Letters - Mar 2024

We like ucare medicare advantage plan
Read your column in the Southwest Connector on Medicare Advantage plans. Would like to point out the following:
Medicare Advantage plans are all different. You can’t lump them together. My husband and I have had UCare Medicare Advantage plans for many years and have been very happy. The comment that Mayo Clinic does not accept Medicare Advantage plans is incorrect. It may be that they don’t accept all, and it also may be that some MA plans don’t include the Mayo in their coverage. But my husband has had multiple surgeries and cancer treatment (including radiation and chemotherapy) at the Mayo Clinic and his UCare Medicare Advantage plan coverage was accepted and offered exceptionally good coverage.
My experience has only been with UCare MA plans, but they make things very easy. Only one insurer to deal with. In comparison, my mother had traditional Medicare and supplemental private coverage through my late dad’s employer. That meant two sets of paperwork to deal with (and for some people, there’s also a separate Part D coverage). When she went on Medicaid after exhausting her assets, I was then dealing with paperwork for Medicare, Medicaid, her private insurance and a separate group that covered medications. A ridiculous amount of time was spent figuring out who would pay for what. What is unfortunate is that it is so confusing to choose a Medicare plan. Seniors are faced with multiple options and even have to figure out which of their medications will be covered. But I believe it’s unfair to disparage all Medicare Advantage plans.
Thanks, Judy Matysik
Thanks for the ‘small’ human interest stories
I just want to mention how much I appreciate the Southwest Connector, and to especially compliment the paper on the recent article by Jill Boogren regarding the two students from the Yinghua Academy. 
The recent article was both uplifting and satisfying -  its great to expose a wider audience to the existence of immersion schools such as this one, and to show the impact they can have on children’s lives. Global travel is an awesome way to broaden horizons and get to know how much we all have in common with people of other cultures and languages, and the two young girls described in the article both sound amazing. Well done girls, and well done Jill Boogren  for her really outstanding article about their experience. 
This is the type of “small” story that will never make the main newspaper yet can be so meaningful, especially in todays partisan climate. It was feel good, but also educational and made me proud of Minneapolis, for supporting schools such as this one and also of the Southwest Connector, for seeing the value in writing about it.
Thank you for providing a balance between hard, factual, neighborhood news and interesting human interest stories. Keep up the good work!!
Cindy Mertens, Southwest Minneapolis
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “33.9% of Minnesota women and 25.1% of Minnesota men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetime”. That means that around one-third of the woman in Minnesota, and one-fourth of the men in Minnesota have experienced some form of domestic abuse in their life. 
The topic of domestic abuse isn’t ever talked about because it can be a hard thing to discuss, but without acknowledging what’s happening nothing is going to change. A lot of time the response to domestic violence is very reactive, but not necessarily proactive. There needs to be a very significant investment in funding for organizations. According to The National Network to End Domestic Violence, “Tens of thousands of adults and children receive desperately needed services from local domestic violence programs. Tragically, thousands more are turned away because programs simply do not have the resources to meet their needs.” Many people experience homelessness and other issues because of the affects of domestic abuse. To work towards ending domestic violence people across Minnesota need to advocate for change by contacting their elected officials and pay attention to legislation surrounding domestic violence. Another way to show support is to go to memorials, protests, or donate to local organizations that support domestic abuse victims. Contributing will create a safer environment for everyone in Minnesota.
Pheobe Abbs, Lynnhurst
For eight years, Minnesotans have pleaded with our lawmakers to allow terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option of medical aid in dying. Last year, it became personal for me, so I joined the fight. At the end of 2021, I started experiencing trouble speaking and swallowing. Once, while trying to yell to an ice hockey teammate, I realized I just couldn’t push out the breath to speak to him. That cemented for me that there was something seriously wrong. Through a series of various tests and meetings with multiple doctors at different hospitals, almost a full year later, I received a diagnosis of bulbar amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The bulbar variant of ALS means that my speech, swallowing, and lungs are first affected, then my limbs.
I’m not afraid of death, but of the painful process of dying in slow motion from ALS. As I face the years ahead with this fatal, progressive disease, I want to avoid the unnecessary suffering that I know is coming. I would rather spend quality time with my family, peacefully moving on to whatever is next before I completely lose the capacity to speak, then swallow, then breathe. I want to be able to say goodbye to my loved ones while I still have my autonomy and in a way that provides them with good, not painful, memories of our last days together.
Minnesota lawmakers, rightly, have made bodily autonomy a priority by protecting reproductive and gender-affirming medical care. The right to make decisions about our own bodies should apply at the end of life, too. If you agree, please contact the elected officials who represent you in St. Paul. Ask them to pass the End-of-Life Options Act this year. I, and people like me, can’t wait.
Paul Albin, Minneapolis


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