For what it's worth, Rep. Fran Bradley did do one good thing (and probably only one!), he got Shelley Madore to run for office.
According to the Star Tribune today, Rep. Fran Bradley, who won his last election by only 311 votes against DFLer Kim Norton, will not seek reelection in 2006. In the article by Dane Smith, Bradley says that "DFLers are making inroads in the Rochester area, once considered solid GOP territory."
As chairperson of the Health and Human Services committee, he was a major player responsible for the 2002 state budget cuts that have hurt so many families, especially those with children with disabilities. One of his most famous remarks, one that prompted me to get back into politics, was regarding state supplemental insurance program payments. Raising TEFRA fees was a primary objective for the 2002 budget session. I remember the quote being "Paying for this service is like my kid playing hockey, as a family you have to decide what your priorities are." This was the most ignorant and disrespectful statement I had ever heard, blaming families for needing extra help to keep their kids out of hospitals or state run facilities.
For those of you who don't know about this program, here is some detail. Parents can obtain this supplemental policy for additional coverage for medical supplies and services that their disabled children need to remain in their home. Oftentimes, the child's medical needs are not met by general employer based programs or the coverage is minimal. This policy is paid through TEFRA, a federal program that allows parents to buy into Medicaid services. The fees for this program have skyrocketed and many families cannot afford to provide the services for their children and look for help through the counties, school districts or just go without. Remember, this policy is supplemental to general employer based coverage. The fees run about $200 to $400 a month generally, although I have heard from families where the fees are several hundred dollars a month.
Many families have had their state refunds withheld because they just cannot afford to pay the TEFRA fee. Imagine your family being asked to pay for increased employer based insurance plans and then another $400 a month so your child could get coverage for his/her medical supplies, physical therapy or medications not covered by the employer plan.
Remember too that we have not yet provided coverage to the 40,000 folks taken out of the Minnesota Care program in 2002. The budget just passed in this session only stopped more people from being cut.
Another reason to vote for real change in leadership on November 7th.