A colloquy with Sen. Shafer about Grady

A few days ago, I received an email from state Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) asking me to give him a call. Well, I did, and the resulting conversation was about his Reforming Grady legislation.

From our conversation, I could gather that Sen. Shafer genuinely wants to keep Grady from closing, but he wants to do it by offering a long-term solution to the problem. I expressed to Sen. Shafer that throwing more money at a problem does not always solve a problem. Even if the state came in and bailed Grady out, eventually the state’s funds would run dry and Grady would back in the same position it’s in today; strapped for cash and looking for someone to bail them out again. In other words, throwing more money at Grady is a short-term solution to a long-term problem, and I would much rather get it right the first time instead of having to re-visit the issue again and again and again.

I shared with the Senator my thoughts of what needed to be done to save Grady, and I believe that a fundamental change in the way the hospital operates has to occur in order to keep the doors of Grady open.

I find it somewhat amusing that both Sen. Shafer and I graced the pages of Creative Loafing last week; him for responding to Cynthia Tucker’s criticisms of his reforming Grady proposals; me for suggesting that Shafer get a female, black, liberal, Democrat to co-sponsor the bill with him in the Senate.

To my knowledge, no such person has stepped forward, but there’s still time left.


  1. BubbaRich says:

    I agree, of course, that we need a long-term solution to the funding problem, not just another bail-out. With our national healthcare system in the shape it’s in right now, though, we have to make sure that our answer isn’t “let the poor people die on the street instead of treating them.” With the huge area Grady serves, state money should fund it as an important adjunct to the local governments’ money. I still think federal money would continue current problems.

    I wouldn’t be alive if not for Grady’s excellent care of my severe brain injury in December, and my insurance companies have paid tens of thousands of dollars for that work. I’d like to see Grady remain available as an excellent resource.

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