More health care reform needed

Published 9:51 am Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I appreciate how Minnesota legislators and the governor came together this spring with a solution for providing medical care for the poorest adults in our state through the GAMC program. I know the plan was not perfect, it strains hospitals, particularly rural ones, and folks in rural areas may have to travel a long distance, but at least they were able to pass a bill that is important for many low income adults.

Now let’s consider others in Minnesota needing health care. Many have no coverage because they cannot afford the premiums, such as farmers who work daily with dangerous machinery, families with children, juggling two jobs and school, underemployed and self-employed service workers, small businesses just hanging on financially and others who need a plan.

If you can work on addressing GAMC, you can fix health care for those underinsured or without it. Yes, a federal bill for health insurance reform has passed nationally, but Minnesota can opt up and do better with its own plan that would cover everyone and control cost.

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I worked for 18 years without health coverage before I was eligible to sign up for Medicare; 18 years worrying if I would be injured or get seriously ill and no way to pay the bills. I was lucky — many are not. Kids break arms, parents get serious diseases, farmers get injured. Skilled, hard-working people lose their jobs and their health care.

We need more movement, commitment, cooperation, and solutions. This fall, as we chose our next state leaders, we need leaders who will commit to advance health care reform for all Minnesotans. Minnesota would be stronger and healthier with a decent health care system.

We know it’s possible. We need one plan, with one payer, and all of us in the pool together. It makes sense. We do it for Medicare, why not do it for all Minnesotans?