CAMPAIGN 2000: U.S. Sen. Contender Wants Univ. Coverage
University of Minnesota professor and physician Steve Miles yesterday announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Rod Grams (R), and promised a campaign prioritizing universal health care. "Every person in this room -- every person in this state -- needs affordable, high-quality, comprehensive health care from a physician of their choice. That's our birthright -- our nation should do no less," he said. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Miles chaired a state health advocacy group, Minnesotans for Affordable Health Care, that was successful in getting the state's "landmark health insurance program for the working poor" enacted in 1992, and "was a member of a White House task force that worked on President Clinton's unsuccessful health care effort." He said, "We lost track of what the goal was ... to create universal, affordable health care for everybody. We've moved further away from that goal in [the] last 10 years, even as the stock market has gone up" (Ragsdale, 6/15). Miles, who will seek the nomination of the Democratic Farmers Labor Party, the state's Democratic party, said the Senate "has plenty of lawyers [and] could probably use a scientist and doctor." The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the "long shot" candidate, who said he won't accept donations from the tobacco or gun lobbies, "made news two years ago when he took on the state Board of Medical Practice. The board had questioned his fitness because he had been successfully treated for bipolar disorder." Two other Democrats, a former U.S. attorney and a former Minneapolis city council member, have already declared their candidacy for Grams' seat (Smith, 6/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.