I often compare important issues that occur around the country to those that are critical to me as a Minnesotan. At first, I assumed nothing could be worse than taking away the rights of people to bargain fairly in order to make an honest living. After all, don’t we all want to live in a Minnesota that treats it population with respect and dignity?
It became clear to me while working on the Health Care team at TakeActionMinnesota that my tax dollars are systematically being directed not to those who need it most, but to lining the pockets of HMOs top executives. As our Governor looks for acceptable ways to deal with our state budget deficit, I want to make clear to him and our representatives to look very closely at this issue. I do not want to live in a state where a not-for-profit organization continues to fool the public into believing they are committed to healthy outcomes of those they are charged to cover, who happen to be the most vulnerable of our citizens. Instead of cutting dollars to nursing homes, community clinics and hospitals, we need to demand transparency of every transaction of those we have entrusted to deliver health care in our state. We should require HMOs to be accountable for every tax dollar they receive and to reduce the racial disparities we see as a result of their current practices. We cannot afford this form of corporate greed when so many of our neighbors, family, and friends go without essential health care.
We need a new model for high quality, accessible public health care in Minnesota! I have faith in DHS Commissioner Jesson’s acknowledgement that this should be a priority. But more – much more – is needed. After all, it is public money.
— Gene Nichols, TakeAction Minnesota Health Care Leader and Board Member