with State Senator John Marty who outlines his recommendation for a universal health plan for Minnesota.   The statewide Minnesota Health Plan (MHP) would pay providers for the care of all residents, and would cover all medical services including dental care, prescription drugs, optometry, mental health, chemical dependency, and home care and nursing services.  The plan would be prohibited from denying medically necessary care to save money.  Premiums, based upon ability to pay, would be paid directly to the Minnesota Health Fund, which would operate independently of legislative appropriation. The governing board of the fund would be democratically elected by regional health boards, which are elected locally by elected county commissioners.

For the complete interview summary see:

Response Summary:  Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed by Senator Marty. Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

1. Coverage.  (6.4 average response) Federal or state-sponsored health care coverage should include everyone, no exceptions.

2. Waivers.  (5.7 average response) Minnesota should seek federal waivers to enact a full coverage health plan for its own residents.

3. Financing. (4.1 average response) Universal health care plans should be financed directly by employer premiums and by income-adjusted premiums for individuals, thereby replacing health care insurance.


Response Distribution:

Disagree Strongly

Disagree Moderately


Agree Moderately

Agree Strongly

Total Responses

1. Coverage.







2. Waivers.







3. Financing.







Individual Responses:

Jack Evert  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)

3. Financing. I don't see much in this plan to reduce the costs of health care, but I don't see much in the Federal plan either.  This cost reduction (outcome based payments, tort reform, etc) must be part of a successful health care delivery program. 

Ray Ayotte  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

Dave Broden  (2.5)  (2.5)  (0)

1. Coverage. The term health care coverage is far too general to set a mandate. To allow individual selection options, the definition of coverage needs to start with what is the coverage content, etc.

2. Waivers. A balanced approach to the role of federal and state must be sorted out. Waivers are simply another twist to the entire complex discussions.

3. Financing. Private section structure and options must be central to the process.

Bob White  (7.5)  (0)  (2.5)

Anonymous  (10)  (10)  (10)

Anonymous  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

Don Anderson  (10)  (0)  (7.5)

3. Financing. If you are retired and currently are in a health plan funded as part of your retirement, would you be able to get universal health care funded as currently?

DeWayne Townsend  (10)  (7.5)  (0)

1. Coverage. Health is driven by genetics over which the individual has little control.  The system could increase co-pays for smokers or folks that will not do as the doctor directed, but even that is likely to be genetic.

3. Financing. Income tax would be my preference, but since employment has some health risk they could be a source and in some case a significant risk.

Peter Hennessey  (0)  (10)  (0)

1. Coverage. The federal government is specifically not authorized to do anything like this. Read the Constitution, read the ruling by Judge Vinson.  Under the 9th and 10th Amendments, a State can do whatever its residents approve. However, before you plunge the unsuspecting public into a blatantly communist scheme, do read the history of health care in the Soviet Union, its Eastern Block satellites, China, Cuba, etc., as well as the dual private/public system in France, as well as Britain and the rest of Europe.   I have experienced life under such systems. Evidently you have not, or you would not look for ways to impose it.  Remember we are Americans. Our way is free enterprise. Let the people buy the insurance they need, remove all the "social justice" mandates, all the government bureaucracy and all the expensive compliance paperwork requirements to make the system affordable, and limit government welfare to only those few whose needs are too catastrophic for private charities.

2. Waivers. Every state must seek full waivers from every aspect of that abomination called “Obamacare”.

3. Financing. Individuals must be free to buy the insurance coverage -- just like every other product or service -- that they want, not what the government mandates. They must own their policies, divorced from their employment status, just like everything else.   Are you also proposing to make everything else -- mortgage, utilities, groceries, clothes, car payments, vacations, etc. -- dependent on employment status and ability to pay? Or is that the next step?  Look; you can turn MN into a communist state if you want to, and many of us non-Minnesotans already think you're already there anyway, but do read history before you do anything so stupid and so evil, and don't come to the rest of us to bail you out when your … experiment fails -- again.  Have you read Atlas Shrugged yet?

Jan Gomer  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

Scott Halstead  (0)  (0)  (2.5)

3. Financing. The health care system still needs reform.  We need a wellness-based lifestyle.   We need personal responsibility and higher payments for behaviors that increase our use of medical services.  We have medical ethics issues that need revision.  Many people think a pill will solve all of their problems.   We need reform of screening, testing of medical devices, drugs and marketing of these items.

Debby Frenzel  (0)  (0)  (0)

Polly Bergerson  (10)  (10)  (10)

1. Coverage. Very strongly agree. Whenever someone loses a job, they could be automatically enrolled and health care continued for them and their family. Additionally, nobody should be made poor because of health care costs due to illnesses and accidents. So, the nine components and a single payer plan works for me. It should be a plan people can move in and out of depending on circumstances

2. Waivers. For residents without coverage availability. And COBRA should be done away with. It is a completely exorbitant coverage for those who are generally unable to pay but are locked in because they need to continue their health care.

3. Financing. Seems like a reasonable way to cover the costs.

Albert Trostel  (10)  (7.5)  (0)

2. Waivers. I'm not clear what waivers are necessary

3. Financing. I believe that we should push ahead and establish the health insurance exchanges.  Crucial there are the standards that the policies must meet to be on the exchange.  I know it is a bitter pill for those who believe the problem is the insurance industry, but we need them on the side of providing the kind of health care financing that will accomplish both the access issues as well as the cost control issues.

R. Bormann  (10)  (10)  (10)

1. Coverage. Who should not have coverage?  The quality of life for all of us suffers when we deny coverage to anyone.

2. Waivers. Someone needs to show the federal government what real health care reform looks like.  The current federal reforms still leave many people uncovered or under covered and do nothing to control rising health care costs.  Insurance and drug companies are more protected than ordinary citizens.

David Dillon  (0)  (0)  (0)

Anonymous  (10)  (10)  (10)

John Sievert  (0)  (0)  (0)

W. D. (Bill) Hamm  (0)  (0)  (0)

1. Coverage. I absolutely oppose any government run socialist solution to this problem. I have no interest in increasing either Federal or State workers to achieve health care.

2. Waivers. If we are to seek any waivers it should be for a citizen-run cooperative structure not State-run Socialism.

3. Financing. While I would back health care for all, I will not back "government run" health care. No socialism, it is unnecessary and counter productive.

Dave Thul  (0)  (0)  (0)

1. Coverage. Health care coverage should be completely private.

2. Waivers. “Obamacare” is unconstitutional, and Minnesota should not start planning for it to be implemented.

3. Financing. Private health care insurance suffers because it is linked to employment.  Removing that link would help restore private health care coverage to millions of Americans.

Laurie Johnson  (0)  (0)  (0)

1. Coverage. I do not want anything that is either Federal- or state-sponsored, because it is the fastest way to completely ruin our health care system.  Socialist utopian ideas do not work, plain and simple.  People need to be invested in their own success or they will never do what is necessary to achieve it, such as responsibly access what is already available to them in a timely way to avoid unnecessary costs later.  They don't give a hoot about costs if it's all "free".

2. Waivers. They should only seek federal waivers in order to be completely free to let the market work in Minnesota, not to put a different state coverage plan in place.

3. Financing. I think it would be most advantageous to let the system go back to what it was before artificial means of manipulating the economy forced employers to pick up health care as a differentiator for an inability to pay top performers more money.  Many have suggested plans that allow people to pay for the plan of their choice with tax-deductible premiums, which seems a much more free market-driven and equitable solution than to force all into the government-paid type of coverage that is a breeding ground for waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Vici Oshiro  (10)  (10)  (10)

Will Shapira  (10)  (10)  (na)

I give a 10 for Question 1 and Question 2 but re Question 3, being a socialist, I want private business (employers) out of the health care business and I want the government to run it.  I think it would be useful if Civic Caucus would examine how other states are doing this. This is John Marty at his best, and I am fortunate to have him and Mindy Greiling for my state senator and state rep.

Tom Neuville  (10)  (10)  (0)

I would support universal major medical coverage, after everyone has paid 10-12% of annual family income first, out of pocket. The government cannot pay for all primary care and expect portability, transparency, cost control and efficiency. However, nobody should have to file bankruptcy due to a medical problem either. I introduced my bill, "Common Sense Solution" to health care crisis in the MN senate in  2007 patterned after a concept described in a book by Don Larson in 1992. It would also make a good model for Medicare reform. The plan would be paid for by delinking employer based deductions and encouraging individual Medical Saving accounts.

Ray Cox  (0)  (0)  (0)

These plans seem to eliminate the personal responsibility that must be involved in health care. In addition, financing the plan by employer premiums seems to continue a program that has already shown that it doesn’t work well. The only reason we have employer paid health plans is a government provision of wage and price controls after WWII. With today’s high unemployment it shows us all what a poor plan it is to have employer paid health premiums.

If health care is an entitlement of everyone in America, why isn’t food or housing also an entitlement, to be furnished by the government to us all?
We are ignoring the one big basic issue in health care, namely, what amount of one’s income should be dedicated to health care? We have raised generations of people that grew up under health care plans that paid close to 100% of all needs…. that was a very poor idea. We now need to re-educate people to expect to pay after-tax dollars to health care, just like they do for all types of other items.

Al Quie  (0)  (0)  (0)

Carolyn Ring  (0)  (0)  (0)

It all sounds ideal. However it is not realistic.  Will the brightest and most competent enter the medical profession under such a plan? Where is the incentive? What are the Boards responsibilities and limitations?  The free enterprise system is still the best.

John Milton  (10)  (10)  (10)

Chuck Lutz  (10)  (10)  (8)

Cam A. Gordon  (10)  (10)  (7)

Rick Bishop  (10)  (7)  (5)

Alan Miller  (10)  (10)  (8)

Bert Press  (0)  (0)  (0)

Wayne Jennings  (10)  (10)  (10)

All my life I’ve wanted to see medical care as a right. It needs to be universal. Those of us with medical care consider it one of the most important and valuable assets. Why should that basic care be denied others? The current insurance industry makes unseemly profits and won’t change unless required to by law.

Mary Jane Morrison  (10)  (10)  (6)

I understand there is a difference between health care plans and health care insurance, but I do not sufficiently understand the economic consequences of this distinction for businesses and people, let alone our economy

Bill Kientz  (na)  (na)  (na)

In 45 years in the insurance business I earned a reputation for being professional, knowledgeable, and well prepared  by my customers,  my competitors,  lawyers and the Ohio Insurance Department.

The health Care problem in this country is not an insurance problem.  It is a social problem caused by the uncontrolled cost of health care…. The best health care in the world is the result of the best hospitals,  the most MRI’S,  the best  diagnostic equipment, the best doctors,  the best surgical procedures, etc.  

 The social problem is that “most” of the people in need of this “unlimited” access to the best health care can’t afford it, and neither the insurance industry nor the government( federal or state), including Sen. Marty, can predict the cost or how to distribute it.

 Only the government has an unlimited checkbook, which is the power to tax without the approval of the people.
 In the end, giving people that can’t afford it the “best” coverage is an “entitlement”.   That’s where Obama and Sen. Marty are going.

I could not have paid for (my health care cost for the last ten years) without the Medicare that did pay for it.

 Since I believe we are headed for a government-pay-all plan for half the people in this country let me share my real concern.  It is this:  Government management of the problem will add an unacceptable administrative cost and US Post Office incompetence to perhaps the most serious problem facing the country today.  In addition to this concern, I also fear that government incompetence will, in the end, impair the quality of health care that we have enjoyed for several generations.

 I wish I had a happy solution to offer at the end but I do not.  My father died when I was 15 years old.  He suffered seven years of terminal Parkinson disease illness.  My mother and I took care of him as best we could.  It never occurred to us at that time that our neighbors, or the government, or the rich people should have to do it.

Paul and Ruth Hauge  (7)  (8)  (7)

The likelihood of a very abrupt change from a private health care system to a totally universal system will not likely take place for a number of years given the strong lobbying opposition. But it would cause some serious disruption to many companies involved in delivering health care. Although desirable, such a change must be done with due deliberation without disrupting the health care delivery to the population.

Mina Harrigan  (10)  (3)  (3)

Now is not the time to address this; wait a while to see how the national health care bill shakes out

William Kuisle  (0)  (0)  (0)

Lyall Schwarzkopf  (5)  (1)  (1)

Bright Dornblaser  (10)  (10)  (1)

3. Financing.  Not politically feasible.  The perfect can be the enemy of the good. Obtaining progress to (1. Coverage) and (2. Waivers) will be prevented by #3 (financing) proposal.

Thomas Wright  (10)  (10)  (0)

I supported John Marty's Minnesota Health Plan in my campaign for governor.  We should seek a waiver to enact full coverage and beat Vermont to the punch.  Let's be a leader and watch the rest of the country follow MN.  Although Governor Dayton supports single-payer healthcare, our Republican legislature doesn't believe that government should promote and protect the public health, safety and the general welfare when it comes to healthcare because they're beholden to their corporate paymasters.  They're unpatriotic to America and Minnesota because patriotism is a love of country, but it isn't a love at all unless it's a corresponding love of the people.  There is no love where there is no care.  And if you love the people you care for The People.  Republicans only have allegiance to the love of money not to the people.  At least John Marty believes in correct principles.

Tom Spitznagle  (5)  (5)  (2)

Sounds conceptually interesting but how is it decided who qualifies for premium subsidies and how much of a subsidy they should get?  How do you control those wanting to take advantage of the system thus forcing others to pay for their expenses (a common problem in most government social programs)?

Roy Thompson  (10)  (6)  (8)

Upcoming meetings:

Friday, Jan. 28--Tom Gillaspy, Minnesota State Demographer

Friday, Feb. 4--Internal discussion

Friday, Feb. 11--Steve Rothschild, president, Twin Cities RISE!

Friday, Feb. 18--State Rep. Carol McFarlane, co-chair, Legislative Committee on Redesign

Friday, Feb. 25--State Sen. David Hann, chair, Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Recent additions to Civic Caucus website:

--Comment on summary of meeting with Bill Marx, Chief Fiscal Analyst, MN House of Representatives:

--Comment on summary of meeting with Ted Kolderie, Founder of Education|Evolving:

--Comment on summary of meeting with Stacy Becker, Citizens League Consultant on Long-term Care:



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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