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Health systems’ Medicare decision could mean big changes for more than 10,000 Minnesotans

Plus: Legal Marijuana Now party names new candidate in race for 2nd Congressional District; two U of M researchers awarded MacArthur Foundation “genius grants”; Wisconsin governor issues new order limiting size of indoor gatherings; and more.

doctor's office
REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Star Tribune story by Christopher Snowbeck says, “One of the state’s largest Medicare Advantage insurers says M Health Fairview and CentraCare are opting out of the health plan’s network next year, a shift that could force more than 10,000 Minnesotans to either change insurers or pay more of out of pocket to see their doctors. Humana Inc., the Kentucky-based insurance giant, says it recently received word that the health systems starting next year intend to leave the company’s Medicare Advantage network. Networks are important in Medicare Advantage plans because patients typically pay more out of pocket if they want to visit an out-of-network doctor or hospital.”

The AP reports: “The Legal Marijuana Now Party has nominated Paula Overby to run in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District after candidate Adam Weeks died last month, according to a court document filed Tuesday. Weeks’ Sept. 21 death triggered a Minnesota law that moved the election to February. … News of Overby’s nomination came in a court filing Tuesday in which Legal Marijuana Now Party co-chairman Tim Davis opposed a November election, saying a special election in February would give his party time to get issues before voters. Under Minnesota law, if a major party nominee dies within 79 days of Election Day, a special election must be held for that office on the second Tuesday in February.”

The Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh writes: “Two University of Minnesota researchers have each been awarded “genius grants” of $625,000 from the MacArthur Foundation. The no-strings-attached fellowships announced Tuesday went to cognitive neuroscientist Damien Fair, chemical engineer Paul Dauenhauer and 19 others from across the country. … Fair is director of the U’s Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain …The foundation praised Dauenhauer, a professor in the U’s College of Science and Engineering Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, for developing new technologies toward converting renewable, organic materials into chemicals used in products such as plastics, rubber and detergents.”

WCCO-TV reports: “St. Paul police are investigating a shooting Tuesday involving teenagers in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood. Police spokesperson Mike Ernster says officers were called to the 1000 block of York Avenue at about 3:30 p.m., where they encountered an 18-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to Regions Hospital, and is expected to survive. A 17-year-old boy arrived at Regions soon after with a gunshot wound to the arm. Police arrested another 17 year old at the hospital, who they say was aiding an offender.”

An AP story says, “Gov. Tony Evers’ administration issued a new order Tuesday limiting the size of public indoor gatherings as COVID-19 spreads unchecked across the state, in a move certain to alienate Republicans as well as tavern and restaurant owners. Wisconsin has become one of the worst hot spots for the disease over the last month, with experts attributing the spike in cases to colleges and schools reopening and general fatigue about wearing masks and social distancing.”

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The Forum News Service’s Matt Henson writes: “Steve and Diane Christianson celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary Wednesday, Sept. 30. Two days later, a drive through town cost them their lives. A police chase through Fergus Falls, Minn., ended Friday when the driver fleeing police collided with the vehicle driven by the Christiansons, killing both of them. Two deputies involved in the chase are on administrative leave and the person they were chasing is hospitalized and awaiting potential charges.”

Says Paul Huttner for MPR, “Our mild weather pattern lasts through the upcoming weekend. The jet stream forecast maps for this weekend look more typical of the Minnesota State Fair in late August. The jet lifts north into Canada once again, and warmer air filters into Minnesota. … There are signs today that the jet stream may dive into the Upper Midwest next week bringing much colder air.”

The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson says, “Minnesota’s COVID-19 dashboard reported Tuesday that a new high of 38% of confirmed novel coronavirus infections came from unknown community sources. The rate is above Minnesota’s goal of no more than 30%, meaning the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spreading beyond the state’s ability to track it and contain it. … Unknown community transmission is the most common determination of a lab-confirmed infection, meaning that a person tested positive but couldn’t identify who might have been the source of the virus.”

The Associated Press’s Mark Kennedy reports: “Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65. A person close to Van Halen’s family confirmed the rocker died Tuesday due to cancer. The person was not authorized to publicly release details in advance of an official announcement.”

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