Physician Patient

How will we pay for health care in Minnesota?

Minnesotans are in Jeff Johnson’s debt for a gubernatorial campaign which on health care was positive, instructive, and respectful of the the intelligence and heartfelt concerns of all Minnesotans. In discussing realistic approaches to reigning in our mounting health care costs, Jeff showed depth of understanding, integrity, respect, and skill in the debates with Governor-elect Tim Walz. Walz was similarly respectful, but Jeff exposed Tim’s biggest vulnerability and challenge to health care policy development by asking the the vital question: “Tim, how are you going to pay for this?”

During this election cycle, in their ads Democrats claimed falsely that Republicans (who oppose the ACA) would take away their health care insurance protections for pre-existing, chronic/expensive, medical conditions. This of course is simply not true. But such scaremongering has only temporarily overshadowed a reasoned examination of how to reign in health care costs by promoting competition in a consumer (patient and family)-controlled health care market in Minnesota. Patients and families must have the tools and power to make choices of care and insurance suited to their needs and preferences — while also providing taxpayer support for the poor and disabled among us. We also need a high risk pool (either internal or external) to a patients insurance policy. Considerable work has already been done on this. As Jeff Johnson correctly pointed out during the campaign, we can learn valuable lessons from Minnesota’s pioneering and successful (1976-2013) Minnesota Comprehensive Health association (MCHA) high risk pool program and experience for covering pre-existing conditions.

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