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Health Care Politics in South Dakota

May 14, 2014

A new poll finds that health care is the most important deciding issue for South Dakotans trying to pick their next Senator. Republicans think that means crying wolf about the Affordable Care Act.

Mike Rounds is cluttering up everyone's evening news with his mendacious ad claiming the Affordable Care Act makes him lose sleep. Rounds flat out lies, telling folks that the ACA is cutting Medicare and reducing benefits for seniors like his dear old dad, who, given his long-time service as a lobbyist for the oil industry and the fact that his son is the richest Republican in the U.S. Senate race, is probably one of the last people in South Dakota who needs to worry about paying his medical bills. For the record, the ACA hasn't reduced care for Don Rounds or any other senior citizen; the cuts Rounds says he opposes are replicated by the Republican Paul Ryan budget.

Rounds, like everyone else on the Republican ticket, vows to repeal the ACA. Rounds et al. consistently call the ACA “ObamaCare,” which shows that for them, repealing the ACA is more about burning that man in the White House in effigy than about crafting good policy.

Call it what you will, the ACA is working. 17.3 to 27.7 million Americans have some sort of coverage thanks to provisions of the ACA. And consider this comparison of what happens when you implement the ACA with what happens when you don't: In states that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA, hospitals are seeing a lower percentage of uninsured patients. In states like South Dakota that have rejected the ACA-Medicaid expansion, hospitals are seeing a higher percentage of uninsured patients. More uninsured patients mean more uncompensated care and more of what former Republican State Senator Stan Adelstein calls a hidden tax on the rest of us. In other words, everything else being equal, things are better with the ACA than without.

And Mike Rounds says, "Do without." As former SDGOP boss Joel Rosenthal writes, Rounds and his false-fear-mongering GOP compadres aren't offering any real policy alternatives to the ACA. Independent Larry Pressler is talking about lowering costs through health cooperatives. Democrat Rick Weiland is talking about making Medicare (which everyone loves, including Rounds) a public option, available to anyone who wants to buy in. Both Pressler and Weiland acknowledge that the ACA is imperfect. They respond not by making Barack Obama a bogeyman but by talking about ways to solve problems and make health care work better.

That same poll showing South Dakotans' strong concern about health care also shows Rounds winning 44 percent of the vote, Weiland 30 percent, and Pressler 17 percent. That's a pretty even split between fear mongering and problem-solving. Unfortunately, the two problem-solvers are splitting the practical vote, allowing fear and fecklessness to win the day. Pressler and Weiland will both need to work on pulling voters out of Camp Fear and into Camp Fix-It. Folks hoping for more progress on health care policy should wish Weiland and Pressler well.

Editor's Note: Cory Heidelberger is our political columnist from the left. For a conservative perspective on politics, please look for columns by Dr. Ken Blanchard on this site.

Cory Allen Heidelberger writes the Madville Times political blog. He grew up on the shores of Lake Herman. He studied math and history at SDSU and information systems at DSU, and has taught math, English, speech, and French at high schools East and West River.

Comments

03:55 pm - Wed, May 14 2014
dave tunge said:
Heck, even Obama admitted he likes the term Obamacare. What I get from your post here Cory is that you, like other passionate political folks on both sides of the aisle, become salesmen for candidates who, if elected, become pawns in the game of "Let's Make a Deal". It doesn't seem to matter much the integrity ( or lack of it) of the candidates but the goal is to install more R's than D's......or D's than R's. And even at that the power of Congress is sharply waning as the Executive and Judicial branches do as they like with little regard for Congress or our constitution.
And what's this about a politician telling "flat out lies"? I'm shocked ! Are you serious? They really do that? If you like your current healthcare policy you can keep it. Most did........and most can't.
09:05 pm - Wed, May 14 2014
Dave, next time Obama's on a ballot, go ahead and vote him out for lying to you. Right now, you have Mike Rounds lying to you about Medicare to get your vote. Are you going to hold him to the same standard to which you hold the President and vote for someone else?
08:33 am - Thu, May 15 2014
Robert X said:
" Are you going to hold him to the same standard to which you hold the President and vote for someone else?"

If the same poll indicated 3-1 support for the Keystone pipeline and only 3% cared about EB-5, would you hold to the same standard of polls as reality and cease blathering about those two issues?

Can anyone point out to me the rabid candidate support supplied by Mr. Blanchard on the SD Magazine website?

There's no balance with these columns--just one unpaid (or paid?) campaign manager spouting his rabid support for one candidate or issue. Which is all fine, but how about full disclosure?
10:52 am - Thu, May 15 2014
roger Holtzmann said:
Cory - you expect too much of Mr. Rounds. He is a decent man, I think, but politically he is a delivery vehicle for RNC rhetoric and very little else. Problem solving and creative ideas are beyond him.

As for Mr. Weiland ... like the rest of his party, he is unburdened by any notion of fiscal reality. No matter what mechanism is used to cover the uninsured, it's being paid for with BORROWED MONEY! Has that occurred to him? Is that a sustainable model?
11:42 am - Thu, May 15 2014
John Andrews said:
Robert X – None of our web columnists are paid, if that is what you are implying. We’ve given Cory Heidelberger, Ken Blanchard and the rest of our columnists the freedom to write about whatever subjects interest them. Politically, Cory writes exclusively about South Dakota matters, while Ken sometimes takes a broader, national approach. When we began, Cory and Ken were both writing twice a month. Cory has maintained that schedule, while Ken’s other commitments necessitated a move to once a month. Perhaps there’s another conservative writer out there who’d be willing to do a column a month?
08:02 am - Fri, May 16 2014
Robert X said:
" you have Mike Rounds lying to you about Medicare to get your vote"

What, specifically, has Mike Rounds lied about in regards to Obamacare?

You've been challenged: this isn't your blog where you can say whatever you wish, and your lackeys will amen it. No black ops conspiracy theories or links to obscure websites in NM. No 3-4-5th hand filtered quotes from Mr. Rounds. No more Cory-reveals-the-hidden-meanings-behind-the-words ploys.

So, what did Mike Rounds lie about in regards to Obamacare?

Either put up, or shut up.

08:16 am - Fri, May 16 2014
South Dakotans want to discuss real issues, "Robert", not your personal vendetta against me. You lessen the value of the conversation with your distractions.

I make clear Rounds's lies above. They are the same lies told by many fear-mongering Republican candidates. The ACA is not weakening Medicare. It is strengthening Medicare and extending Medicare's viability. Helping millions of American get insurance and thus access to affordable care means younger people will get healthier. When those younger people become older people, they'll be in better shape and cost Medicare less, extending the viability of the program even further.

We would make Medicare even stronger by adopting Rick Weiland's plan to allow any willing citizen to buy into Medicare. That would bring a vast pool of younger, healthier premium payers into the system, making it even easier for Medicare to cover all participants' health care costs.

The debate has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with facts and policy. Mike Rounds is wrong on facts and policy.
10:11 am - Fri, May 16 2014
dave tunge said:
As one smart fella told me once "it would be a boring world if we all thought the same thing".
My opinion is that Rounds, or anyone for that matter, cannot currently lie about Obamacare. The reason I say this is that no one knows what the heck is going to happen. The current administration seems to willy-nilly change the law at their discretion. What were are experiencing here is not a medical or health issue but rather a control issue. I think it won't be long before the government, rather than medical professionals, will control the fate of our health care. I realize that a lot of the new generations seem to have that "take care of me" philosophy and if they are the ones who think we need to change our form of government that has worked so well for so many years.........well, so be it........as they will live with the intended, or not so intended, consequences.
09:42 pm - Fri, May 16 2014
Mary M. said:
I have to agree with Roger X, I don't think you have any substance here. At the very least, it's a poorly written article promising "Health care politics in SD" and delivering other people's content vial links. I think this comment, "More uninsured patients mean more uncompensated care and more of what former Republican State Senator Stan Adelstein calls a hidden tax on the rest of us. In other words, everything else being equal, things are better with the ACA than without," is statistically inaccurate. Costs for the uninsured are not necessarily passed to patients. They can be recovered in other ways.
05:47 am - Sat, May 17 2014
Mark said:
I just moved here for my job and I have to say I think there's something wrong with you. Worse, there's something wrong with people who give you a forum. Even your comments are unprofessional. This post isn't about healthcare, it's a post about trying to make yourself smarter than this Rounds fella. Normally I wouldn't even post, but the fact that you have this magazine letting you go after people is a shame. Since you like to label people, I'll add this. I'm not a medical professional, but you have a lot of the traits of someone with narcissistic personality disorder. Pundits do destroy people in their especially in their local community. It's just weird.
06:24 am - Sat, May 17 2014
Ed said:
Mark, you are gonna get it now. You are absolutely correct but Cory will be after both of us for sounding different but giving him the dickens and he does it but when he gets it he don't like it. Poor boy
07:42 am - Sat, May 17 2014
Mark said:
I meant to say that pundits DON'T destroy people in their local community. I just realized I messed that up. Ed, I fully expect he will attack me. I read the post on that woman's blog and I got a chill when I saw the extent that he went through to orchestrate her humiliation. I also read about the people who are actually commenting on his blog which is troubling. He attracts a fringe element and whips them into a frenzy.
07:54 am - Sat, May 17 2014
Robert X said:
"The debate has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with facts and policy. Mike Rounds is wrong on facts and policy."

Mike Rounds may be wrong on facts & policy---that's quite a different statement than he lied about Obamacare.

"South Dakotans want to discuss real issues, "Robert", not your personal vendetta against me.You lessen the value of the conversation with your distractions. "

Claiming that a well-respected public servant lied about Obamacare is not a distraction--it's libelous. You made the claim about Rounds lying about Obamacare, failed or refused to back it up with facts, and now wish to avoid responsibility for it by making another claim about it being a "distraction".

Repeatedly, you have made outrageous statements here & elsewhere to further your extreme views, and when challenged, you dismiss the challenges. That's not a distraction or a vendetta, it's shameful.

You claim that S. Dakotans want to discuss real issues (as if you would know what S. Dakotans want), but In the end, we again see that the issue you desire to raise ("Mike Rounds lied about Obamacare") are rooted in fantasy.

The readers of SD Magazine recognize the fantasy
07:59 am - Sat, May 17 2014
Robert X said:
"Perhaps there’s another conservative writer out there who’d be willing to do a column a month?"

Drop me an email.

I'm not necessarily a conservative, but these unpaid candidate commercials and hit pieces deserve some balance.
08:28 am - Sat, May 17 2014
Les said:
I'm lived here for 40 years. This guy is a smear on who we are. It has gotten worse lately. I liked that Corinna and he just went after her recently over a mistake that could have been privately rectified. Thought we were trying to get her elected? Now it looks like she's done because of him so we're going to have Noem again. My wife is spitting nails and sent a letter to your magazine. I really can't take another four years of Noem and he cinched it for her and shared stuff with that Powers guy. I really want to hear why he did that.
06:21 am - Sun, May 18 2014
larry kurtz said:
Mr. X is a troll with a personal grudge against Cory: why (s)he/it has not been blocked remains a mystery.

Mike Rounds is merely a crook.
06:32 am - Sun, May 18 2014
Mark said:
Mr. Andrews, this Kurtz fella appears to be one of Heidelberger's regular followers. He along with about 15 others assist in his assassinations of people's character without offering facts. This is what I have noticed about his style. Obviously it's your magazine, but from a financial standpoint, your asset is not gaining from an association and, in fact, he appears to be using it to advance an agenda based on a lack of self-esteem. Not that you asked, but it's an outsiders opinion.
06:51 am - Sun, May 18 2014
larry kurtz said:
Santa Claus
Sani-flush
Drano
06:53 am - Sun, May 18 2014
larry kurtz said:
Mr. Andrews? Roger X? Just moved to a chemical toilet like South Dakota for my job? Red state failure in a nuts shell.
06:57 am - Sun, May 18 2014
larry kurtz said:
Mr. Heidelberger is hardly the only South Dakota journalist who believes Mike Rounds is merely a self-serving politico feathering his own nest at taxpayer expense:

http://blog.keloland.com/politicsinkeloland/2014/05/15/with-gop-primary-near-rounds-weiland-obamacare-debate-must-wait/
07:30 am - Sun, May 18 2014
larry kurtz said:
Another one of South Dakota's most respected journalists agrees with Mr. Heidelberger:

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/opinion/mercer-republicans-feel-safe-battering-obamacare/article_aadfb85c-7ba5-5c2a-835c-4639c4b0e78a.html
08:43 am - Sun, May 18 2014
larry kurtz said:
Mark R. King
09:50 am - Sun, May 18 2014
The Old Les said:
The ACA has doubled my insurance costs since 2009. It has more than tripled my health care costs due to the insurance covering so little with the higher deductibles.

Both parties are to blame for this fiasco Dave T. We could have joined forces and produced something of value. This was written almost entirely by the insurance companies, so who the heck do any of us think is paying the bill.
09:51 am - Sun, May 18 2014
The Old Les said:
To Robert X, Keystone XL tramples SD citizens property rights. It is probably safer than rail but if it is so safe why are the Canadians not allowing it to head west across their pristine country to BC. Why did Gov Rounds veto Sen Maher's bill that would have taken .02 per barrel with a 30 million dollar cap for a spill clean up fund? It won't haul SD oil and Bakken oil claims they don't need it anymore.

If you are GOP or Dem and think EB5 is political crap that just needs to be swept under the carpet, you are either uninformed or part of the system that would allow the millions of stolen dollars, a dead body and a host of other issues now being federally investigated to go permanently dormant.
09:54 am - Sun, May 18 2014
the old Les said:
But, to the health subject, Governor Rounds accepted federal dollars and later pushed legislation that protected his insurance commissions with the new health care law. His Medicare ad is just designed to scare the old folks and it riles those of us who've cared for our elderly parents remembering how often that ruse was used to scam or scheme them.

I was initially excited with the thought of US Sen Rounds. Similar to childbirth, many of my objections had dimmed. I started questioning my thoughts as the Rounds campaign evolved, mostly due to one campaign relationship that was shown crony, but I don't wish to be frivolously sued over disclosing.

EB5 and campaign dollars from ceo's coast to coast when studied show a business return will be necessary with political business as usual were the straws that broke the camels back for me.
07:28 pm - Sun, May 18 2014
Dave, are you any more offended by private insurance companies control over health care?
07:30 pm - Sun, May 18 2014
Old Les, I'm glad you're willing to change your mind. Rounds has given former supporters plenty of reason to do so. Remember, he's the guy who catalyzed my departure from the Republican Party with his embraced of Bush-Kennedy's No Child Left Behind. If you're a rock-ribbed minimal-government conservative, you can't trust Rounds to press your agenda. His Medicare scare ads are scare tactics, not a roadmap of what he'd really fight for in Washington.
07:31 pm - Sun, May 18 2014
Mary, what other ways can hospitals recover costs for uncompensated care?
07:33 pm - Sun, May 18 2014
(Robert X, I'd love to see another committed columnist discussing South Dakota issues on a regular basis here. I'd love to see you put your real name and photo to your opinions on those topics. Note: the latter you could do right here, right now.)
07:37 pm - Sun, May 18 2014
And Larry, you're right: Mercer's column is pretty good! He sees the self-interest in Rounds's policies. He points to Rounds advisors' role in lobbying for a statute that helps Rounds and his insurance friends profit from the ACA. Rounds is never going to repeal the ACA. He will want the rules to stay the way they are for as long as possible so he can keep making money off them. Or so Bob Mercer seems to be saying.
05:54 am - Mon, May 19 2014
Mary said:
I don't want to participate in this conversation. Please delete my post.
09:33 am - Tue, May 20 2014
Robert X said:
"Cory" (since it's your custom to use quotes around a name):

This isn't about me. It's about the issues and your ongoing habit of demonizing those who hold differing opinions--in the pages of SD magazine and elsewhere.

Don't try your usual shuck and jive tactics here: tell us how Mike Rounds lied about Obamacare. You made the claim that he "lied". Not that he was wrong, or that you disagree with his views--you claimed that he lied. No need to evade. No need to attack. No need to try to engage commenters here who see you for what you are in a lame attempt to avoid responsibility for what you wrote.

Just back up your words. We don't need a photo of you or me or Mary. We don't need an investigation of who said what. Focus on what you claimed about Mike Rounds and his "lies" about Obamacare.

Back it up, "Cory".

What lie(s) did Mike Rounds make about Obamacare?



09:46 am - Tue, May 20 2014
larry kurtz said:
Rounds has lied by saying he has the power to change it, regardless of his enrichment because of it, his involvement in implementing it in South Dakota or by using semantics in a political race to mask his many other foibles.
03:20 pm - Tue, May 20 2014
George said:
You can call yourself anything when you aren't getting paid. Unfortunately, your lack of talent is not made up elsewhere. Stop insulting people so much.You can't handle the same.
03:23 pm - Tue, May 20 2014
Robert X said:
"I'd love to see another committed columnist discussing South Dakota issues on a regular basis here"

A "discussion" where a "columnist" makes unsubstantiated claims that a dedicated SD public servant (imperfect as we all are) has lied about Obamacare is not a discussion. Your usual tactic of "oh yeah, your guy lies" is not a discussion. You don't want a discussion of "the issues", you want a mean monologue on your "issues." Why else base a column on a wide-ranging poll, cherry pick the health care aspect, use it to attack Mike Rounds and his "lie(s)" about Obamacare, ignore the poll respondents' near 0% concerns about your favorite "issues" of EB-5 and Keystone, and then claim you want to address the issues? You did not use the poll to raise "issues" to discuss, you cherry picked a small part of it to attack Mike Rounds.

People are tired of your tactics, "Cory." Your attempts to "engage" after calling Mike Rounds a liar on Obamacare appear desperate and pathetic.

How the issue of self-reflection?

06:14 am - Wed, May 21 2014
larry kurtz said:
"Is Mike Rounds being his best self when he alarms Medicare recipients, such as myself, with these endlessly repeated claims, which have been rebutted for years by reputable, non-partisan sources?"

http://www.capjournal.com/opinions/is-mike-rounds-at-his-best-on-medicare-obamacare-aca/article_22567b3a-e0b1-11e3-8ee4-0019bb2963f4.html
07:48 am - Thu, May 22 2014
Robert X said:
Thanks for the link, "Larry".

The author of your cited piece is not a journalist, and the piece is not a published "story". It is a guest commentary by a person who, "for 39 years and is chair of the Hughes County democrats."

No partisanship or bias there!

07:52 am - Thu, May 22 2014
Robert X said:
"And Mike Rounds says, "Do without."

Please cite where Mike Rounds has said anything of the sort.

Folks, this is what is called a "strawman". Cory, as is his usual tactic, completely invents something he believes Mike Rounds has said (but did not), and then proceeds to attack Mike Rounds for saying whatever "Cory" thinks MIke Rounds said.

And then he has the gall to speak of the lies of Mike Rounds.

Strawmen are the domain of the intellectually stilted.

11:14 am - Thu, May 22 2014
larry kurtz said:
http://www.sddp.org/2014/05/south-dakotans-calling-out-mike-rounds-on-medicare-aca/
03:53 pm - Thu, May 22 2014
dave tunge said:
Biggest lie of this year? To follow Obama's biggest lie of last year........our money.......borrowed money.......to bail out the insurance industry to make Obamacare look like it works.

The LA Times reports that late last week hundreds of pages of new regulations were added to Obamacare. Their reporters went through it and found a few key paragraphs. The change in regulations essentially provides insurers with another backup: If they keep rate increases modest over the next couple of years but lose money, the administration will tap federal funds as needed to cover shortfalls. This could be hundreds of billions of dollars!

This is a classic bait and switch. The middle class will feel like they're getting a break on insurance premiums. As long as they don't look at the governments check book, they'll believe the Affordable Health Care Law is working. It only unravels if they realize they are paying double for their insurance, because the increase is being charged to their account in the form of more debt.
05:43 am - Fri, May 23 2014
Ed said:
Thanks, Dave and funny to see Larry respond to Robert X and not the so called writer, Cory, of this blog or what ever it is called.
06:48 am - Fri, May 23 2014
larry kurtz said:
South Dakota voters have had it with single-party rule in the chemical toilet. Registration trends show that Democrats are signing up as earth haters and GOPers are leaving that party to become unaffiliated with any political organ.

Democrats have opportunities to put nominees in place in the US Senate and gubernatorial earth hater primaries that don't have the power that unlimited cash resources afford the front-runners.

Monkey wrenchers: make it so.
08:02 am - Fri, May 23 2014
Robert X said:
"South Dakota voters have had it with single-party rule in the chemical toilet. Registration trends show that Democrats are signing up as earth haters and GOPers are leaving that party to become unaffiliated with any political organ."

Mostly untrue.

Rep. registrations are steady
Democrat registrations are trending downwards
"Others" are steady.

https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/upcoming-elections/voter-registration-totals/voter-registration-comparison-table.aspx

Facts are facts.
10:48 am - Fri, May 23 2014
larry kurtz said:
The tribes trapped in South Dakota are living the lies of the Rounds/Daugaard terms just as those in Oklahoma, where 'Robert X' lives:

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/21/eonm-calls-governor-fallin-recognize-racism-oklahoma-154966
11:40 am - Fri, May 23 2014
larry kurtz said:
"Repeatedly, you have made outrageous statements here & elsewhere to further your extreme views, and when challenged, you dismiss the challenges."

Pants on fire.
07:19 am - Sat, May 24 2014
Robert X said:
"Perhaps there’s another conservative writer out there who’d be willing to do a column a month?"

I'm still waiting for an email.
07:21 am - Sat, May 24 2014
Robert X said:
Mr. Andrews:

I'm not sure how to respond to "Larry Kurtz"s weird comments.

Should they be deleted?

07:38 am - Sat, May 24 2014
larry kurtz said:
Curious why a South Dakota-based publication would post the rantings of an out of state, vituperative math professor like Andrew Shiers while he stalks a local journalist.
07:48 am - Sat, May 24 2014
larry kurtz said:
Start a blog under your real name, Professor Shiers: no doubt people with flock to it with all the enthusiasm that students huddle for your course have.

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