Posts by Pat Benner

The Cost of a Medicaid for All Buy-in

Pharmacist with patient

With the recent discussion of a buy-in option for Medicaid, how could this plan impact the uninsured population of Minnesota? The preceding article discussed the generalities of a Medicaid buy-in, and this article will continue that analysis by examining the impact of a buy-in, since determining individual contributions is crucial to lowering the cost for…

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Medicaid for All in Minnesota?

Earlier this year, the Nevada legislature passed a bill that would allow all Nevadans to purchase a health care plan through Medicaid. This plan lacked major details and was ultimately vetoed, but it certainly warrants a look as to whether this would help Minnesota insure all its residents. Medicaid is a federal health care program…

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Cutting Medicaid Would Devastate Rural Hospitals and Health Centers

MUAs, MUPs, and HPSAs

The American Health Care Act is quietly reentering the political sphere six weeks after it passed the House of Representatives by an incredibly narrow two-vote margin. While details on the Senate version are scarce (authors of the Senate bill will not release it before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores it), rumors and leaks indicate…

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Addressing Minnesota’s Food Deserts: More Than a New Grocery Store

Food deserts in the state of Minnesota

The built environment has long been an obstacle in fighting the obesity epidemic, and food deserts specifically have increasingly become a major public health priority for Minnesotans. Food deserts (or food swamps, as a better analogy) are areas with poor access to affordable, healthy food. The term isn’t just a statement on the poor availability…

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The Consequences for Minnesotans in the HHS Budget

State Medicaid Spending

Last week, Governor Dayton signed the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget bill, despite serious reservations about some of the provisions. Conservatives claim that the bill saves up to $510 million in the coming biennium; however, hundreds of millions of dollars claimed as savings are based on faulty assumptions, pilfering revenues from other funds, and…

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The Merits of Expanding Edina’s New Tobacco Law

Under 21 No Tobacco

The Edina City Council recently passed an ordinance that raises the minimum age of tobacco sales up to 21 years old, making it the first city in Minnesota to do so. This proposal has already gained traction with other Minnesota cities, and could eventually be considered statewide. Raising the tobacco sales age to 21 years…

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Measles Outbreak Demonstrates Why Vaccines Matter

Measles Cases in MN

Minnesota is receiving national attention for its measles outbreak. As of May 11th, 49 children in Minnesota have already contracted measles in 2017. This is an astonishingly high number: from 2001 to 2016, there were only 46 cases of measles, and that included an outbreak of 26 children in 2011. Using data from the Minnesota…

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On the Disadvantages of Switching to the Federal Exchange

MNsure, Minnesota’s state-based health exchange, has been a target of conservatives since its founding in 2013, including several attempts to transition to a federally-administered exchange. This raises the question of whether or not a federal exchange is in any way better than the current system. MNsure is the marketplace for individual and small group plans,…

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AHCA: Huge Losses in Premium Aid for Minnesotans

Earlier this year, conservatives attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), otherwise known as Trumpcare. These efforts were stymied by the rivaling factions within the Republican party, but had the bill passed, it would have devastated older working and middle class Minnesotans. Although momentum…

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