Government

Minnesota Nice? Not for Residents of Nursing Homes

Following Andrew Cuomo's deadly example, Minnesota exposes those at highest risk.

Nate Jackson · May 22, 2020

New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo has some undistinguished company. Back in March, Cuomo’s Health Department ordered that the state’s nursing homes must accept recovering COVID-19 patients. The result: Well over 5,000 deaths in nursing homes to date, or roughly 5% of New York’s nursing-home population. (No wonder the state has now switched to undercounting those deaths.) The death toll is numerically far lower in Minnesota, but proportionately it might be even worse.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Early in the pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Health turned to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to relieve the burden on hospitals that were at risk of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.”

Again, the results were predictable: “Statewide, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus has killed more than 600 Minnesotans at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. That is a staggering 81% of the deaths from the pandemic statewide. No other state in the nation that reports such data has such a high percentage of deaths in long-term care.”

This is not to say Minnesota copied Cuomo’s directive, but the deadly results are similar. The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman sums up the Minnesota approach, writing, “The essence of the plan is to forcefully reduce the income of people at low risk, while simultaneously increasing the chances of virus exposure for those at high risk.” Call us crazy, but that sounds unwise. Nevertheless, Minnesota Democrat Governor Tim Walz is so pleased with his state’s government that he’s going ahead with planned pay raises for state workers in July.

(Updated for clarification.)

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