Unfortunately, this is one of the longest, most unhappy, most frustrating articles I’ve written to date. It’s about Governor Pawlenty’s unhealthy plans to cut services that keep people happy, healthy and alive.
Thanks to the World Wide Web, I procured a copy of the governor’s health care cuts and their specific breakdown according to area.
*note: The original story based on what I found was so long and depressing that our wise editors moved the unabridged cut-by-cut analysis to another page.
While the cuts are complicated and paradoxical, I’ll keep in the Minnesota 2020 tradition of explaining this complex issue in an intelligent and understandable manner so that all Minnesotans can join in an informed debate. After all, the easier an injustice is to understand, the easier it is to get upset and rally for a better solution.
Here’s a look at a few key points that demonstrate the slippery slope Pawlenty has created:
Ending GAMC by March 2010 + Reworking MnCare = Those without trying to do without
You’ve done everything right, pulled yourself out of a pretty scary financial hole, and have started easing off General Assistance Medical Care. It will take a few more steps to be able to qualify for MinnesotaCare, the state’s low-income health insurance. In the meantime, there’s transitional MnCare. Except that it will take another year. And within that year, GAMC will be gone, a month earlier than you expected. So you have to hustle to move to transitional MnCare, along with everyone else that had GAMC. It gets a little more complicated than that, but the basic idea is there’s little hope for covering people trying to move out of poverty.
General and Emergency Assistance cuts + Dietary spending cuts + Reduced access to specialists = More people lining up at the least cost effective option, emergency rooms
The poorest of the poor are getting a particularly bad hand these days. Not only do they no longer have dental care, they have less access to specialists in the ER, less help to pay for it and less help paying for preventative methods.
We should just put our disenfranchised population on a bus to Wisconsin. With our neighbor to the east actually funding more health care initiatives and owing us money, it’s the least the Badger State can do. Hey Wisconsin! Think of it as interest on the money we’re asking for immediately!
Major cuts to nursing care = Grandma is on her own
Not everyone in Minnesota cares about our elderly. How do I know that? Let’s look at the unallotment proposals. Less money for residential homes, nursing facilities, and continuing care means less room for our elders. So they’ll have to live at home. Except we’ve already reduced Personal Care Attendants’ hours to 350 a month, about 11.5 hours a day. That’s waaaay too much help for the elderly, don’t you think? Let’s reduce it to 9 hours a day, about 275 a month. If grandma wants to get sick, she better do it between 9 and 6.
Slashes to Mental Health Grants + Restructured State Operated Services (SOS) + Reduce MnDHO Rates = Those most in need of help better find someone else
The disabled population of Minnesota better prepare itself because the state is now going to cutout the rate adjustment for where people live, the services that are provided, and the people who help them live productive lives. Perhaps every disabled individual can find an elderly person to live with and combine what meager services they have left.
Cap Chemical Dependency Payment Rates + Restructure State Operated Services = People struggling with addictions needing to travel farther for less services
When people are upset, not all of them turn to a strict regimen of yoga and meditation. Many turn to more sinister substances. So, we should definitely cut funds to some counties running chemical dependency programs and cap the rate for the cost of treatment. Oh, and take many of the community programs out and condense them into more spread out areas around the state. Because everyone wants people struggling with drug dependency to have to work harder with less to be more productive citizens, right? No? Well, too bad.
All of the above = The “Minnesota Miracle” as a distant memory
When all these cuts happen, we’ll all feel it. It will hurt our pocketbooks; it will hurt our quality of care. Heck, at some point, it will hurt our quantity of life.
As dozens of people have pointed out, Minnesota is poised to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, elderly,and disenfranchised. Unless a leprechaun points the way to a magic rainbow, that’s our reality come July. Is this the foundation on which we want Minnesota’s future to be built? Is this the legacy we want to leave for the next generation? Can we bare our children’s ridicule when they mock how we turned the “Minnesota Miracle” into the “Minnesota Mortification”?
Are you angry? Ashamed? I hope you’re ready to mobilize?
No matter what, we need to make sure our Minnesota convictions come through. In the end, our greatest assets are our tenacity, steadfastness, and belief that the next generation should NOT pay for the mistakes of its elders.
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