For more information contact: DJ Danielson 651-296-8879
Late last month, Lt. Gov Tina Smith came to Duluth to hold a town hall meeting to talk about affordable health care for Minnesotans. The focus of the meeting was the MinnesotaCare Buy-In, a proposal in which Minnesotans could take advantage of premiums lower than those available on the commercial market without any ongoing subsidy from taxpayers. Participants also included Sen. Tony Lourey, Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper, physicians and other health care professionals.
For over 25 years, MinnesotaCare has provided quality health insurance to low-income Minnesotans. Folks enrolled can take advantage of a vast network of providers all across the state. Opening this up to all Minnesotans, who would pay the full premium, is a common-sense idea to both lower costs and improve access.
This past session, the legislature passed measures pushed by Republicans which don’t address the problems of rising health insurance premiums. One of these was a $542 million handout to insurance companies with the hope that they would then keep premiums down. Another was to allow for-profit health insurance companies to operate in Minnesota. Traditionally, these have been prevented in Minnesota because we value our money being used for health care, not profit. We’re already seeing companies shift money from their reserves, meant to lower premiums, to their for-profit accounts.
Giveaways to corporations aren’t the answer to rising health insurance premiums. Instead, I’ll keep fighting for innovative, people-focused ideas like the MinnesotaCare Buy-In.
MNsure open enrollment
Speaking of health insurance, on November 1, MNsure’s annual open enrollment period began. Whether you get coverage from a public plan like MinnesotaCare of Medical Assistance, or a qualified commercial plan, MNsure.org is your “one stop shop” to compare plans and apply for coverage. Applying through MNsure is also the only way to take advantage of tax credits toward your premiums that may be available.
Open enrollment ends January 14. For a plan that starts on January 1, you have until December 20 to enroll. Insure Duluth has trained navigators available to assist if you experience any difficulty with this process, and my office is certainly available to provide help as well, so don’t hesitate to contact me.
On Saturday, November 18, I’m participating in a forum titled “Healthcare 2017: The Basics.” I’ll be leading a discussion on the economics of American health care and joining me will be retired physician Dr. Patrick Schoenfelder and Michael Mahoney, Vice President for Public Policy at Essentia Health. The event will be in the Fellowship Hall at Peace United Church of Christ (1111 N 11th Ave E) from9:00 a.m.- noon. It is open to the public, and more information can be found here.
On Thursday, December 7, Prof. Jane Kirtley, Director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the U of M will give a presentation at UMD titled “Making the News or Faking the News?: the State of the First Amendment in 2017.” This will be an in-depth look at changes in the media and how news is delivered, especially with the proliferation of “fake news” websites.
The event is from 5:00-7:30 p.m. in Room 90 of Bohannon Hall at UMD (1207 Ordean Court, Duluth). It is free and open to the public.
Sexual Harassment at the Capitol
Last week, allegations came to light of sexual harassment and assault occurring at and around the Capitol. Whether serving as an elected official, running for office, or working as a staff member or a lobbyist, no woman should ever be expected to have to endure this reprehensible behavior. I commend these women for sharing their stories on their terms and bringing what has long been a quiet undercurrent at the Capitol out into the open. This behavior doesn’t fall along partisan lines, nor is it limited to the Legislature.
While I’m pleased that mandatory training will be required of lawmakers when the next session starts, this simply is not sufficient. We should be creating environments in all workplaces where women are empowered to speak up when this happens without fear of reprisal, political or otherwise. It must also be expected of men to call out this behavior when they witness it and put an immediate stop to it.
The culture around state government must change. Women will no longer tolerate harassment or inappropriate behavior from men. It gives me hope to see women and men supporting women who have been victims of harassment. The power dynamic is changing and will continue to change as we elect and promote more women to positions of power.
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