MPPA Meeting Minutes – 9/30/20

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MPPA Meeting Wednesday, Sept 30, 2020 at 6-8 PM using Zoom through the kindness of Chris and Mara Geist at First Income Advisors. We may need to have our own MPPA Zoom account in the future.

Focus: November Election

Those present: It is difficult to know how many were “at” the meeting, since I had botched the invitation. Fifteen had signed up for the meeting, some appeared to sign in but were never “seen”. We did see and hear Bob Geist MD, Wayne Zuehlke CPA, Dave Feinwachs JD, PhD, Doug Smith MD, Rick Morris MD, and Matt Flanders, Tim Herman, George Dawson MD, John Tyler, Ashley Smothers, Marie Olseth, MD, and Scott Jensen MD. I can only apologize to those, who were not able to sign in or who did so without being able to be seen or heard.

The meeting focus was the upcoming elections and plans for individual political (legislative) activities in 2021. We had the unusual fact that two US Congressional candidates were being aided by MPPA Fellows—more about the candidates later.

New Business:

  1. We welcomed  the new volunteers for offices that keep the wheels turning. Dr. Doug Smith is the new President. Wayne Zuehlke, CPA, is the new treasurer. Bob Geist MD remains secretary although still trying to find a replacement. One new office remains unfilled—that of Chief Librarian in charge of the new revised website.
  2. We reviewed the recommendations of the Sept 2 Library-website Committee regarding major revisions of the website format and content.
    1. See the appended committee meeting minutes for details on P. 4.
    1. The new format will feature 8 pulldown menus; a common feature of many website that makes use easy. The cost of the revision will be $1,275; the treasury can cover almost all. Once our 501c3 MPPA charity status is re-established, a few small donations can pay for the revisions and later maintenance.
    1. Although day to day MPPA activities will continue in our frequent email loops, the website will be an online open version of current events such as new peer reviewed publications (newspaper letters, op-eds, essays, and books), a periodic President’s newsletter recounting current Fellow activities (in the community and at the legislature), as well as making the site an archive of our past history and of past and future landmark publications. We can thank Wayne Zuehlke, George Dawson, Rick Morris, and Bob Geist for the Library committee’s recommendations.

Political Events:

  • Sen. Scott Jensen, MD, recounted his 2nd bout of inquiries by the MN Board of Medical practice (MBMP) into his medical opinions; not into his medical practice!
    • Anonymous sources had alleged that his opinion videos regarding Covid-19 were a “danger to public health”. His videos were concerned with over-reliance on faulty expert fatality rate estimates, on curious recommendations regarding fatality diagnoses, on varying expert opinions for treatments that politically ignored medical clinician experiences, and on endangered privacy regarding the state’s case reporting activities 
    • Many of us think that the anonymous accusations are another political smear and hit job (the cancel culture run amok). Many of us question the MBMP jurisdiction over a public health issue. Yet Scott said that the MBMP statute allows a wide range of complaints. This over-broad statute is being reviewed by Legislator leaders. Scott will keep us up to date on this issue.
  • John Tyler reviewed for us legislation for 2021: the MN Patients’ Affordability and Quality Act— a brief summary is appended P. 5ff.
    • The bill aims to remedy low quality insurance (narrow network, high deductible) products and unaffordable premium increases following Obamacare obliterating state high risk pools. This resulted in such patients being dumped onto the individual insurance market with terrible premium rate increases; since the law mandated guaranteed issue for all applicants. Carriers had to assume that all applicants were high health care risks!
    • A new MN high risk pool insurance market would be created with underwriting in the sense that only those possessing insurance would be eligible. Premium rate maximum differential increase would be  25%, and these adverse risk patients would be subsidized by HMO policy  and provider taxes and possible use of federal block grant funds should that happen.
    • Insurance underwriting abolished by Obamacare would be reestablished through limiting program eligibility to those possessing insurance.
    • A single state ranking of insurance rates would supplant the current 9 areas. For instance, insurance rates in one part of MN might be 45% higher in one area compared to another. Underwriting risk would be the same for all, as mandated indemnity insurance products would make patient choice of provider a reality, while clinicians would be enabled to function outside of insurance carrier networks.
  • Congressional candidates
    • We had the very unusual fact that two Fellows were close to two US Congressional campaigns. [I inadvertently missed a portion of this part of meeting.]
    • Brief (well done) videos of candidates Kendall Qualls for the 3rd District and Tyler Kistner for the 2nd District were shown.
    • Dough Smith recounted the campaign programs of Qualls while Tim Herman did the same for Kistner—this latter election has been delayed until early2021 after the death of a 3rd (Marihuana) party candidate. Members had useful comments for each campaign.
    • Dave Feinwachs then noted that the candidates both looked appealing. He has seen no Trump yard signs suggesting that people are frightened about retaliation at their home thanks to the rioting of recent months.
      • He thought that the election would be decided by the law and order issue, the (more amorphous) issue regarding handling of the covied-19 crisis, and last, the populace desire for health care access.
      • He thought that the most important local issue this year was voter fraud in Ilhan Omar’s 5th District campaign. The non-profit organization Veritas filmed reams of video evidence showing Omar’s runners buying and harvesting ballots—a clear violation of election laws. Such illegal activities could result in her life-long exclusion from political office. The real question is, will she be prosecuted? Her past 20%  election victory margin in 2018 was unimaginable in a closely contested campaign suggesting possible past fraud as well.
  • As usual, we did not complete our agenda—we did not discuss our doctor’s clinical experiences with the Covid-19 epidemic (two of those present had been infected (1 mild the other more severe!)—see especially the MN experience summary on page 7. Many MN bills for 2021 will be seen later.
  • Next meeting: TBD
  • Our gratitude was expressed for the Zoom contribution of Chris Geist’s First Income Advisor firm and for his daughter Mara’s Zoom help during the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert W. Geist MD

About the author

Minnesota Physician-Patient Alliance

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