Monday, October 13, 2008

MN-01 : Does Dr. Davis Oppose States Rights ?

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution (“ The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”) is the basis for the States Rights argument that the States, Congress, the Executive Branch and finally the Courts have tussled over since McCulloch –v- Maryland.
For example on the abortion issue, John McCain’s position is that Roe v. Wade should be reversed thus returning the abortion question to the individual states.
In fact, even though abortion is legal, individual states have enacted laws that impact obtaining the surgery such as 48-hour waiting periods, parental notification and requiring information or counseling be provided. The idea is that states have rights to legislation that can affect the practice without denying the right to the procedure.

Since Dr. Davis opposes abortion, one would think that he would agree with the Republican Party’s nominee and that advocating a States Rights position would be the first step. The alternative would be a Constitutional Amendment which Congress has never acted upon.

But Dr. Davis has expressed opposition to States regulations that dictate coverage for certain illnesses.

During the League of Women Voters debate, the candidates were given an opportunity to ask each other a question.
Congressman Tim Walz asked Dr. Davis about his position advocating eliminating state regulations that mandate coverage for certain illnesses. Specifically, Walz reminded Davis that Minnesota has a law requiring insurers to cover the full cost of a mammogram, less a co-payment.
A great question since it goes to the heart of health care reform …it is not just about saving money, it's about saving lives.
Why would a doctor deny encouraging mammograms ?
Dr. Davis responded that he wouldn’t.
And that just shows voters that Dr. Davis doesn’t truly have a plan to address health care.

Yet, it does led to the question, what state regulations would Dr. Davis want to change ?
As states have moved to change laws regarding smoking, and require insurance plans to a range of procedures ranging from well-baby exams to providing hearing aids for minor children who have a hearing loss that has been verified by a physician and an audiologist.
The states that are making these changes are advocating a “States Rights” position … becoming the incubator to test out what may work at the state level before the Federal government enacts laws … while helping its citizens.

Congress has acted in the past and voters will want to know how Dr. Davis would have voted. Would he have supported Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 which amongst other matters required insurers to provide coverage for a patient seeking a second opinion from a specialist on a cancer diagnosis ? He can now look over the past decade and tell voters whether this legislation was good for the patients or if caused an excessive financial impact on the insurance industry and to its customers that paid the premiums.

Be sure to watch the debate when it is broadcast. Dr. Davis makes some assertions that should be questioned. He alleges that Minnesota (operating under their prerogative of the 10th Amendment) is enacting mandates that are driving up the health insurance cost. In fact, Minnesota is one of the lowest-cost states in the nation for health care. In 2007, it saw its private health insurance premiums climb no faster than wages. The average increase in premiums was 4.3 percent compared to 6.1 percent nationally for employer health benefits. Yes, it is a lot of money, but Minnesota is improving quality and reducing costs. Dr. Davis should be well aware that his employer, the Mayo Clinic is a five-star "best" rating for cardiac care. For example, heart bypass surgery at the Mayo Clinic has an average cost of $66,529 while other facilities charge as much as $98,227 for the same care. Further, Dr. Davis is concerned with medical malpractice insurance, yet the American Medical News reported that 84% of liability companies reported in 2007 rates held steady or dropped while the lowest rates for internists ($3,375), general surgeons ($11,306), and Ob-Gyns ($20.626), are all in Minnesota.

It’s astonishing that Dr. Davis is so critical of our state … he should be campaigning on a program that he would take Minnesota mandates nationwide.

He is embracing an ideology that the Federal Government should not be interfering in our lives, without understanding that these mandates serve a purpose … and may save lives.

It makes voters wonder if Dr. Davis wants to go to Washington to protect the Insurance Industry ... or advocate for the citizens ?
Currently, the First District has someone who is a Patient's Advocate and deserving of another term.

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