Health Care for All Minnesota
Inge De Becker, M.D.
Dr. Inge De Becker was born in Belgium. She trained there as a pediatric ophthalmologist, and then practiced for the next 25 years in Canada. She came to the US about 5 years ago, and she has been practicing at the U of MN in the pediatric ophthalmology department. Inge's personal experience working in and out of a single-payer system will prove invaluable in her new role. As she says, being a doctor and a patient in our system makes her repeatedly, "just shake my head". She is co-chair of PNHP-Minnesota.
Laurel Gamm, M.D.
Dr. Laurel Gamm is trained in family medicine and has worked as both a family medicine primary care doctor and more recently in the emergency department in rural Minnesota (New Ulm). She is a long-time PNHP member and has been involved in the single-payer movement in MN since the early 1990s. Starting this fall, Laurel is making a career change and has taken a job with Health Care for the Homeless in St. Paul. She will be splitting her time between New Ulm and St. Paul. She is co-chair of PNHP-Minnesota.
Ann Settgast, M.D.
Dr. Settgast is an internist in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Center for International Health where she provides primary care to an immigrant and refugee population. She also provides inpatient medical care at Regions Hospital. In the summer of 2007 she co-founded the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.
Elizabeth Frost, M.D.
Elizabeth Frost, M.D., is a family practice doctor working at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduating from residency at the University of Minnesota, Elizabeth spent almost a year volunteering with Doctors for Global Health in Chiapas, Mexico. She currently works with a heavily Latino and mostly uninsured population in Minneapolis, and is confronted daily with economic barriers to basic care. She co-founded Physicians for a National Health Program - Minnesota along with Dr. Ann Settgast, and is a national board member of Physicians for a National Health Program.
James F. Hart, M.D.
Dr. Hart serves as the Director of the Executive Program in Public Health Practice in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Prior to that he worked for 26 years in primary care medical practice and management both independently and with HealthPartners Inc. He was on the faculty of the Regions Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program from 2002-2005. Dr. Hart has also had a long interest in global health issues – he served on the board of Minnesota International Health Volunteers for 13 years and now serves on the board of Global Health Ministries.
Susan Hasti, M.D.
Dr. Hasti is chair of the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (MUHCC) and a member of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). MUHCC includes Minnesota Nurses Association, Senior Federation, SEIU, MAPE, Minnesota Farmer’s Union and several other organizations. Dr. Hasti is in her 10th year as a family practitioner at Open Cities Health Center, a federally funded community health clinic. Previously she worked for several years in private practice in Bristol, Connecticut. She received her MD degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Local Unions Endorsing HR676
- Duluth AFL-CIO Central Labor Body, Duluth, MN
- AFSCME District Council 5, St. Paul, MN
- Minnesota AFL-CIO
- Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE)
- Southern Dakota County Labor Council, Apple Valley, MN
Minnesota State News
By the editors | The Timberjay (Tower, Minn.), Oct. 5, 2016
A new book by Minnesota state Sen. John Marty offers something that few politicians have ever provided to the public before - a straightforward plan to transition to a single-payer health care system in the state.
By Rose Roach | Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Counterpoint, Aug. 5, 2016
In “What is implied by calls of ‘Medicare for all?’ ” (Aug. 2), Bryan Dowd used over-the-top rhetoric in suggesting that proponents of “Medicare for all” don’t understand Medicare. Medicare was conceived as a universal social insurance program providing health coverage to seniors regardless of income or health status, with all beneficiaries paying into the program through mandatory contributions from employees and employers.
By Charles R. Peterson, M.D., and Don Pylkkanen | Brainerd (Minn.) Dispatch, March 21, 2016
Some weeks ago a health care article in a major Minnesota newspaper reported, "This year, the average premium in the individual market is up 41 percent." The state's current total health care cost of about $50 billion is projected by a Minnesota Department of Health estimate to reach $76.5 billion in 2022. At that point it would represent 20 percent of the state economy. What can be done about this trend?
By Katie Johnson | Post-Bulletin
Here's a question that cuts through the chatter: If you were offered a health plan that guaranteed all the care that you need — including prescription drugs, dental, vision and long-term care — for no more money, and likely less, than what you're paying now, would you sign up for it?
By Kip Sullivan, J.D. | Star Tribune
A silent epidemic is ravaging our health care system — an epidemic of burnout among doctors. A paper published in the December issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings reports that the percent of physicians admitting to at least one symptom of burnout rose from 46 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2014. By contrast, burnout in the general population over that period stayed at about 25 percent, way below the rate among doctors.
By Dave Dvorak, M.D., M.P.H. | MetroDoctors
Evidence-based in its approach, PNHP points to multiple studies showing that by capturing the massive waste in the health system and redirecting it to actual health care, single payer can achieve truly universal coverage while reining in health care inflation – something no other type of proposed reform has shown the ability to do.
By Carrie Ann Terrell, M.D. | MetroDoctors
It’s not difficult to imagine how much more effective my care could be and how much safer, healthier, happier my patients would be if we spent a fraction of the money earned by insurance companies on actual health care.
By Glen Peterson | Mankato Free Press
Speakers from Germany, Canada and Great Britain recently described health care systems in their respective countries at a Health Care Conversation forum in Minneapolis. Systems in the three countries use various public and private combinations for funding, and for delivery.
By Dimitri Drekonja, M.D. | St. Cloud (Minn.) Times
On July 30, America celebrates the 50th birthday of Medicare.
By Mark Liebow, M.D. | The Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.)
Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson flew to Independence, Mo., the retirement home of President Harry S. Truman, to sign the bill that created Medicare and Medicaid. He gave Truman and Truman's wife, Bess, Medicare cards No. 1 and No. 2.
By Augie Lindmark, M2 | MinnPost (Minneapolis)
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson carried a considerable number of pens with him when he visited the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. The occasion for his visit was monumental: He was about to sign into law H.R. 6675 — known to many as the Medicare bill.
By Inge De Becker, M.D. | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
A headline like “$2B wasted on hospital visits” (July 23) is not what prudent and sensible Minnesotans want from their medical system. Unfortunately, the jump headline says, “Patients wasted billions on avoidable hospital trips,” implying that the sick are the ones responsible for high medical costs.
By Inge De Becker, M.D. | MinnPost (Minneapolis)
Medicare's 50th anniversary, July 30, is just around the corner. Happy birthday, dear Medicare! You've given seniors and younger people with permanent disabilities the medical care and financial security they otherwise would never have known. You've saved an untold number of lives. And you cut elder poverty in half within 10 years of being implemented.
By Aatif Mansoor, Channing James and Jenny Zhang | Minnesota Daily
We are medical students who have devoted eight years of our lives to educating and training ourselves, along with three to seven more years of training left for our chosen specialty.
By Dave Dvorak, M.D., M.P.H. | Minnesota / ACEP Newsletter
As emergency physicians, we have chosen to work in a setting that treats all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. We deliver more uncompensated care than any other specialty. Whether you see this as honorable or unfair, it is emblematic of a long broken system.
By Dimitri Drekonja, M.D. | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Studying what someone (like Prof. Jonathan Gruber) said three years ago about how a piece of legislation passed is not terribly high on my priority list; studying how to achieve a cost-effective way to provide health care to all Minnesotans is.
By Inge De Becker, M.D. | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
True, the VA has waiting lists, real and fake. We spend fortunes to send youngsters to war, yet underfund their care when they come home. They suffer for no good reason.
Dr. Dave Dvorak | Star Tribune
The closing of the Riverwood Centers represents yet another failure of a health care system based upon a dysfunctional patchwork of insurance coverage (“Center’s closing could strand mentally ill,” March 18). The combination of stalled public funding and diminishing payments from private insurance companies has brought about the demise of a crucial resource for thousands of Minnesotans who struggle with severe mental illness.
By Dave Dvorak, MD | Minnesota Medicine
We will adopt the streamlined efficiencies of a single-payer system to finally bring costs under control, achieve fair and comprehensive risk pooling, and most importantly, guarantee quality coverage for all citizens.
By Dave Dvorak, M.D.
| Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune
It’s long past time to stop feeding this beast and adopt an efficient, fair, single-payer system that would slash administrative waste, get control of our health spending, and, most importantly, guarantee quality coverage for all citizens.
By Dave Mindeman | MinnPostWhen it comes to health care, single payer advocates (like myself) are considered to be on the fringe — the "far" left. Too often, the second you say single payer, the word "socialist" enters the conversation or the obligatory eye roll shuts down rational talk.
By Ryan Gustafson | KEYC Channel 12 News (Mankato, Minn.)
Dr. Adamson says, "Cancer is a difficult enough diagnosis to deal with, but when you have the issue of how is this going to get paid for, whether I'll be bankrupt seeking care, that is really more than you should have to handle when they're dealing with a difficult diagnosis.
By Mark Liebow, M.D. | Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin
Medicare, a program that has transformed health care and Rochester, celebrates its 48th birthday this week.
By State Sen. John Marty (DFL) | Spring Grove (Minn.) Herald
Forty eight years ago this summer, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law, providing healthcare for millions of older Americans. As our state begins full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, it is appropriate to reflect on the progress we have made on giving healthcare access to Americans, and commit to delivering Medicare for All.
By Dr. Dimitri Drekonja | MinnPost.com
It would be helpful if the public, and certainly medical professionals, understood the basic ways in which we finance health care.
By Dave Dvorak, M.D., M.P.H. | Minnesota Medicine
As Minnesota’s physicians, health care leaders and legislators grapple with the complex changes brought by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many are concerned that even after the law is fully implemented, hundreds of thousands of people will remain uninsured while health care costs continue to spiral.
By Bonnie Blodgett | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Dr. David Dvorak is an emergency room physician. He supports a single-payer system for Minnesota and wants to make one thing clear: “single payer” doesn’t mean socialized medicine.
By Jacob Wheeler | The Uptake (St. Paul, Minn.)
If Minnesota ever adopts a single-payer heath care system, the work of Dr. Elizabeth Frost will be remembered as one of the key reasons for its passage.
By Kip Sullivan | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
So UnitedHealth Group has figured out a way to cut Medicare's costs "without cutting services"? That is how the Star Tribune characterized the organization's self-serving claims in a recent story ("UnitedHealth says Medicare can save big without big cuts," Jan. 20).
By Andrea Parrott | Twin Cities Daily Planet
After daily witnessing situations in which patients suffered or had to make decisions detrimental to their health due to difficulties in accessing health care, Dr. Elizabeth Frost and Dr. Ann Settgast had enough. They felt they had to do something that would allow everyone to have health insurance and so, access to health care. The two decided to found the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).
By Ann Settgast, M.D., and Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | PNHP Minnesota
“Above all other issues, Minnesotans have expressed concern about affordability of care, and they believe the best solution to this problem is a single-payer system.”
By the editors | Minnesota Physician, September 2012
The work of the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) will continue in earnest. While the ACA will be helpful for some patients who gain access to insurance coverage, the legislation will not fix the health care crisis facing our state and nation.
Minnesota Health Care News
The U.S. has much to learn from other wealthy democracies, all of which have truly universal health care systems, most at less than half the cost of ours. There is a constant search in American medicine for the "holy grail" of cost control.
By Ann Settgast, M.D. | Southside Pride (Minneapolis) The day the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was upheld by the Supreme Court was ironic for me as a physician. Two of my patients asked me to prescribe medication for uninsured family members: A mother asked me for an inhaler for her adult son with uncontrolled asthma, and another asked me if I could refill her husband’s blood pressure medications for a month or two until he is able to find another job following his lay off. He cannot see his doctor due to his uninsurance.
By Dave Dvorak, M.D. | Minnesota Medicine
"How much will this cost?” he asks. It’s the question at the heart of any business transaction: Is this new car, this plane ticket, this iPad worth the asking price? But the man sitting before me is not a customer in an automobile showroom or an electronics store. He is my patient in the emergency department, and he is weighing whether to undergo the chest CT scan I have just recommended.
By Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | The Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.), Letters
I think it is interesting that the Supreme Court has upheld the idea that the individual mandate as a tax is constitutional. What does this mean? First of all, it means that we as a nation have decided that health care is a “greater good” -- that everybody deserves health care. Second, we have decided that everyone pays in to health care. We have already decided to do this in Medicare, but now we are extending the concept to everyone.
By Joshua Faucher | Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.), Letters
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is anything but a complete solution to our health care crisis. The bill still will leave at least 26 million devoid of insurance coverage. Equally worrisome, it will force many into a relationship with private insurers for coverage that is too expensive and often incomplete. We must react by implementing the non-profit, single-payer insurance system our country needs and deserves.
Elizabeth Frost, MD | Southside Pride (Minneapolis)
I am a family practice physician and a supporter of single-payer health care for all. There are nearly 1000 doctors and providers in Minnesota that advocate for this kind of public financing of health care. I am not alone. As you know, single-payer has been popular in Minnesota for years. In fact, it has been endorsed by the DFL for over 20 years and is supported by Governor Mark Dayton.
By Ann Settgast, M.D. | The Star Tribune (Minn.)
The need for our hospitals to provide uncompensated care to uninsured and underinsured Minnesotans will continue to grow if we do not fundamentally change our system. Assuming the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, more than 250,000 Minnesotans will remain uninsured, while hundreds of thousands more will rely on skimpy insurance that does not properly protect them from serious financial strain if they fall ill.