Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Proposed dramatic Medicaid cuts threaten important Minnesota values

REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Minnesotans’ commitment to caring for one another — especially the sick, the disabled and children — is a value threatened by the U.S. House and Senate’s proposed dramatic cuts to Medicaid and caps on spending to the tune of $800 billion dollars. In just the first 18 months of implementation, $2 billion in cuts would affect Minnesotans accessing the program and our entire state. We all should be concerned.

Everyone benefits

Bharti Wahi
Bharti Wahi

Medicaid benefits all of us. Even if you’re not a child with cerebral palsy, a working parent earning minimum wage, or a retired engineer who spent all of your assets on nursing home care and Medicaid is your lifeline, you reap the benefits of the program that more than 50 years ago promised the Minnesota value of caring for the most vulnerable.

The cuts to Medicaid would impact our entire health care system. Medicaid keeps the doors open at rural and community hospitals and clinics, providing access to care for all community members. Medicaid creates stable jobs for your neighbors who provide high-quality care. Medicaid drives down health care costs by reining in losses from uncompensated care. Medicaid is the health care safety net for all workers in case of job loss or unforeseen disability due to accident or injury.

Importantly, Medicaid also benefits our babies and our children whose health and development is critical to the future of our state. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, 45,000 more Minnesota children have health insurance – a historic increase of nearly 60 percent. This increase was across races, ethnicities and geographic regions of the state, was even greater in many rural Minnesota counties, and was driven by increased access and participation in Medicaid, called Medical Assistance (MA) in Minnesota.

Improved child outcomes

One-third of all Minnesota children are covered by Medical Assistance, including nearly half of all babies born in Minnesota. Families with children make up 64 percent of total MA enrollment in the state, and are cost effective to cover since they only account for 24 percent of the MA expenses. Moreover, research has demonstrated that the program reaps long-term cost savings in improved child outcomes not only in health, but in increased academic success, improved behavior, and increased college entrance and degree attainment. We can’t afford to cut Medicaid because its benefits are too vital to the success of our children.

Dr. Mike Severson
Dr. Mike Severson

Minnesotans’ ingenuity and commitment to caring for one another has made us a leader in providing access to health coverage and care for all our citizens, especially our children. We can’t let these proposed cuts get in the way of this commitment, so we must all take action to protect Medicaid.

Minnesotans must contact their U.S. representatives and senators now and ask them to protect Medicaid and urge their family and friends in other states to do so as well. Our collective future health depends on it.

Bharti Wahi is the executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN). Dr. Mike Severson is a pediatrician, CDF-MN Advisory Board chair, and former president of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, see our Submission Guidelines.)

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 07/11/2017 - 01:04 pm.

    Obamacare’s failure

    You also need to address the plight of those who are forced to purchase the prescribed and approved Obamacare “collective” insurance package and are fined if you cannot afford this insurance.

    Others have health insurance but can barely afford the “huge” increase in premiums but do not have healthcare because they cannot afford the “huge” increase in deductibles.

    Others are on there 3rd or 4th primary care Doctor. All these are issues that were promised to be solved under Obamacare but have failed to be true under the current plan. These issues need to be addressed as well as the “children’s’ issues.”

    As advocates of the status quo – how you will address these additional issues will be interesting – since you advocacy of Obamacare is failing so many.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/11/2017 - 07:43 pm.

      These Are Easily Fixable

      In fact, if our Republican “friends” in congress had not already done everything in their power after the ACA was passed to undermine it,…

      and were not now so determined to give their wealthy friends a giant wet sloppy kiss of a tax cut by wiping out the ACA-supporting taxes they now pay,…

      and can WELL afford without missing a penny of it,…

      the tweaks the ACA needs in order to avoid the problems you describe could be easily accomplished.

      Who knows, when the Republicans finally get sick of foundering around trying to find a replacement for Obamacare that the two opposite sides of their coalition are willing to support,…

      and that won’t cost them the next several elections,…

      it’s even possible they’ll get together with willing Democrats,…

      FIX what needs to be repaired in the ACA,…

      so that, with the fixes, the NEW ACA lives up to Trump’s campaign promises

      give it a new name,…

      and thereby increase the chance of the Republicans not getting slaughtered in the election of 2018,…

      (but I’m not holding my breath).

  2. Submitted by Barbara Boldenow on 07/11/2017 - 05:42 pm.

    Obamacare is far from perfect

    The only decent, humane and sensible answer to the healthcare crisis in this country is Medicare (with improvements) for All. We need dental, vision and hearing covered too. It will cost less and cover everyone. It is past time to catch up with the rest of the civilized world.
    People complain about taxes going up under universal healthcare. The tax fees will be far less that the premiums are now. The insurance companies, middle man markup, must be eliminated. Have you seen what insurance company’s executive branches make a year?
    The Democrats could be smart for a change and start demanding this loud, clear and constantly. Right now they are sitting on their corporate donations instead.

    • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 07/12/2017 - 09:39 am.

      Once again….

      Please have your DFL senator advocate your plan.

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 07/12/2017 - 11:58 am.

      Per usual

      liberal mis-statements, lack of facts and context. Insurance companies and their costs are not the obstacle to single payer. For those carriers who are for profit (those in small group and individual plans in MN are not) their profits and salaries are miniscul compared to the total cost of the claims they administrate. An insured pays 2% of their premium maybe to cover those costs, maybe. Hardly a fix for the insured.

      Costs to administrate medicare are under stated, they are less than an insurance company, but not nearly what lefties make the difference to be. Add in $64 billion a year in Medicare fraud and you have trouble on your hands.

      The health care industry itself is your obstacle. They will not go for a medicare fee scale for all, not even close. They have both parties in their back pocket, that is your problem, not insurance companies.

Leave a Reply