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COACT’s all-seasons organizing for social justice.
COACT and HCAMn members rally in January for the Minnesota
Health Plan with chief author Senator John Marty at a Martin Luther
King Day Parade in St. Paul.
COACT and HCAMn members at a June rally for the Minnesota Health
Plan at a St. Paul premier of SiCKO, the acclaimed documentary on
the nation’s failed health insurance system.
35th COACT Farm Picnic celebrates family farms and small businesses as pillars of our economy
Small Business Minnesota confirms COACT’s stand for health care reform
At the 35th Farm Picnic on August 16 in Pierz, Audrey Britton, chair of Small Business Minnesota,told the audience of 105 guests what COACT has been hearing for years from Central Minnesota business owners on main street: paying HMOs for medical care is not cost effective, public accountability is needed for tax dollars going to HMO contractors, and high deductible policies are unaffordable. Business owners are cost-efficient managers, so they expect the same from the HMOs, she said.
Small businesses and farms are not represented by the large corporations
Thom Petersen, Minnesota Farmers Union government relations director, and SBM’s Audrey Britton represented the family farm and small business pillars of our economy for cost-efficient, affordable, and publicly accountable health care delivery for all Minnesotans.
Rather than working with small businesses and family farms for affordable, universal health care, their voice has been hijacked by the National Federation of Businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S health insurance industry (the world’s most profitable), which lobby for Wall Street, not Main Street.
Feedlot industry retaliates against Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens Board for its environmental review of mega-dairy
COACT opposes legislation to silence citizens’ decision-making voice of 48 years
Following the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Citizens Board ordering an environmental review for the largest corporate dairy expansion in state history, the feedlot industry and their legislative allies retaliated with legislation this session to first silence the Board and then eliminate it.
The industry’s retaliation was triggered in August 2014 by the Citizens Board’s ordering a rigorous Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prior to permitting expansion of the state’s largest dairy corporation, Riverview LLP, in Stevens County, western Minnesota.
During its 48 years the Board has rarely ordered an EIS, but in this case the need was overwhelming.
COACT Vice President (far right) and other members rally with
Senator John Marty (center) at the MPCA June 23 to save the
Testimony from citizens and COACT convinced the Board to require the EIS in order to see how Riverview’s proposed 9200-cow expansion, largest so far, could potentially damage the area’s environment and economy. Riverview already owns six operations averaging 4,000 cows each, with the largest over 6,000, for a total of 27,000 cows concentrated in one area.
Adding 9,200 more would produce manure waste beyond the tolerance of the county’s water supply and acreage. Air and water pollution would risk public health, according to COACT’s testimony. Furthermore, COACT asked if the public will be responsible for the ensuing pollution costs of expansion, since Riverview is a Limited Liability Partnership.
COACT commends MPCA Citizens Board after fighting against the legislation that silenced it
Urges Governor to work for the Board’s restoration in 2017
The Citizens Board of the Minnesota Control Agency (MPCA) may be down, but not out. Although legislation by big ag, big mining, and their legislative allies may have knocked it down, it can come back, according to COACT testimony at the Board’s final hearing at MPCA June 23.
At the hearing, former Governor Wendell Anderson thanks COACT
farm leader Stephanie Henriksen for fighting for the Citizens Board,
which Governor Mark Dayton promised after the contentious
Special Session to work to restore in the 2017 legislative session.
Following a rally at the Governor’s Mansion May 21, Gov. Dayton
vetoed elimination of the Citizens Board on May 23. He then used
his executive power to make it an advisory committee to the MPCA
Commissioner until its EIS authority can be re-legislated in the 2017
First step to federal waiver for MN Health Plan
Marty-Laine legislative plan will give us “state’s right” to single payer
The first step was taken this session for Minnesota to get the federal waiver, under Obamacare, which will allow the state to enact the single-payer Minnesota Health Plan (MHP).
For any proposal to be considered for the waiver, Senator John Marty and Representative Carolyn Laine, chief authors of the MHP, introduced legislation in the 2015 session setting the principles that all state health program proposals must meet. They include affordability for all, cost savings, provider choice, comprehensive care, and public accountability. This is step 1 in their overall legislative plan for Minnesota to get the waiver in 2017 for which COACT is working to get public support.
Representative John Lesch (center), confers with COACT Vice President Charlie Quick (left) and Executive Director Don Pylkkanen January 13 on the Marty-Laine waiver legislative plan following the December 15 Civil Law Committee hearing on HMOs’ hidden spending practices
Marty-Laine waiver legislative plan
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) allows states to apply for a State Innovation Waiver (section 1332) in 2017 to create their own health care programs. Basically, the state program must cover as many people as affordably and comprehensively as the Affordable Care Act and cannot add to the federal deficit.
Being single-payer, the Minnesota Health Plan is far superior in meeting these basics.
Doctor, farmer, candidate voice state’s right to single-payer health care and standing up to corporate power at COACT’s 34th Farm Picnic
“As a family physician, my heart breaks whenever an HMO or insurance company tells me I can’t give medically necessary care to a patient because they lack coverage,” Dr. Laurel Gamm, MD, Co-Chair of Physicians for a National Health Program Minnesota (PNHP-MN) told an audience of 103 people at COACT’s 34th Farm Picnic, August 17, in the central Minnesota farm community of Pierz.
Standing up to corporate power in our lives, whether it’s HMOs profiteering on our health care or factory agriculture degrading the land and rural economy, was addressed by Paul Sobocinski, family farmer and organizer for the Land Stewardship Project (LSP).
“Minnesota’s Corporate Farm Law mandates the protection of family farms and rural society which are being threatened by expanding multi-thousand cow factory dairies,” he said.
Al Doty, House District 9 B Candidate and long-time champion for family farmers and single-payer, pledged that, as their state representative, he will support their positions on these issues and Minnesota’s right to enact a single-payer health program. He will work for the Minnesota Health Plan to achieve it, he promised, which won COACT’s enthusiastic endorsement.