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PNS Daily Newscast - August 12, 2020 

Former VP Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate; some schools have science-based metrics for open classroom instruction.

2020Talks - August 12, 2020 

California Sen. Kamala Harris will be on the ticket with Joe Biden in November. Four states had primaries yesterday, and two had runoffs. Georgia and Wisconsin appear to have improved since last time.

Minnesota Gets an Earful of the Health Care Reform Debate

August 19, 2009

MANKATO, Minn. - On Tuesday, Minnesotans had a chance to hear the latest on healthcare reform directly from a Cabinet-level member of the Obama administration. Hundreds of people listened to comments from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in a statewide "tele-town-hall" conference organized by First District Congressman Tim Walz (DFL-Mankato).

In the current healthcare system, Sebelius told them, the odds are tilted in favor of the insurance industry because insurance providers can legally limit coverage to those who are least likely to get sick.

"If you are self-employed, if you want to switch jobs, if you're an early retiree, if you're a recent college graduate - you're often at the mercy of somebody who wants to know if you have any kind of illness in your background."

Participants' questions ranged from how to provide fairness and competition in any new healthcare system, to whether members of Congress would be included in the revisions. They also were curious about what role the federal government should have in a "public option" healthcare delivery system, and in end-of-life issues.

In Walz's opinion, current regulations are especially unfair to small businesses, which often have a difficult time keeping pace with healthcare costs.

"What's in this bill is permanent tax credits for small businesses. You are at such a disadvantage - 18 percent higher in your premium costs than larger firms - again, you're discriminated against on this. Twenty-five percent more in processing costs. So, what this does is offer tax credits, help you pay for insurance."

There have been dozens of forums around the country this summer to focus on healthcare reform. Congress is expected to consider various proposals when it returns after Labor Day.

Walz says he'd like to see all members of Congress be included in whatever new health plan emerges. He has scheduled a public town hall meeting on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 6:00 p.m. at Mankato East High School. Senator Amy Klobuchar will host a live statewide tele-town-hall on Sunday, Aug. 23, at Mayo Clinic at 7:00 p.m.

Jim Wishner, Public News Service - MN