TakeAction Minnesota’s health care team doesn’t just work on health care. This fall, the team is also working hard to defeat the Voter Restriction Amendment, an Amendment that would take decision-making power of the hands of Minnesotans and eliminate the voice of people like us in critical decisions. Every week we’re knocking on doors and making phone calls because the future of health care reform will suffer if more of us are cut out of our Democracy.
This winter, when the legislature returns, lawmakers will face two major choices about public health care in our state: whether or not to expand Minnesota’s Medical Assistance (or Medicaid) Program, and whether or not to save Minnesota Care. By taking expanding Medicaid, Minnesota could provide affordable, high-quality health insurance to 57,000 more people in our state,funded 100% by the federal government for the first three years and 95% after that.
Legislators will also face a choice about the future of the MinnesotaCare program (MN Care). MN Care is a pillar of Minnesota’s strong public health care system, a program that provides health care to 148,000 low-and-moderate income Minnesotans who need protection and support in order to find affordable health care coverage. In January, legislators will choose either to save and expand MN Care by creating what’s called a Basic Health Plan or they will choose to eliminate the program and move adults off Minnesota Care and onto the private insurance market. Creating this kind of “VoucherCare” system would double or even triple the cost of insurance for many current MN Care recipients and would be a step toward destroying the public health care infrastructure we have worked so hard to create and protect in this state.
The choice to expand Medical Assistance and to save and expand MinnesotaCare through a Basic Health Plan is a choice to keep people healthy and preserve Minnesota’s legacy as a leader in health care. And, as we work to defeat the Voter Restriction amendment, we understand that these fights are interconnected.
Many of the same people who would lose the ability to vote if this amendment passes may see their health care coverage in jeopardy in 2013. The work to defeat Voter Restriction and the work to save MinnesotaCare are both about giving people a say in decisions that directly impact their lives. We need MORE voice in our system and MORE power over decisions that are made. Not less. After all, it is our vote, our money, and our health at stake.
Elizabeth Lienesch is TakeAction Minnesota’s Deputy Organizing & Training Director.
If you are on MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance, we want to hear your story! Please contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell her about your experience with these programs.
For more information about this issue and how to get involved, contact Elizabeth Lienesch, email@example.com, 651-379-0744