Rep. Andrew Carlson (50B) – Legislative Update
In case you missed it – click here to read my letter to the editor in the Bloomington Sun Current describing the first month of session as the good (passing premium relief), the bad (allowing for-profit HMOs to operate in Minnesota for the first time in almost 50 years), and the ugly (a provision that was defeated which allowed health insurance companies to pick and choose what they will cover).
Recently, Governor Dayton proposed offering a MinnesotaCare buy-in on the Minnesota health insurance exchange to provide another choice. In 1992, Republican Governor Arne Carlson and a bipartisan group of legislators created MinnesotaCare, which is a state-operated health insurance plan that some eligible Minnesotans could choose to purchase for themselves or their families. Now over 100,000 Minnesotans rely on MinnesotaCare for lower-cost health coverage. Here are five quick facts about MinnesotaCare:
- MinnesotaCare works – this is a bipartisan solution that has been working in Minnesota for 25 years, and the wrinkles have been worked out.
- Enrollees pay their own way – this is not free health care. The premiums paid by the “MinnesotaCare Buy-In” enrollees pay for the cost of their policies and this would require no ongoing costs to Minnesota taxpayers.
- MinnesotaCare offers high quality health coverage for less. Right now the average estimated monthly premium is $469 per person, which is almost $70 cheaper than the current state premium average.
- MinnesotaCare provides access to more doctors and better access to care.
- The MinnesotaCare Buy-In program is a sustainable option for Minnesotans with no ongoing costs to taxpayers. After an initial startup cost, the MinnesotaCare Buy-in would be funded entirely by the premiums of those who by the coverage. With less than a 3% overhead, MinnesotaCare has already proven it is more efficient, competitive, and accountable than many commercial health plans.
Speaking of health care. On Valentine’s Day I was visited by some nurses who live in the community. It was a pleasure hearing their stories about why they do what they do. There is no question, nurses put the care in health care.
I would appreciate hearing your input on the MinnesotaCare Buy-In or if you or someone you know has personal experience with MinnesotaCare. I value your input.