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Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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Labor Leader: Minnesota Insurance Backlog Shows Need For National Solution

September 10, 2009

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A record number of Minnesotans are turning to MinnesotaCare, the state's health insurance for low and moderate income families. People typically apply for MinnesotaCare if they have lost a job that provided insurance or if their employer drops health insurance benefits because of escalating premium costs.

Eliot Seide, president of Minnesota Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), says the backlog of applications highlights the need for a national health care solution.

"People have to wait three months or longer to find out if they even qualify for health insurance. And that means while they're doing that, they're postponing the care they need. The crush of these applicants has doubled the time it takes our members to process applications."

In one month this summer, applications for MinnesotaCare jumped more than 40 percent. The state Department of Human Services has responded by training additional workers, but they have not yet caught up with the backlog.

Seide says the result is more expense for health services, since people wait to treat illnesses until they are more advanced and difficult to treat. Then they often end up in a hospital emergency room - where they also encounter AFSCME workers.

"So, they're calling. And when they call, they're sick, they're scared and they're angry - and we have fewer people than ever to help them."

At a time when MinnesotaCare is needed most, Gov. Pawlenty's state budget cuts some 30,000 Minnesotans from the program, Seide adds.

President Obama plans to speak at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Saturday to promote his proposed health care legislation.


Art Hughes, Public News Service - MN