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“We’re at a crossroads,” said Rep. Tara Mack, a Republican from Apple Valley and member of the Legislature’s MNsure oversight committee. “We’ve expanded access without making critical reforms [to Medicaid]. If we do nothing to address costs, then we’re heading to a pretty steep cliff where the spending is going to bleed other areas of state government.”
For now, however, many of the new Medical Assistance enrollees are enjoying the benefits of having coverage.
Mary Hierlinger, 57, credits MNsure with saving her life. The Anoka resident was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and said she would be unable to pay for $30,000 in medical bills if she had not been approved earlier this year for Medical Assistance. Were it not for that, she said, “I might not be talking to you right now.”
Last week, as he walked past the colorful stalls of East African clothing at the Village Market on E. 24th Street, Hassan could barely take 10 steps without someone stopping to ask him about MNsure.
“This is my territory,” he said proudly.
Hassan stroked his goatee and laughed as people lavished him with thanks for signing them up after years without insurance. Hassan’s employer, Somali Health Solutions, has helped enroll 1,200 people since last fall.
“Without this man, I would not have insurance,” said Abdiqani Muhamed, 25, embracing Hassan as he spoke. “Now, I don’t have to live in fear of going to the hospital and not being able to pay my bills. It’s a new day for me.”
Chris Serres • 612-673-4308