The Dec. 29 feature “Matters of the heart” particularly caught my attention, considering that I’m due to have open-heart surgery in a few weeks at one of those Twin Cities hospitals cited in the article. I was pleased to hear that every person interviewed was doing OK, despite their varying accounts of what took place during and after surgery. Besides describing the sometimes gory details of the procedure itself, I appreciated mention of the psychological effects some incurred following the surgery — a subject not as yet brought to my attention by my surgical team. At least I will have a heads-up on the possibility of any mood changes that might manifest. I guess not reading the details of sawing people open may have been preferable — after all, they say that ignorance is bliss, and I am searching for as much bliss as I can muster heading into this new adventure.

Robert Statz, Onamia, Minn.


Most important part of new law: What pharmacists can now tell you

The Dec. 29 article “2020 brings new laws to Minnesota” left out the most important part of the new pharmacy benefit manager law.

The following text is directly from the Minnesota House news release: “The law will also prohibit ‘gag clauses’ that prevent pharmacists from letting patients know when their medications would be cheaper at the pharmacy’s regular cost than with their co-pay.”

If someone goes into a pharmacy and shows an insurance card and their prescription would cost $100, that same prescription might be only $10 if they say: “I am not using insurance and I will pay cash.” In the past, pharmacists were not permitted to suggest paying cash. If you didn’t know cash was the cheaper option, they could not legally tell you. They were bound by the pharmacy benefit manager’s contract that stopped them from doing so. In 2020, pharmacists will finally be allowed to tell you that. And if they want to keep consumers’ business, you can bet they will.

That information should have been in the story. As far as consumers are concerned, that is the story. It could potentially save prescription drug users millions of dollars.

Dave Alexander, Plymouth


Wisconsin program of self-directed Medicaid benefits is model to follow

Thank you for the very interesting article on the Wisconsin program (IRIS) that allows persons with mental and/or physical disabilities the opportunity to manage Medicaid funds for their own care (“Free to take charge,” part of the “Chaotic Care” series, Dec. 29). I work as a caregiver in a group home, an industry that has a fairly high rate of employee turnover. This turnover quite possibly leads to inconsistent quality of care for the residents of these facilities, which I’m sure probably causes extra stress for those people receiving care — stress that may be less likely to happen if they were cared for at home by family members.

Hopefully, Minnesota’s Department of Human Services will get a clue from this article and take steps to enact a program similar to Wisconsin’s IRIS. Otherwise, people with disabilities and their families might just decide to leave our great state and head east.

Carlene Dean, Osakis, Minn.


Here’s why growth in this state will crawl in the 2020s. (No, here’s why.)

Regarding the Dec. 29 article “Minn. growth to crawl into next decade,” the status of our economy determines the rate at which couples feel confident in having children. We’re in good shape according to unemployment figures, however, workplace income and benefits are the key to family planning. It stands to reason that if life partners feel their workplace is inflexible with low pay, the likelihood of wanting children is low. This is why paid family leave and other benefits are of extreme importance.

It is incumbent upon the business world to embrace these needs! Companies unable to hire enough people must ask themselves: “Are we offering enough pay to prospective employees? Are the benefits offered generous enough? Are the training programs sufficient?” Like people, businesses won’t change unless they are truly desperate and uncomfortable. For the sake of our economy, let’s hope change comes sooner rather than later.

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover

• • •

I’ve just finished reading the population growth article for the third time. Despite all the analytics it included, I could not find any reference to people leaving the state, or staying away, because of our excessive taxes. Being a high-tax state is certainly a factor in what is expected to be slow growth in the coming decade.

Philip Tschumperlin, Lake Elmo


The action was valid, is not novel, and should be seen to completion

I would like to take issue with a few of the positions taken by D.J. Tice in his Dec. 29 column. (“Impeachment: A stalemate, and why should this be any different?”) First, the point of impeachment is not to overturn the results of the 2016 election. This would essentially be the case in every presidential impeachment procedure and is not a valid reason not to impeach. The impeachment was undertaken because President Donald Trump attempted to use his powers to broker interference in our election process by a foreign power. Even more important, in my view, he has resolutely obstructed the entire process. He is willing to do both again, and this will have an untoward effect on the upcoming election.

That is why it can’t wait. Subverting the ability of Congress to investigate the executive branch is an ongoing threat to the democratic process. Trump would already have been indicted several times if it weren’t for a Justice Department rule of questionable constitutionality and his previously uncooperative interactions with the Mueller investigation. Impeachment, not the next election, really is the next appropriate step.

As for the Senate, it may be up to others with greater moral fortitude than Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demonstrates to root out all the facts that have remained hidden. America deserves the whole, unabridged version of the story.

David Lee, St. Paul

• • •

Tice claimed that impeaching a president so close to election season “has never been attempted in American history.” How does this square with the fact that President Andrew Johnson was impeached in February 1868, an election year for him? While I suppose it’s not impossible for someone to defend that position, saying it without clarification seems grossly misleading — and that’s being charitable. And while we’re on the subject, could everyone please stop saying that Trump’s conviction would “overturn the result of a national election” when such an event would definitely not make Hillary Clinton president?

Sam Packwood, Eagan

• • •

Tice suggests the best outcome of the Trump impeachment would be a “stalemate” in which the Senate never receives the articles of impeachment so Trump is forever impeached but never given due process granted all U.S. citizens under the law.

We have heard the liberal refrain “no one is above the law” spoken ad nauseam in reference to President Trump by liberal politicians and the liberal media. True, but no one is below the law, either. Every person accused, including the president, is afforded the right to confront their accusers, bring their own witnesses, cross-examine the accusers and receive a fair trial. Suggesting otherwise is absurd. This is not what was intended by our founders and is exactly why the second step in impeachment — a Senate trial — requires a two-thirds supermajority to convict.

Chad Hagen, Sleepy Eye, Minn.

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