Posts by Pat Benner

The Freedom to Breathe Act Revisited

Freedom to Breathe Act

10 years ago this month, the state of Minnesota banned smoking in restaurants, bars, and just about all other indoor public spaces and workplaces. The Freedom to Breathe Act prohibited smoking by employers, employees, patrons, and visitors of any workplace or indoor public space that had two or more people working there. While this law…

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Quality Health Care is Non-Negotiable

Efforts to reform the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been wide ranging since its inception, but haven’t accomplished much. This could be because of the deep polarization in Washington, and it is clear that as that the quality and access measures implemented in 2009 are vital parts of our health care system moving forward. The…

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Sex Education: Abstinence Only Doesn’t Fit the Bill

Class teacher desk

We recently started a series of articles to explain health care jargon and contextualize the information so all Minnesotans can engage in the broader discussion about health care. The previous article in the series described the current state of women’s health access and abortion in Minnesota. Comprehensive sex education is so important, because it helps…

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Women’s Health and Abortion in Minnesota

St. Paul family planning clinic Planned Parenthood

We recently started a series of articles to explain health care jargon and contextualize the information so all Minnesotans can engage in the broader discussion about health care. The previous article in the series described the history of health insurance in the United States and Minnesota. There is an abundance of misinformation regarding women’s health…

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A Brief History of Insurance

LBJ Medicare Medicaid

Last week, we started a series of articles to explain health care jargon and contextualize the information so all Minnesotans can engage in the discussion. The first article in the series covered health centers that cover Minnesotans who need care the most. The largest policy debate happening in the health care world right now is…

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Get to Know the Safety Net: Health Centers

Map of FQHC sites in Minnesota

We at the North Star Policy Institute strive to provide quality and thorough analyses of major policy conversations. In today’s contentious health care environment, policy changes, proposals, and critiques quickly flood the conversation, and they can turn into overly-wonky, exhausting jargon pits. Keeping this in mind, we will produce a series of articles that explain…

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More Required to Stabilize ACA Individual Market

Insurance coverage table Minnesota

At the beginning of August, Minnesota health insurance companies released their expected changes in premium costs. The proposed average changes were separated into two major groups: changes with reinsurance and changes without reinsurance. As a quick reminder, Minnesota passed reinsurance legislation in April in an attempt to control premium spikes in 2018. Reinsurance works by…

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Minnesota’s Impending Crisis: Dangerous New Opioids

Opioid deaths in Minnesota, Heroin deaths

Over the last few years, Minnesota policymakers and medical providers ramped up the pressure to slow down the rate of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids. When you compare Minnesota to other states in the Upper Midwest, it is fairly similar in age-adjusted opioid and overall overdose death rates; despite having a relatively low mortality…

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Climate Change Will Wreak Havoc on Our Summers and Our Health

aedes aegypti climate change minnesota

Many people don’t connect the growing concern of a warmer climate and carbon emissions to the everyday impact on our lives. Many think of climate change as a problem that must be addressed, but not the imminent consequences. A recent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine detailed the death risk associated with…

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