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Sen. Franken talks health care, wind and transportation in SW Minnesota

Sen. Al Franken hit the road to southwest Minnesota Thursday — and suprise! — folks wanted to talk about health care.

The Marshall Independent says he spent the day at Southwest Minnesota State University, the Schwan Food Co. and the hospital in Dawson.

The paper said he heard from Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center President Mary Maertens, who supports health care reform but not at the expense of rural providers:

“We don’t want unintended consequences for rural health care,” Maertens said. “We don’t want a systems model that rewards only metro area hospitals.”

Franken said he agreed with those thoughts and said health care reform must be based on quality of service at an affordable cost. Minnesota already has a history of providing such care, Franken said.

He also addressed global climate change, transportation and education, the paper said.

Franken said one reason for the economic downturn is because the nation has not invested in infrastructure such as highways. While the U.S. has a significant debt, it must still invest in highways and other infrastructure projects, Franken said.

No Child Left Behind may force school districts to pay more attention to minority students and holds the district accountable, but it punishes districts instead of encouraging them to find innovative and creative ways to engage students, Franken said.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 08/21/2009 - 08:49 am.

    Al thinks SW MN is Chaska

  2. Submitted by Aaron Klemz on 08/21/2009 - 09:25 am.

    Oh, is that why he went to Marshall and Dawson, then?

  3. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 08/21/2009 - 09:42 am.

    They told him it was a USO tour.

  4. Submitted by John Roach on 08/21/2009 - 04:20 pm.


    Apparently USO tours are now fodder for derogatory comments in some circles. Franken has entertained troops on seven different tours including several to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo over the last 10 years. He also continues to visit wounded soldiers at Bethesda and Walter Reed on a regular basis.

    What a loser, eh?

  5. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/21/2009 - 05:48 pm.

    Re: Rural and small town (and big city) populations where the availability of health care services is limited due to a lack of providers or to prices that are not affordable for residents.

    Senator Franken could PLEASE support Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) amendment to the Senate bill (James Clyburn of SC has the House version) that would increase funding for “federally qualifying health centers” (community clinics) from $2 billion to $8 billion. This would allow increasing the number of clinics, which use a sliding fee scale, from 1,200 to 4,800 within the next five years.

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