Jesse Ventura on Health Care

Former Independent MN Governor

Individual responsibility for unhealthy lifestyle choices

Individual citizens must play a much larger role in their own health. People should have a greater array of choices and a larger say in how health services are delivered. And we all must take more responsibility for the choices we make about health risk behaviors. The choices we make matter profoundly when it comes to health care. Lifestyle choices directly determine a large percentage -- maybe even the majority -- of all health care spending. A health system built for the future needs to promote and reward healthy choices. We must also become more mindful of how we use health care services. The “entitlement” mindset for many people today is to demand and use health care services without regard to cost because they feel it is their “due”... All of us need to understand the economic stake we have in the overall consumption of health services. If we all shared more of the economic responsibility, we’d probably also demand better value for our investment.
Source: The Big Plan: Self-Sufficient People Dec 10, 2000

Focus on prevention, children, and results

There are still too many uninsured Minnesotans, including approximately 70,000 children. The uninsured either go without care and compromise their health, or they get care in the most uneconomical ways -- ultimately paid for by insured citizens and taxpayers. Not only is this system uneconomical, but it is increasingly fragile, with the safety net at risk of collapse as health care institutions are financially squeezed.

We need a broad-based community dialogue in order to develop a common view of what we want out of our health system, and more consensus about how to get it. The health system must invest more heavily in and reward prevention, not just treatment. We must help refocus the system on producing better health status for all Minnesotans, not just on producing more and costlier services that fewer and fewer people can afford. We need a vision of a new health system built not for the last 50 years, but for the next 50 years.

Source: The Big Plan: Self-Sufficient People Dec 10, 2000

Supports “Minnesota Care”; tax to pay for uninsured

I believe that it’s the government’s job to step in when an individual can’t afford his or her own health care. We have a pretty decent system here in Minnesota, called Minnesota Care. It pays the medical bills for people who can’t afford them with money that it raises from a small tax on everybody else’s medical bills.

But the more we as a society can do on the end of prevention, the less any of us will have to spend on medical care. We need to make better choices regarding our health.

Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.139 Jul 2, 2000

No national care, but pure capitalism can’t work

I don’t support nationalized health care. I think any time you get a system where there’s only one provider, you get corruption. Competition creates better service and keeps prices down.

By its very nature, medical care can’t be a purely capitalist venture. If it becomes only about making money, we get to the point where we’re messing with people’s lives and health just to make a buck. We do need to have some kind of regulation or watchdogging system in place to keep HMOs from getting out of hand.

Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.138-9 Jul 2, 2000

Comment “suicides are weak” meant “don’t encourage them”

I’m not disparaging suicides when I call them weak, I’m pointing out that anybody who would consider doing a thing like that needs help. I don’t think a normal, mentally healthy person commits suicide. Of course, there are exceptions; people who are terminally ill are a different issue. But in the vast majority of cases, suicide is a tragedy that does unbelievable damage to the family and friends the suicide leaves behind. You don’t want to encourage people to do such a thing.
Source: Ain’t Got Time To Bleed, p.291 Jan 1, 1999

Government interference should be kept to a minimum

Government interference should be kept to a minimum. The government and insurance companies should not be telling physicians how to practice. What works for some may not work for others. If there are cases where a new treatment works, by curing a patient or adding significant amounts of time to their life, the treatment may no longer be experimental.

Minnesota Care has been good for the children in our state. We should make stronger efforts to identify the children who are eligible to be in the system, but are currently without healthcare. The State should also be paying for immunization shots for children to immunize them against communicable diseases such as chicken pox, whooping cough and the flu.

Source: 1998 campaign web site, jesseVentura.org/98campaign Nov 1, 1998

Premise of the tobacco lawsuit wrong; it punishes victims

The entire premise of the tobacco lawsuit was wrong. Minnesota has been taxing the tobacco industry for years. Instead of banning the tobacco, we continued to make money by taxing it, while we sued the companies for the physical harm the tobacco caused. When the case was settled, the tobacco companies promptly raised their prices to an amount that allowed them to make even more money. The end result is that the persons who are addicted to tobacco, the victims, are now paying for the settlement.

In regard to the actual settlement, I believe the money should be spent on programs that will help prevent people from ever starting to smoke, some that will assist people to stop smoking and some that will provide healthcare assistance to those who are physically suffering from the effects of smoking.

Source: Questionnaire from the Coalition of Black Churches Aug 29, 1998

No federal pre-emption of employee health plan regulation.

Ventura adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

In 1999, 42.6 million Americans did not have health insurance. All states have been fervently working to reduce the number of uninsured Americans, to make health insurance more affordable and secure, and to provide quality health care at a reasonable cost to the uninsured. However, the federal government has also expressed an interest in this issue. Any action taken at the federal level could have serious implications for traditional state authority to regulate the health insurance industry and protect consumers.

NGA’s Position

Although the Governors are extremely sensitive to the concerns of large multi-state employers, the fact remains that the complete federal preemption of state laws relating to employee health plans in the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is the greatest single barrier to many state reform and patient protection initiatives.

The Governors support efforts designed to enable small employers to join together to participate more effectively in the health insurance market. In fact, Governors have taken the lead in facilitating the development of such partnerships and alliances. However, these partnerships must be carefully structured and regulated by state agencies in order to protect consumers and small businesses from fraud and abuse and underinsurance. NGA opposes attempts to expand federal authority under ERISA. The Governors have identified the prevention of such federal legislation in the 107th Congress as a top legislative priority.

States have the primary responsibility for health insurance regulation. Across the nation, Governors are working to protect consumers and patients and to properly regulate the complicated health insurance industry.

Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA13 on Oct 5, 2001

Maintain Medicare funding of HMO benefits.

Ventura signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:

Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on Medicare Equity 99-MGC2 on Oct 14, 1999

Protect state tobacco settlement funds from federal seizure.

Ventura adopted a letter to Congressional leaders from 53 Governors:

As you know, preserving and protecting the state tobacco settlement funds is the nation’s Governors’ highest priority. We strongly urge you to reach final agreement and pass the conference report on the emergency supplemental appropriations bill soon, and to retain the Senate provision that protects our settlement funds from federal seizure.

Many of our state legislatures are currently in session, and some have already completed work on their budgets. Therefore, it is critical that conferees reach agreement quickly on this issue. Governors are unified in their commitment to ensuring that the funds remain in the states and that there be no restrictions on states’ ability to tailor spending to meet the needs of their citizens.

We offer our strongest support for conferees to recede to the Senate version of the bill containing the Hutchison/Graham bipartisan tobacco recoupment protection legislation.

Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 99-NGA31 on Apr 14, 1999

Other candidates on Health Care: Jesse Ventura on other issues:
MN Gubernatorial:
Tim Pawlenty
MN Senatorial:
Al Franken
Amy Klobuchar
Dean Barkley
James Niemackl
Michael Cavlan
Norm Coleman

2008 Senate retirements:

Wayne Allard(R,CO)
Larry Craig(R,ID)
Pete Domenici(R,NM)
Chuck Hagel(R,NE)
Trent Lott(R,MS)
Craig Thomas(R,WY)
John Warner(R,VA)

Incoming Obama Administration:

Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
State:Hillary Clinton
HHS:Tom Daschle
Staff:Rahm Emanuel
DHS:Janet Napolitano
DOC:Bill Richardson
DoD:Robert Gates
A.G.:Eric Holder
Treas.:Tim Geithner
Winners of 2008 Senate Races:
( * if new to the Senate)
AK:*Begich over Stevens
DE:Biden and Kaufman
GA:Chambliss v.Martin (Dec. 2 runoff)
MN:Coleman v.Franken (recounting as of Dec.1)
NC:*Hagan over Dole
NH:*Shaheen over Sununu
OR:*Merkley over Smith
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Page last updated: Dec 02, 2008