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Health Care for All

More than 400,000 Minnesotans lack health insurance. An additional one million Minnesotans who have insurance cannot afford the high premiums and deductibles and the cost of procedures not covered by their insurance plans.

In a nation where coverage is most often employer-provided, the current economic recession and rising unemployment rates means that more and more people are losing coverage while simultaneously losing their source of income. The need for health care reform is now more pressing than ever.

While the federal health care debate continues to rage, the reforms currently under consideration in Congress will most likely fall short of universal coverage and will fail to provide an alternative to the for-profit insurance industry. The need for more comprehensive and sweeping reform at a state level has never been more apparent.

What MPIRG is doing statewide

At the fall statewide retreat, MPIRG's Student Board of Directors voted to endorse the Minnesota Health Act, a single-payer health care solution for the State of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Health Act (SF 118 / HF 135) would create a single statewide insurance plan to provide coverage for all Minnesotans. Premiums would be based on each individual's ability to pay. No one would be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and no one would have to fear losing access to medical care as a result of losing their job or switching employers. The plan would cover all necessary medical care, and would reduce costs by cutting down on bureaucracy and inefficiency and promoting preventative care.

Senator John Marty is the bill's chief author in the State Senate, and Northfield's own Representative David Bly is the chief author in the House.  To date, 29 senators and 42 representatives have signed on as co-authors.

What we're doing on campus

This fall, we built grassroots pressure on Senator Amy Klobuchar to support a public option in federal health care reform legislation. We got more than 200 Carleton students to call Senator Klobuchar's office, urging her to support a strong public option in health care reform.

Our Health Care Task Force hosted a lunchtime discussion in October with SOAN Professor Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg and HealthFinders Collaborative director Angie Koch, Carleton class of '02. Professor Feldman-Savelsberg teaches "Anthropology of Health and Illness", which has an optional civic engagement component that involves working with Growing Up Healthy or HealthFinders. The discussion centered around "humanizing health care," or how the abstract ideals of health care reform will impact our local community in Rice County.

This term the Health Care Task Force is conducting a study to evaluate the health care needs of small businesses in Rice County. After finishing the phone interviews, we will compile the data into a report for Representative David Bly. We're the first in the state to do research of this kind, so the details of how our findings will come into play is not yet determined, but similar surveys will most likely be continued in other areas of Minnesota based on our success. Our other plans include bringing Representative Bly to campus to speak with students, and hosting a documentary screening with a discussion afterward.

For more information

Visit The Campaign for the Minnesota Health Plan to learn more about single-payer health care reform in Minnesota.

Visit MPIRG's Health Care for All campaign site to read more about our position on health care reform.

Contact Casey Markenson, Carleton MPIRG's Health Care Task Force Leader, to get involved in making single-payer health care a reality in Minnesota.