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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published June 30 2012

Davis: Health care dispute still far from over

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House minority leader declared that the U.S. Supreme Court settled “once and for all” the federal health care law dispute.

The state’s senior U.S. senator said the court put “the law above politics.”

Yes and no. It is a complex issue, and one that is far from over, especially in the political arena.

Health care politics will continue. Soon after the high court ruled, it became obvious that leaving the Democratic-backed Affordable Care Act fully intact invigorated Republicans to fight even harder for its repeal.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., issued the statement saying the court put priority on the law. That is true, but for good or bad, politics will dominate the discussion.

Here are other Supreme Court ruling tidbits:

• Former U.S. Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota, a Mitt Romney presidential campaign adviser, said the decision should send Americans a message, “We now know this is the new law unless we elect a new president.”

• The Obama administration said Minnesotans will receive

$9 million in rebates from insurance companies this year under the new law. The law requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care, and those that do not meet that figure must provide rebates.

• U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told CNN that allowing the health care law to remain on the books will turn the United States into an economic Greece.

• A panel led by Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson faces a Dec. 1 deadline to present recommendations to Dayton and legislators about what the state should do to implement the federal law.

• Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and President Barack Obama both voted against John Roberts’ confirmation as chief justice when they were Democratic senators. Roberts, backed by Republicans, was the key vote in favor of the Obama-pushed and Dayton-supported health care law.

Fake court texts

Court officials warn Minnesotans that some people have received fake text messages claiming they could pay $500 to quash a warrant.

Officials say anyone who gets the messages should contact their local sheriff’s office.

The texts were being sent from Steele County, in southeastern Minnesota.

Courts have not used texting or emailing for serious matters, usually relying on the mail or, rarely, the telephone.

In 2005, the courts received reports of people calling Minnesotans about allegedly failing to show up for jury duty, a ruse to get information such as Social Security and credit card numbers.

Minnesotans conserve

Energy conservation programs work, the Minnesota Commerce Department reports.

The department says state-mandated conservation resulted in gas and electric utilities implementing measures that will save $2.6 billion over 15 years.

The conservation also resulted in cutting nearly 820,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

E-health increases

More than half of adult Minnesota Internet users go online for health-related issues, Connect Minnesota says.

Known as E-health, those visits may involve researching medical information or communicating with health care professions.

Said Connect Minnesota State Program Manager William Hoffman: “Health care providers and consumers are relying on the Internet for an increasing array of services and information and this trend will likely increase as more Minnesotans have access to higher speed broadband service.”

Davis works for Forum Communications. He can be reached at (651) 290-0707 or ddavis@forumcomm.com