Medicaid changes should prioritize those who need it most
Katie Nelson's recent story ("Health care town hall in Cottage Grove shines light on Medicaid recipients") featured personal stories of those who have benefited from public safety net programs. Good stuff, but unfortunately, focusing on those low-income families, children and those with disabilities for whom Medicaid programs are intended obscures what's really driving unsustainable costs in these programs — the expansion of Medicaid eligibility to childless, able-bodied adults. Conflating the two groups misleads the public to think that any future cuts to Medicaid will disproportionately affect those who really need these programs. That is simply not the case.
At its core, the national debate on health reform has always been about priorities. A stark example of public policy with the wrong priorities is the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Indeed, Obamacare actually diverted critical health resources away from low-income families and the disabled by prioritizing childless, able-bodied adults in its funding formula. For them, Obamacare pays states 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid, whereas the federal match for most vulnerable remained at 50 percent.
As a society, most of us agree with helping those who truly need public assistance. That's why local leaders, including Republican Congressman Jason Lewis, are working to re-prioritize those who need Medicaid most, while making health insurance premiums more affordable for everyone.
Global warming a serious threat to our survival
Robert L. Bradley, Jr. dismisses the impact of methane on global warming (Viewpoint, Aug. 2), pointing out that methane, unlike carbon dioxide, does not persist in the atmosphere for centuries. He cites a persistence of 12 years, though the scientific consensus is closer to 20 years. However, persistence in the atmosphere is only one factor in determining the impact of a greenhouse gas; another important factor is potency, and methane's impact on climate change can be described as "a greenhouse effect on steroids." While it is true that methane does not persist in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, its potency during the two decades it does persist is approximately 86 times that of carbon dioxide. As a result, it is methane that controls how fast global warming occurs.
Yes, there is a cost to reducing methane emissions — about 1 cent per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas, currently selling for around $3 per 1,000 cubic feet — but, that needs to be weighed against the economic and human costs of climate change, which is already having an impact on our world, from the wildfires in our own west, to the carnage in Syria, to the flooding in Florida, the heatwaves in Australia and Europe, drought and starvation in Africa, the death of the Great Barrier Reef. If you think none of this affects us, here, think again; even the Pentagon considers global climate change (which is caused by global warming) a dire threat to our national security.
Bradley writes about regulation as if it were a dirty word, claiming the Bureau of Land Management's methane rule is unnecessary because of "natural incentives to prevent leaks and to capture methane for market." Wait a minute; didn't Bradley, in the very same Viewpoint, dismiss the BLM regulation as economically burdensome? Apparently, reducing methane emissions is economically burdensome and economically beneficial at one and the same time.
Fenton should come up with solutions for Woodbury families
Thank you, Rep. JoAnn Ward, for setting the facts straight regarding Rep. Kelly Fenton's July 27 Viewpoint. With today's acceptance and tolerance of misleading information and bald-faced lies, honesty is valuable in restoring integrity to our government. It is uncomfortable sometimes to publicly disagree with our colleagues. I appreciate and respect transparency and honesty of our elected officials. My husband and I often attend or watch the hearings on TV throughout the session I can say we were confused by Fenton's viewpoint.
The Republicans for some reason want to invest in private prisons rather than our seniors, our small business owners, education and health care for all. Honestly look at the facts. They continue to give tax breaks to big corporations, tobacco, insurance companies and Big Pharma while everyone else pays more to cover the difference. That is a fact.
Why do we keep falling for the same gimmicks of the GOP? The fact is low- and middle-income folks invest all of their money back into the economy. This is how we grow the economy. Not tax breaks to the wealthiest 1,100 estates so they can become wealthier and invest their tax break money in other countries, often not Minnesota's economy.
Tuition is going to go up with the GOP tuition freeze. When will we learn defunding quality programs is costly and harmful and actually increases taxes in the long run? The reality is it is more difficult for our young people to get a good start in life. The Republican philosophy I have witnessed and I have heard recently is if you can pay for it you are entitled to more. If you are sick, poor, or less fortunate you made bad choices.
Why is it that the Republicans continue to message not telling the whole truth about the real message that they are trying to convey? This is "fake news." The very people accusing others of "fake news" are the perpetrators.
While I like Fenton as a person, I certainly don't appreciate her not telling the whole story as to what is really happening. If you're truly working for Woodbury families, then please come up with solutions for Woodbury families as opposed to more hardships for Woodbury families. Minnesota deserves better.
Area resources available for homeless
I wanted to thank you for the July 27 article on homelessness in Washington County. I wanted to add two important resources that were left out of the article.
Hope for the Journey is a family shelter located on the grounds of Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale. It is the only shelter for families in Washington County.
The Northstar Youth Outreach Center in Maplewood is a drop-in center for homeless youth and young adults located in Maplewood and is one of the few resources for youth in the east metro.
As your article states, homelessness does exist in the suburbs. Many churches and community organizations are doing what they can, but the need is great. I hope others in Washington County will take part to address this growing problem.
Dennis Sanders, pastor
First Christian Church