The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election 2012

October 10, 2012

Walz-Quist debate had its humorous moments



36 more Quist ads?

Quist debuted his second television ad of the campaign this week and it once again features an adorable granddaughter climbing a red bar-graph representing the national debt. It's Martha starring in this ad -- a different grandchild than Lucia, who climbed an even more ominous bar graph in Quist's first ad.

And the ad goes beyond debt to a central theme of the Republican's congressional campaign: that the Obamacare health care reform unfairly punishes some married couples.

"Tim Walz voted to require middle class couples to pay up to $10,425 more each year for health insurance if they are married," the announcer in the ads says, with Quist finishing with the statement: "Join me in getting rid of this marriage penalty."

The retired St. Peter farmer and former Bethany Lutheran College instructor said he discovered the penalty and eventually got others to pay attention, thanks in part to the help of Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Essentially, the health care reform would provide much higher subsidies to help cover health insurance costs to two individuals making $30,000 than it would provide to a married couple with identical incomes.

Quist believes the health reform bill intentionally aims to discourage marriage by the middle class. The Free Press requested a response from the Walz campaign but hasn't received one.

Democrats, though, have said the so-called Òmarriage penalty" simply reflects that more federal health care subsidies -- which are based on the federal poverty rate -- would accrue to lower-income singles than a higher-income married couple. To provide equal subsidies for the married couple would substantially increase the cost of the health care reform law.

Quist, by the way, is going to have to get moving if he's going to feature each of his grandchildren in a campaign ad before Nov. 6. He has 38.


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Election 2012