Why we need universal, single-payer health care: One MN story


The Pioneer Press Watchdog continues with part three of four in a wrenching look at one family’s odyssey through the patchwork of state and federal healthcare and disability programs. Broke from previous medical bills, still suffering from cancer, unable to work only part-time, Linda Powis earned $1,000 a month — that’s too much for GAMC, the program that Governor Pawlenty said he will abolish next year. So Powis had to come up with a $100 monthly premium for MinnesotaCare, the program that’s supposed to help poor Minnesotans. And then there was the fight over whether either program would cover the treatment necessary to save her eyesight. Program rules seemed so confusing that not even staff could sort them out.

But on at least two instances, Department of Human Services staffers contradicted each other on information: whether eye medication keeping Linda from losing her sight was covered by state insurance (Smigielski says staff members “worked diligently” on this issue), and whether her [disabled] partner, Don Gunnon, was covered by a free state health plan. And that was after the department knew the Pioneer Press was planning to write a story about the way it dealt with Linda’s problem.

I’m a news junkie, and I read news reports from dozens of sources every day. News Day is my blog, and in it, I summarize, link to, and comment on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to Minnesota news.
– Mary Turck