Why Minnesota’s coronavirus response is different

On Wednesday afternoon, my family gathered in our living room to hear Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announce the next phase in our state’s response to the novel coronavirus. Walz has issued nearly two dozen executive orders pertaining to COVID-19, but this was the big one: a state-wide stay-at-home order running from March 27 through April 10. I will grant from the outset that Minnesota, as a state, is a little self-obsessed. (Woe betide the coastal journalist who runs afoul of us.) So perhaps there is some of that Minnesota bias in play when I say: The plan Walz outlined is unique — in a good a way. Of course,… Read More

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What skyrocketing unemployment means for health insurance

The economic tidal wave set off by the coronavirus is upon us. Last week, a record-setting 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, utterly dwarfing the previous highest week of 695,000 in 1982. All by itself, this will knock the unemployment rate back up to almost 5.5 percent. And the total amount is likely even higher, simply because some people probably weren’t able to file by the time the data was compiled and released. This is a staggering number of Americans who have lost their jobs all at once. For a lot of workers, their job isn’t just a source of paychecks, but of health insurance. Nearly half of all… Read More

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This is why everyone loathes Congress

Where would we be in these troubled times without our federal government? I don’t mean the executive branch, which has, ably or otherwise, gone about the business of governing, much less the Supreme Court, whose justices recently delivered their opinions remotely for the first time since Bush v. Gore in 2000. I am talking about Congress, which for all practical purposes might not have existed since March 18 or so. For weeks now it has been clear to everyone that some sort of comprehensive economic relief package will have to be prepared in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This is especially true for the millions of people employed in the… Read More

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