Land Stewardship is about what is good for the land, good for community and good for people. Affordable health insurance like MinnesotaCare is good for people.
I have lived, worked and attended school in the City of Winona for nearly 40 years. My parents moved here in 1989 to spend the end of their lives with me. I was the Director of Security at Saint Mary’s University. I reaped all the benefits that a professional position has to offer: health care, vacation, a workable budget. I left Saint Mary’s in 1993.
A series of personal events altered my work patterns. My younger brother was killed tragically in 1991. My best friend passed away suddenly in 1993. While we were negotiating my brother’s estate my father was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1994. My mother was 75-years-old. She had never lived alone.
Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She was already physically stressed with insulin- dependent diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. I admit my dad had always spoiled her a bit and now I became her sole caregiver. I worked jobs that would accommodate her needs. When one job would interfere with the kind of schedule she needed, I‘d just find another one. She passed away in 2006.
I have had a wide variety of jobs. I have delivered pizza and flowers, driven a school bus, motor coaches, a city bus and a taxi. I have done bookkeeping for tax preparers, a home health care agency and an electrician. I worked at a convenience store and have been a security guard.
Most of these jobs had varied hours each week. I often had two of these jobs at a time. They all have one thing in common though—not one ever offered me a health insurance plan. I was without insurance for over 15 years. I paid my medical bills totally out-of-pocket.
In 2011, I found MinnesotaCare. I am plagued with osteoarthritis and my knees deteriorated to the point that I could barely walk. I was 59-years-old. MinnesotaCare gave me two total knee replacements. MinnesotaCare gave me good prescription coverage. MinnesotaCare allowed me to work at jobs that did not offer health insurance. MinnesotaCare gave me hope and a healthier mental outlook by giving me access to doctors of my choice. These doctors helped to reduce my pain and improve my health.
I believe all Minnesotans should have health insurance. I believe MinnesotaCare is the helping hand that working people need to obtain health insurance when it is not available. I wish I had found it earlier. Prevention could have reduced some of the complications that have risen now that I am in my 60s. I think there are a lot of people out there that could benefit having access to MinnesotaCare. It would be terrible to lose a program that is this good for working people.
Thank you to the people that support this program and recognize the number of uninsured working poor there are in Minnesota.