Minnesota after the health care cuts

It’s becoming more clear now what the effect of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s “unallotment” is going to have on the poorest of Minnesotans.

MPR’s Lorna Benson has just posted a story that shows the despair that’s building among those who get help from the state.


His state-sponsored health insurance will end next year and he’ll have to deal with his depression, degenerative disk disease and sleep apnea on his own.

“Actually on my refrigerator I’ve got a little marker-pen and I’ve got the date, February 28, 2010, D-day, and I’ve got my plan for detox.”

By “detox,” he means weaning himself from all his medications by the end of February, so that when he loses his health insurance on March 1, he’ll have a better chance of coping with his health situation.

Lorna’s story comes on the heels of Jess Mador’s story this week about the loss of the renter’s credit. Most of those who get it are senior citizens and disabled Minnesotans.

In Rochester, meanwhile, the Post Bulletin is carrying a story today that says dentists in the state are probably going to refuse to treat lower-income patients because the state is reducing their reimbursement.


A Blooming Prairie clinic that treats low-income patients exclusively is bracing for a significant financial hit as a result of the cuts. Dr. John Flor, with Main Street Dental, said the clinic’s dentists are considering a 20 percent pay cut to help keep the facility open.

“If we can’t make money, there is nobody to bail us out,” Flor said. “So if you can’t make money and you can’t pay your bills, then you have to quit.”

I normally don’t quote my wife on News Cut, but she’s in the business of helping those who are in crisis find health care. She knows what she’s talking about and offered this piece of advice after reading the MPR story.


“Anyone already on disability won’t be losing their insurance. Those who are not yet approved by Social Security to collect disability can go through (a mountain of paperwork) the SMRT (State Medical Review Team) and if found unable to work can get federally funded Medicaid. Those who can’t do either would be wise to apply for Minnesota Care and somehow try to manage the $4.00-$30.00 per month premium to stay on meds. Along with that, many are unaware that many meds are available at Target or WalMart for $4.00 for a 30-day supply (generic only). Those that aren’t generic have very generous free or greatly reduced pricing on meds. All it takes is an application to the manufacturer of said med, and a doctor who gives a damn.”

My wife says the one phrase she hears from people who show up lookingfor help is this one: “I never thought this would happen to me.”

The governor has made his decision and that apparently is that. Perhaps it’s now time to figure out these ways of getting help to people who need a hand.

  • Kim V

    I’m a social worker who works with a low-income health care plan, and I’m really dreading the possibility that I’ll have to call my clients up in the next few months and say “Sorry, but Pawlenty thinks you’re really not that sick or disabled, or that you make too much money, so you can’t be on our program anymore.” I’m still not sure exactly how the unallotments are going to affect us, but I’m just expecting the worst.