Senate candidate says student health insurance is too high

by Megan Boldt

University professor and DFL candidate for U.S. Senate, Dr. Steve Miles challenged the University and other higher-education institutions Wednesday morning to offer affordable, comprehensive health insurance for students.
“It’s the purpose of education to open up life opportunities,” Miles said. “For students who need medical treatment while they’re being educated, they cannot have those opportunities opened.”
Miles said the health insurance offered to college students is too costly and covers too little.
He compared the University’s student plan to small-group plans. Unlike the University’s plan, small-group plans do not have limits on prescription drugs and offer less expensive drug co-pays, Miles said.
“The University plan also has very costly insurance for children of students,” Miles said.
Dependents of students do not receive coverage for prescription drugs, Miles added. This is hard for children with chronic diseases such as asthma and epilepsy, he said.
“Student government, the University and legislators must work together to offer students several choices of health plans to enhance competition, lower prices and improve benefits,” Miles said.
Dave Golden, director of public health marketing and program development at Boynton Health Service, said offering more choices to students would raise costs.
Miles never contacted Boynton to get information on the insurance plan, Golden added, and students do have other options.
“Students are not required to take the University’s plan,” he said.
Obtaining affordable insurance for students is just part of Miles’ general health care reform plan.
He has focused his attention on farmers’ and seniors’ health care insurance needs. The problem facing students is an important facet of the current system, he said.
Miles said every American needs to be covered by a comprehensive health care program and legislators need to do whatever it takes to get it done.
Health care is not the only issue concerning Miles, though.
“Properly financing Social Security and continuing education throughout one’s life cycle is also important,” Miles said.
He pointed out the inadequacies in the special-education programs for children and called for a change.
Miles and his wife adopted a daughter with fetal alcohol syndrome and supplied a large amount of the money needed for education out of their pockets, because of the lack of funding for special-education programs.
“We could overcome those barriers because I had the resources to do it,” Miles said, pointing out most people are not in the same situation.
Miles announced in June he will run against Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., for U.S. Congress later this year.

Megan Boldt covers state government and welcomes comments at She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3212.