Want health insurance? Just fill out this application, and wait 6 months . . .
The first time Ama Tullah tried to get into Minnesota's health care program for the poor, she gave up. The second time, she made it through the 24-page application, then waited six months before learning she was approved.
Makes qualifying for regular health insurance a piece of cake.
As lawmakers in Minnesota and elsewhere search for ways to get health insurance for everyone, little is said about the millions of people who currently qualify for public health care - but aren't enrolled.
Little is said. Wonder why?
Many don't know they qualify. Others are daunted by complex forms that can rival IRS documents. Some, like Tullah, have their applications delayed by red tape. In Minnesota alone, as many as 60 percent of the state's 383,000 uninsured could be eligible; nationally, the figure is estimated at about a quarter of the 46 million uninsured.
25% can qualify for existing plans. Why isn't anyone talking about this?
Perhaps because it is not newsworthy.
She plans to apply for MinnesotaCare, which has higher income limits, but has to wait for Medical Assistance to deny her coverage. Meanwhile, her 1-year-old daughter Tasneem's Medical Assistance coverage is in limbo because they submitted some paperwork late.
Tullah and her family live in a modest apartment complex in this northern Twin Cities suburb. But perhaps not for long; Tullah says they're thinking of moving to Massachusetts, which is aiming for universal health coverage.
Leaving taxpayer funded health insurance in MN to go on taxpayer funded health insurance in MA.
I'm sure the folks in MA are happy about that.