I am disgusted that every single one of Minnesota’s Republican congressional representatives voted for the American Health Care Act, agreeing to strip away the protections provided by the Affordable Care Act. President Trump repeatedly promised during his campaign not to cut Medicaid; now he’s going to cut it by $800 billion in order to fund a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.
More than a million Minnesotans have preexisting conditions. Even if you’re not among them, if you’ve ever found a suspicious lump or mole and felt the fear of possibility, you know how tenuous good health can be. And anyone who considers themselves prolife should be aghast at the idea that a family who “chooses life” for a child with health problems diagnosed in pregnancy will be faced with costs they can never even hope to pay in order to heal a child who will have a preexisting condition from the moment they take their first breath.
Trumpcare even removes preexisting condition protections for people with employer-provided health care! No one is safe from this atrocious bill’s consequences. Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen and Tom Emmer should be ashamed of themselves, and I hope all three are voted out in 2018.
Naomi Kritzer, St. Paul
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In voting “yes” on the AHCA, Rep. Erik Paulsen sent a clear signal to voters that he stands with the ultraconservative wing of the GOP and not with his constituents. Rather than insisting on public hearings, a Congressional Budget Office report, transparency in government and, ultimately, affordable health care for all, Paulsen proved he is a party puppet, doing the bidding of Trump and Ryan. The Democratic candidate for president has carried Paulsen’s district in three straight general elections. The Third District is moderate. Paulsen is not. His cover is blown once and for all.
Heidi Strommen, Plymouth
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With all the talk of “protecting” the preexisting conditions in the AHCA, I’m not convinced the GOP definition of protection means anything but allowing the free market to reign over the misfortune of their constituents.
So, what is protection anyway? The online resources I see all include it in a financial sense. For example (of an insurance policy), a promise to pay someone an agreed amount in the event of loss, injury, fire, theft or other misfortune, or “in the event of your death, your family will be protected against any financial problems that may arise.” So I am at first comforted in knowing I will be protected from financial ruin should the unthinkable happen.
But wait: Noticeably absent is a framework for my protection. Without that, we have just blind faith in the free market for the healthy, and risk pools for the rest. Without essential protections that define our rights as purchasers of lifesaving access to health care, without protection from financial demise, why call it insurance?
We need to call it what it is: a plan to fix health care and limit spending by limiting access for the sick, while offering a tax break to the wealthy for health savings account contributions.
Tracie Wollman, Plymouth
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There is a key concept often left out of the health care debate and something that politicians seem to continually misunderstand or refuse to acknowledge: that we have an obligation to provide care. This does not necessarily translate to “we as a nation” but “we as clinicians,” who have a moral obligation and, in the case of hospitals, a legal obligation to provide emergency care under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. There is a need to acknowledge the moral and deontological sentiment that exists here. This was borne out of many failures and Supreme Court decisions resulting from a refusal to treat people, who then died or had bad outcomes. Patient dumping led to overcrowding of emergency rooms in county hospitals, where turning people away may have been legal but was ethically reprehensible.
The continuing frame of thought that health care is a market-based product is doomed. We may continue on this path for some time, but the end is inevitable; either we finally recognize an obligation to providing care or we allow hospitals to turn people away. It is all well and good to be a congressperson and treat health care as a free-market product, but when you are face to face with the bad effects of this mind-set, you may think differently. When the major groups representing clinicians in the trenches are against what you are doing, you ought to take some time to contemplate this.
Ian Wolfe, Minneapolis
CHANGING LAKE NAME
People know Calhoun as a place, not as a historical figure
The idea, endorsed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, of changing the name of Lake Calhoun to something nobody can pronounce (how do you pronounce Bde?) is an egregious example of political correctness. It seems likely that 99.999 percent of the people who are familiar with the lake and its name never connected the name to a man who served as vice president under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Isn’t there (or shouldn’t there be) a statute of limitations on political correctness? If a mistake was made in naming the lake 197 years ago, is it a dishonor to Native Americans just to live with that mistake? I don’t think any of us who will continue to call the lake by its historical name are thus honoring a long-deceased vice president. And certainly calling the lake Bde Maka Ska will cause a lot of confusion. While I am proud to call myself a progressive and a Democrat, this kind of political correctness is one of the things that evoke among the average person a negative reaction toward progressives and cause people to vote for Donald Trump. The proposed name change is a silly idea that will bring us mockery among visitors to our state, and should be abandoned.
Edward J. Schwartzbauer, Edina
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As someone who walks around the lake several times each week, I support the Minneapolis Park Board’s decision to restore the name of Lake Calhoun to its earlier name of Bde Maka Ska.
For over five years, I have organized a speaker series called Prairie Talks in my rural hometown in North Dakota. The people who support this series, including me, believe it’s impossible to talk about the prairie without including Native voices to represent the people who have cared for the land since long before European settlers came, including my own great-grandmother, who arrived by stagecoach in 1893 to homestead the farm where I was raised.
It is, for example, shortsighted to talk about the resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline without acknowledging the myriad attempts Europeans made to erase the ways of the Indian. Is renaming the lake a hassle? Yes. But does it symbolize the seeds of reconciliation for past wrongs? It’s a start. Will it give the world a reason to see the U.S. as a place capable of honoring its own complicated history rather than denying it? Absolutely.
Kristi Rendahl, Minneapolis
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The name Calhoun is not going to be eradicated. There will continue to be Calhoun Parkway, the Calhoun Beach Club, the Calhoun Beach Club Apartments, Calhoun Shores Apartments, Calhoun Towers, Calhoun Square, Calhoun Village Shopping Center, etc., all named after the lake.
Furthermore, the name Calhoun will still be the name that will continue to be associated with the lake. You can remove the name Calhoun from the signage around the lake and all the maps and Park Board literature (at public expense), but not from the minds of those individuals who choose to continue to associate the name Calhoun with the lake.
Arlene Fried, Minneapolis