We’re number six! We’re number six!

It’s not exactly the cheer proud Minnesotans are accustomed to when it comes to health. After all, for four years in a row we were the number one healthiest state in the nation, according to the United Health Foundation. Health has always been one of the centerpieces of our vaunted Minnesota quality of life, but this is the third straight year we’ve been trending downward.

If we stopped dropping at number six, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But unfortunately, the future may not look so great either. The Minnesota news media reported on Minnesota’s sixth place rating, but none of them connected the policy dots to describe where Minnesota appears to be headed in coming years. As the liberal policy think tank Minnesota 20-20 points out:

The Governor’s cuts to GAMC (General Assistance Medical Care, a state-funded program for low-income adults who have no dependent children and who do not qualify for federally funded health care programs) will increase our number of uninsured come March 1, since not all GAMC recipients are qualified for the automatic transfer to MinnesotaCare. After the six month grace period is over, it is likely that many GAMC recipients will be unable to maintain their coverage through MinnesotaCare due to the procedural requirements and cost. The discontinuation of GAMC is part of a larger $1 billion cut to Health and Human Services and it remains to be seen just how these cuts will affect other programs.
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Most of what Minnesota does well (in the United Health Foundation ratings measurements): low premature death rate, a low rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease, low infant mortality comes from the fact that we have a low rate of uninsured people in the state, but if this changes with the end to GAMC and overall cuts to the Department of Human Services, it is a good chance that there will be negative consequences to our low premature death rate, low cardiovascular deaths, and low infant mortality.

The once proud number one healthiest state is now envious of states in the top five. Will we soon be envious of states in the top ten or fifteen? We get a lot of news stories about the political gamesmanship aspects of unallotment. How about more stories about the quality-of-life impacts of the Governor’s unilateral cutting?

– Lovelandsba nice