Letter: Health care equity commission is much needed

Published 8:30 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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I was born and raised in Albert Lea, returning in 2010. I was here for the Mayo mess (created not by local medical employees, but by decision-makers in Rochester!) That decision profoundly impacted Albert Lea, Freeborn County, and others living outside the immediate area. Unfortunately, we are not alone. Problems with health care access and affordability exist throughout the state.

Now, Minnesota as a whole has the opportunity to increase the health and well-being of its citizens, and avoid such traumatic — and greedy — decisions. The state Legislature is considering a bill that establishes the Commission for Equity in Health Care Services. One of its primary goals is to provide rural communities with the voice and power to protect their access to localized health care.

Once in place, the commission will travel the state to collect stories and data about how the failure of this system is impacting individuals and communities. From this, the commission can better discern why so many Minnesotans can’t afford to get sick or hurt. It will also indicate why rural health services are shrinking when so much money is being poured into health care. (In 2022, Americans spent $4.5 trillion on this care, or $13,493 per person.)

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This bill is also about transparency. It’s about collecting the needed information, which the commission will provide the Legislature. The commission will also provide recommendations. This, in turn, will help the Legislature address both the shrinking access and the rising costs.

I ask and encourage you to contact your political representatives to support the passage of this legislation.

Daphne Hamborg
Albert Lea