The health insurance merry-go-round (5×8 – 4/15/13)

Health insurance and real life, the beginning the gun floor debate, don’t play ball, giving back, and sometimes you never know what one act of kindness can do.


The Monday Morning Rouser

1) HEALTH INSURANCE AND REAL LIFE

For the last few years, the health care debate has been difficult to absorb in real terms — that is: how much will it cost me to have health care – because the details of how it would work have been so unclear. They are still are, but MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki does a nice job today of presenting realities.

She profiles a young woman who’s having trouble finding a job with benefits at her young age, who is about to turn 26 and drop off her parent’s coverage. She could find health insurance for $100, but the deductible is $10,000. Or she could wait and get on the MinnesotaCare program and only have hospital coverage to $10,000.

Stawicki says the new state website for comparing programs shows the woman could get insurance for about $48 a month when the law kicks in next year, but notes even that is still based only on estimates.

Related: Employer health insurance in rapid decline across U.S. (Boston.com)

2) THE GUN DEBATE COMETH

The gun control debate will hit Capitol Hill this week now that key senators have worked out a deal to give the legislation a vote.

Republicans in the House are vowing to weaken the legislation and focus on efforts to identify and treat — or at least keep them from buying guns — the mentally ill

As Jonathan Winters once observed, “as scary as it is, reality is very funny.”

3) DON’T PLAY BALL!

It’s not just the Twins who are going to soon run up a train wreck of a schedule later in the year because of the snow and cold postponements. High school and college spring sports seasons don’t have a “later in the year.” The Duluth News Tribune says most teams haven’t even been outside to practice. The school year ends in just a couple of months. Right around the time the weather should improve, apparently.

More sports: At least hockey-hair season is over. (St. Cloud Times)

4) ON GIVING BACK

A Fargo family’s youngest child is about to turn 1 year old. He’s spent 11 of those months in a hospital, making it difficult for his family to keep up with the mortgage, Fargo Forum says. They’re now getting help from an organization, which started in Minnesota, that was created by a couple once in a similar situation.

5) BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEVER KNOW

Before Kimberly Mitchell became president of a nonprofit helping veterans, and before she was a Navy lieutenant commander, and before she grew up in Solon Springs, Wisconsin — south of Superior — she was a baby in the way of a bridge a soldier was about to blow up.

Bonus I: This is severe weather awareness week. The Minnesota Historical Society looks at the worst tornado outbreaks in the state’s history.

Bonus II: From the Department of Unclear on the Concept:

Bonus III: What happens to these people after today? (NPR)

TODAY’S QUESTION

Today’s Question: Do you know where your pet came from?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Female politicians and their appearance.

Second hour: Kenneth Turan, film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR’s Morning Edition.

Third hour: How can consumers be given tools and information needed to best engage in making effective health care decisions that benefit the collective good?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Documentarian Ken Burns, speaking at the National Press Club about his newest documentary, “The Central Park Five.” It airs on PBS tomorrow.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - What can happen when Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue team up? They create computerized ads that talk to consumers — and listen to them. Advertisers are betting that well treat virtual voices like they’re real people without even realizing it. NPR looks at interactive voice ads.

The single-largest line item in Mayo’s proposed infrastructure master plan call for $430 million for a downtown circulator. City officials says there’s much interest in developing a high capacity transport service in the Rochester area, including a rail-based, streetcar system. And the first part of that, according to the city’s long-range transportation plan, would be used to connect Saint Marys Hospital and Mayo’s buildings downtown. The two are just five blocks apart along 2nd street, but commuters, patients and Mayo employees often find themselves in a traffic gridlock on the street that connects the two facilities. According to Mayo’s plan, DMC funds would cover about $36 million of the total cost, with the rest coming from city, federal and other sources. MPR’s Elizabeth Baier will report.

In an unlikely collaboration double Tony Award winning actor Mark Rylance joined forces with Duluth poet Louis Jenkins to create a new play about ice fishing at the Guthrie. Rylance, who is a Shakespearean by training wrote dialog to link several of Jenkins’ poems about the wonders to be found in apparently ordinary things. Jenkins who never thought about being in theater before says he’s loving the whole thing. Euan Kerr will have more.