LETTER: Medical assistance coverage needs to stay

Published 10:36 am Friday, March 13, 2009

As we are all painfully aware, Minnesota finds itself in a time where every Minnesotan is making sacrifices because of what “the experts” call an “economic downturn.”  I also realize that our state has to function just like the households that make its population.  That means we will have to go without some things.  To most households, that equates to less “discretionary income” now: not buying the cup of Caribou Coffee on the way to work, or not buying that new mattress set this spring, or staying close to home during vacation this year.

At the state level, if Gov. Pawlenty views Medical Assistance coverage for occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and audiology services for disabled adults as “discretionary income,” I’ll be glad to lend him a pair of my shoes and see if he can walk a mile in them.

His proposal to remove that coverage from Medical Assistance is not only thoughtless, its cruel that he’s doing it to Minnesotans who are the most vulnerable and in need of help.

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Thanks to a traumatic brain njury I received, I needed occupational therapy so I could go back to work and pay taxes again.  If it had not been for occupational therapy, I would continue to need far more assistance. In turn, that would have been far more costly to the state, wouldn’t it?

None of us likes the additional costs that happen to “pop up” in life, but sometimes we have to just bear with it, pay for it and move forward.  Gov. Pawlenty, maybe that’s something you should do.

Jeff Guckeen


(Austin native)