The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 12, 2009

Quist wary of government with health care

MANKATO — Allen Quist warned of a government takeover of the nation’s health-care system and a looming tax increase that will be the largest the middle class has ever seen.

On the verge of announcing a campaign against Congressman Tim Walz, Quist hosted a health care forum in Mankato — one of three across the 1st District. A St. Peter farmer, former Bethany Lutheran College professor and longtime Republican activist and candidate, Quist said the bill will inevitably lead to the end of employment-based insurance coverage.

The bill passed by House Democrats provides subsidized and extremely inexpensive insurance for the poor and middle class, Quist said. A family of four with an income of $45,000 would face an insurance bill of just $317 a year.

“Of course, I ask the question ‘Who’s paying the rest?’” he said.

The bill has income tax surcharges on individuals making more than $500,000 a year and couples earning more than $1 million, along with reductions in Medicare payments to health-care providers.

“That’s totally a smoke screen,” he said, predicting massive premium increases for upper middle-class taxpayers who don’t qualify for subsidies. “It’s the middle class that’s going to pay the bill.”

Quist, who promised to have details of his fiscal analysis of the bill on his Web site in the next five days, was joined by a Minnesota nurse who issued even more alarming warnings about the health-care reform bills before Congress.

Registered nurse Twila Brase characterized the reform effort as an “awful bill that’s going to kill a lot of people.” Brase is president of the Citizens Council on Health Care, a conservative organization based in St. Paul that opposes government involvement in health care and favors a free-market cash-based payment system.

“We’re all that stand between you and socialized medicine,” Brase told the crowd of about 40 at the Mankato Happy Chef.

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