Today’s UpTake: Health Care Reform’s Six-Month Anniversary

Tom Horner, Tom Emmer And Mark Dayton at St. Cloud Chamber Debate

Today is the first day of Fall, and it’s also the six-month anniversary of Congress’ health care reform law — the signature achievement of this Congress and Obama’s White House. To celebrate, TakeAction Minnesota will hold a farewell party at 1 p.m. today at the State Capitol to “celebrate the end of insurance Industry abuses, hello affordable care act provisions.” Later today we’ll bring you coverage of the party.

Tomorrow, seven major provisions of the Affordable Care Act will take effect, including numerous consumer protections that end the worst of insurance company abuses. According to TakeAction Minnesota’s press release: “The new law puts an end to some devastating practices like dropping people because they got sick, putting annual and lifetime limits on how much coverage you can receive from your insurance policy, and denying children coverage because they’re sick.” Officials from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, as well as state legislators and Minnesota families impacted by this new law will attend the party.

You can watch a replay here of yesterday’s gubernatorial debate in St. Cloud, which was attended by DFL’er Mark Dayton, Republican Tom Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner. We’ve also got the video of President Obama’s address to the Congressional Black Caucus, at which he repeated his popular metaphor: the Republicans have driven the economy into the ditch and he’s “not going to give them the keys back” because “they don’t know how to drive”. Speaking of driving, yesterday at the State Capitol, the Minnesota Safety Council, AAA Minnesota/Iowa and transportation safety advocates held a press conference to unveil PayAttentionandDrive.org.

In other Minnesota political news today, Mark Dayton’s new proposed budget would include creating a casino at the Mall of America to help eliminate the state’s budget deficit; Rep. Mark Buesgens was still working for the Tom Emmer campaign when he was arrested Saturday night under suspicion of driving while intoxicated — despite Emmer reports that he left the team on Sept. 12; Tom Horner has picked up the endorsement of the Minnesota Medical Association; University of Minnesota vice president Karen Himle is on the hot seat after canceling a university-produced documentary about the evils of big agriculture (her husband John is the CEO of Himle Horner Inc., a public relations firm that represents the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council), and Governor Tim Pawlenty is heading back to New Hampshire on Sept. 30, to campaign for the state’s GOP nominee for governor — and probably for no other reason than to learn about the New Hampshire’s dairy industry.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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