Wednesday, April 12, 2006


This morning (April 12, 2006) on Minnesota Public Radio was a long piece about the Migrant Health System which is headquartered in Moorhead MN. BOY do I take exception with what the announcer was saying. First of all he was talking about how poor the migrants are that come to this area.

Talking about the fact that they make only 7,000 per year each. HMMM I wonder what planet this guy is on. First of all he's not taking into consideration that they do this in about 4 places through the year. The folks that would work in our sugarbeet fields also went to Wisconsin to pick Melons, and California to pick vegetables and owned homes and worked in Texas. One year when they left (and we had paid them some 30,000 dollars for their 2 months here) they went to town and bought an almost new pickup. I was tangling with an activist for migrants back in 1979 on KOA radio from Denver in the middle of the night in August that year.

It just happened that I knew the talk show host (we had both gone to Brown together). So after hearing the garbage that was coming out of this activist's mouth I just had to call in. When the host realized it was me, he introduced me and qualified me to the activist and the audience as being a 4th generation sugarbeet farmer in the Red River Valley, and someone who he knew to tell the truth. I explained to this guy the facts of our hiring this family (which we had had work for us for many years, who always came back here and who I knew since I was a little kid). I told him how much we paid them and then mentioned that with that money they went to town and bought an almost new pickup for 9,000 dollars. He of course instantly responded with, "well they move around the country, they need good transportation!" I countered with, "I absolutly agree with you Sir, however I thought that the THOUSAND dollar paint job was a little over the top. I don't have much financial sympathy for someone who pays a grand for a paint job on a 9,000 dollar pickup (remember it was 1979) when I'm driving an old Ford with a shift on the column!

But back to this morning's story. Anyway a featured "migrant" was a woman who had been in Moorhead for the last four years. (insert record scratching noise here) WAIT A MINUTE, STOP THE MUSIC. A migrant is a person who "migrates" who travels from place to place in a years time to find work, usually moving with the harvests or seasons. If this lady was in one place for FOUR years, she was NOT a migrant! So then what qualified her for free medical care at the Migrant Health Center? The fact that she was of Hispanic descent?

I don't fault this woman for seeking out health care, and I don't mind that it was provided to her for a co-pay of 8 to 20 dollars. What I DO NOT LIKE is the fact that we're not calling this what it is. This is a poor woman who needs health services NOT a MIGRANT farm worker passing through the Valley. I've had health coverage every month of my life since I was 15 years old. My premium started out at 12 dollars a month. Now I'm going to be 55 and my premium is approaching 600 a month. Can I dump my insurance and just show up at one of these places and get a voucher for care for under 20 bucks? It time we equalized the system. If everyone is insured, or covered in some fair way, then I only have to pay for my insurance, not participate in a wealth RE-distribution scandal. WHERE ARE POLITICANS WITH BACKBONES???

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