Over the last week I have had many conversations with people and one subject that keeps coming up is: What are we going to do about health care?
While listening to everyone, the consensus is we want healthcare that is affordable and not linked to their job.
These conversations have reinforced my belief that it is time for universal health care in Minnesota. We can do this over time, or we can jump in head first. I have a plan for either direction.
“Jump in head first.” This is the one most people sound like they want, but it will be the hardest to implement because it is an all-in approach. I don't see us getting the support we need from the GOP, so I will work on the other choice first. If we can get enough people on board, I would consider this scenario.
What about a slower conversion to universal health care? This approach, though slower, may be more palatable for those against the concept. One of the other advantages is that many of the problems can be worked out while not affecting everyone in Minnesota.
We start by making a commitment to ensure everyone in need is handled first.
- Add health coverage for every Minnesotan who is currently not insured. Extend MinnesotaCare to cover all these people no matter the income level or employment.
- Make sure the state applies for every federal grant and medical program available so as to reduce the cost where available.
- Move all state employees over to MinnesotaCare. This increases the bargaining power of this insurance pool to negotiate with insurance companies. (The state is currently self insured using three insurance companies so some cost saving may be realized).
- Pass a law that, over the next three years, all doctors and clinics are required to accept Medicare, Medicaid, and MinnesotaCare. In return the state will, for every doctor going to school or graduating and moving to Minnesota to work, we will reimburse their education expenses. Over time we will change to where the state pays as long as you stay in Minnesota.
- State will purchase any clinics that, when managed right, cannot make a profit under this new system. Some of these will be offices in rural Minnesota that currently don't make money because of the low patient numbers. We as a state will continue to run them, as everyone needs access to quality health care no matter where they live.
- The state will issue insurance cards for all citizens so they are covered when traveling across the country or abroad on vacation.
- Adult driver licenses and state IDs will be used as their insurance card.
- Proof of residency will be required so as to keep other states from sending people to Minnesota for treatment.
Give me your ideas of what you would like to see added or subtracted for the above as you see fit. I want this to be a open forum for people to give their honest feedback.