I was stunned to read that Mayo Clinic has decided to discriminate against Medicare and Medicaid recipients in the provision of services (“Private payers get priority at Mayo,” March 15). Such discrimination is specifically prohibited by Minnesota’s Human Rights Act. Specifically, Minnesota Statute 363A.12 provides: “It is an unfair discriminatory practice to discriminate against any person in the access to, admission to, full utilization of or benefit from any public service because of … status with regard to public assistance … unless the public service can demonstrate that providing the access would impose an undue hardship on its operation.”
“Status with regard to public assistance” means the condition of being a recipient of federal, state, or local assistance, including medical assistance, or of being a tenant receiving federal, state, or local subsidies, including rental assistance or rent supplements.” (363A.03, Subd. 47.)
Class-action lawyers undoubtedly are licking their chops.
James M. Hamilton, St. Paul
The writer is an attorney.
• • •
Compare two points of view from the long history of the Mayo Clinic:
“The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered, and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, union of forces is necessary.” (Dr. William J. Mayo, 1910.)
“We’re asking … if the patient has commercial insurance, or they’re Medicaid or Medicare patients and they’re equal, that we prioritize the commercial insured patients … .” (Dr. John Noseworthy, 2017.)
I can imagine no greater push toward universal, government-funded health coverage than the one Noseworthy just gave.
David J. Hansen, Faribault, Minn.
Surdyk’s law-flouting backfired for this particular customer
I am, or was, a Surdyk’s customer. The management’s decision to open for Sunday liquor sales before the statutorily permissible date showed a flagrant disregard for the law, for the welfare of its own employees and for the principles of fair competition. A basic premise of good citizenship is to ask whether it would be a good thing for our community if everyone did what you’re about to do. If you can’t answer with an unqualified “yes,” then you probably should reconsider your actions.
The Surdyk’s conduct undermines customer confidence by raising the question as to what other health and safety laws the store chooses not to comply with. It sends a message to employees that leadership is accepting of selective compliance if it helps the business. And, dishearteningly, it reflects a mind-set that rationalizes a publicity stunt based on a cost-benefit calculus that the gain in profit and publicity will outweigh the regulatory and legal costs.
Granted, this was an isolated act of a business that has a long and proud history in the Twin Cities, but it sent all kinds of wrong messages to employees, customers, regulators and the public. I’ll return to Surdyk’s when the management issues a public apology and restores confidence in its business integrity.
Tom DiPasquale, North Oaks
EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
The case against ‘the case against’ the need for an ERA
The late Justice Antonin Scalia famously asserted that the 14th Amendment does not protect women from discrimination because the authors never intended it to do so. This opens up the possibility of Congress passing discriminatory laws against women that the Supreme Court will uphold. Scalia may be gone, but originalists like him are not. Furthermore, it is precisely because women are half the population that we should not need to be considered a protected class, not the other way around, as David P. Bryden asserts in a March 15 commentary (“The case against the Equal Rights Amendment”). It must therefore be unequivocally stated in the Constitution that women are equal to men to ensure that the Constitution can never be interpreted to support discrimination based on sex.
Emily Greenwald Johnson, Minneapolis
• • •
Bryden’s commentary was strangely lacking considering its author is a professor of law.
He states an ERA isn’t necessary because it won’t add anything to law to mitigate rape. Yet he earlier states that it would be warranted if “the political system is extraordinarily disabled.” In a country where every news station in every city reports a woman has been raped, battered or murdered every day of the year, he contradicts himself: Our legal system is extraordinarily disabled when it comes to prosecuting violence against women. The U.S. averages 321,500 victims (over age 12) of rape and sexual assault yearly (Department of Justice, 2015).
Additionally, there are many areas of discrimination against women that would definitely be legally remedied by an ERA: equal pay; equal status with regard to benefits, promotions and seniority; equal access to higher-paying-job training; equal time away from the responsibilities of child care so career work time isn’t disproportionately given to men; equally serious concern by medical practitioners when women have heart attack symptoms and other health problems; etc.
The ERA is needed now more than ever.
Trina Porte, Minneapolis
U.S. REP. STEVE KING
Sad part is: Iowa congressman likely reflects constituents
Some thoughts regarding U.S. Rep. Steve King’s recent “somebody else’s babies” tweet: First, we must keep in mind former House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s adage that “all politics is local.” Given this, we know that the policies King embraces, his votes on issues and now this tweet are based on what the majority of those who vote in Iowa’s Fourth District believe. So those of us who winced at King’s tweet need to recognize that the people who sent him to represent them are most likely thinking “right on, Steve.”
I, a native-born and fully assimilated baby of Italian immigrants (Ellis Island 1903), am dispirited by the views held by King and his constituents. They do not align with the experiences I share with many other Americans whose parents were immigrants. I am further disheartened knowing that the media’s amplification of King’s recent tweet has given him the free political advertising that will guarantee his re-election in 2018 and probably thereafter for as long as he chooses to represent the misguided views of his northwest Iowa constituents.
Americo Del Calzo, Edina
MINNEAPOLIS SUPER BOWL
We’re mere chattel, aren’t we?
Free labor for the Super Bowl? (“Game on: Super Bowl needs 10,000 volunteers,” March 15.) I volunteer — to leave town. Nice way to offset the jobs footprint the event is supposed to create. “Insulting” does not even fit this. Does anyone really think that working for free in the cold is going to give them the opportunity to rub shoulders with the millionaires and billionaires? And why would you want to? Our corporate welfare dollars aren’t enough? Now they want free labor?
Bob Foucault, Minneapolis