Health Care Reform
As an economist specializing in health care issues, for the last 20 years health care has been both a passion and a profession for me. I have met repeatedly with our DFL representatives to discuss health care policy issues, and have participated in panel discussions, presentations, and meetings in our community to work for health care reform. I served on Governor Dayton's Health Care Finance Task Force in 2015-16, a bipartisan group of 29 individuals. The task force agreed on 33 recommendations for the legislature to pursue to reform health care in Minneosta.
Minnesota can be a leader in Health Care Reform.
While listening to voters I have learned that health care is an important issue to many people, not just myself. Like many of us, I would like to see a single payer system in both the U.S. and in Minnesota. However, so far we have been unable to get the votes in congress or the legislature to pass single payer. In the meantime, I believe strongly that we need to continue work to deal with the problems in health care. I was a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)-- Obamacare -- and am very happy with its success in providing health insurance for 14 million Americans and 400,000 of Minnesotans. MNsure, our state health insurance exchange, has the lowest premiums in the country and has reduced the number of uninsured by 40%. I am a strong advocate for the MinnesotaCare buy-in program which will increase access to affordable health insurance.
Obamacare was never intended to be a finished product. The upcoming election is critical for health care reform. Legislators in the 2019 session will need to pass legislation in order to apply federal waivers to introduce significant reform in Minnesota. I would certainly advocate for and vote to support single payer, but if it does not pass, there are other ideas that should be implemented and evaluated.
One idea is to pursue offering a public option on MNsure that enrolls state employees, and possibly other large groups, such as University of Minnesota employees and educators. This option could evolve into a single-payer system as the pool of enrollees grows over time.
To control the growth of health care spending and to eliminate price discrimination, I would advocate for different forms of payments to health service organizations, such as payments based on actual costs, capitation and global budgeting. These payment methods are practiced successfully outside the U.S. and can be structured to reward the use of services scientifically proven to improve patient care while lowering costs. These savings, along with substantial administrative savings, can be used to fund affordable health care for all Minnesotans.
It is easy to get lost in the technicalities of health care and our struggles with the GOP, but I never lose sight of the fact that in the end this is about real people facing some of the hardest and most terrifying experiences of their lives and having to fight to be able to afford or even to obtain the care they and their children need. As DFLers, we need to be in their corner fighting to make health care available, affordable, and excellent in Minnesota.
Health care should not bankrupt families in our state or our nation.
I strongly support the DFL principle that quality health care is a right for all Americans. In St. Paul I offer tools, knowledge and passion to fix our broken health care system.