Poor and minority patients in Minnesota are starting to receive better primary care but continue to have worse overall medical outcomes and more difficulty managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes. In a sign of progress against the state’s longstanding health disparities, a new report shows that Minnesota clinics are doing a better job of screening low-income and minority adults for colon cancer and checking minority teenagers for depression — two of the medical indicators tracked in the annual review. Timely colon cancer screenings for African-American adults increased from 56.4 percent of patients in 2014 to 58.6 percent last year, a modest rise but one that still represented progress in a minority group with a higher death rate from that form of cancer. And clinics showed particular progress with the Somali-speaking population; for them, screening increased from 20.8 percent to 32.2 percent, according to the report, which was released Wednesday morning by MN Community … [Read more...] about Racial, income gaps in Minnesota medical care are closing, but modestly
Minnesota health care programs
The monumental task of overhauling the nation’s expensive, inefficient health care system is hard, unglamorous work. Positive results often go unheralded, because of the issue’s complexity and the toxic debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A case in point: the groundbreaking reforms occurring in Minnesota’s health care programs for the poor and working families who need help paying for insurance. Recently, the success of a federal Medicare program — one that is similar to Minnesota’s pioneering state program — made national headlines. The federal program, which involves the popular government health care program for senior citizens, focuses on payment reform. Experts have long pointed out that the American medical system typically pays providers for each procedure they perform. That creates a financial incentive for providers to focus on volume of care provided, not just quality. But the ACA launched something called the Pioneer Accountable … [Read more...] about Success of Minnesota health program should spur future reform
Health care has emerged as the most contentious issue in the Minnesota governor’s race, as both candidates grapple with the bedeviling details of a system that is both worrying to families and phenomenally expensive to taxpayers. Republican nominee Jeff Johnson and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz both say that all Minnesotans — even those with pre-existing conditions — should have access to affordable health care. That’s where the agreement ends. A fiery exchange at a debate in Willmar on Tuesday drove home the divide, and Johnson also criticized Walz over health care earlier in the day at a news conference. Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, has been hitting Walz for favoring what he calls a “single payer” health care plan. “We have to understand what single payer means,” Johnson said. “We all lose our insurance and are forced on to one government plan.” Single payer advocates use Medicare — the government insurance program … [Read more...] about Health care becomes flashpoint in Minnesota governor’s race
For Eagle County resident Bobby Bank, the cost of health insurance is incomprehensible. Bank, like many Coloradans who live in the mountains, faces some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country. “Everyone in Colorado should pay the same price,” he said. “I should be able to buy the insurance you get.” So it’s with keen interest that he and others are watching the state’s gubernatorial race, in which both candidates — Republican state Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis — have pledged to bring down health care costs. While many issues separate the candidates, the starkest contrast may be in their approaches to improving the health care system. One of Polis’ marquee campaign promises has been establishing universal coverage for Coloradans. A longtime supporter of “Medicare for all,” Polis is among a handful of Democrats across the country running on such a promise. The Democrat … [Read more...] about “Medicare for all” or “catastrophic” coverage? The stark contrasts between Colorado’s gubernatorial candidates on health care.
The three leading Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidates running for Minnesota governor all support their party’s core beliefs of fair treatment under the law, equitable opportunity and common-sense government regulation. But state. Rep. Erin Murphy, Attorney General Lori Swanson and Congressman Tim Walz also have their differences. Some of those are subtle while others are more pronounced. Here’s where they stand — and differ — on some of the biggest issues of this campaign season: GUN CONTROL Murphy, Swanson and Walz all say they support tightening gun regulations to keep Minnesotans safe in the wake of ongoing mass shootings in public places like schools, churches and office buildings. That means requiring background checks for gun purchases, allowing law enforcement to obtain a court order to seize firearms from people deemed dangerous and studying the impact gun violence has on public health. They also all want better school security and improved access … [Read more...] about Here’s where Democrats running for governor stand on guns, legalizing pot, health care and taxes