On Aug. 7, I attended the first meeting of the Health Care Financing Task Force as a member of the Land Stewardship Project Healthcare Steering Committee. There were two other LSP members in attendance, along with many members from Take Action Minnesota and its partner organizations, including ISAIAH and the Minnesota Nurses Association.
Although there are no recipients (like my family) of Medicaid, MNCare, or MNsure Exchange Plans on the committee, a number of members mentioned patients in their introductions, including both a nurse and a pediatrician. I was especially impressed by Sahra Noor, the CEO of the People’s Center Health Services. She boldly stated that she is, “the voice of the people who don’t feel part of the conversation.”
I think this especially includes the undocumented immigrants who are never invited to the table, let alone even the room. Later in the meeting, Noor was elected as co-chair of the Health Care Financing Task Force. Monica Hurtado, a health equity and racial justice organizer for Voices for Racial Justice, and Jeff Hayden, the Deputy Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate, echoed Noor’s sentiments.
But overall, there are many voices on the Task Force that represent the companies which are making money off of sick people through the healthcare industry. One member, who is with the Center for the American Experiment, was primarily interested in “market-based solutions.” I wanted to raise my hand and point out the obvious: the market-based system we currently have isn’t working.
This makes it even more important that regular people are there at the meeting, reminding the task force of the real reason it exists—to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible for all people, so that “everybody is in and nobody is out.”