Lawmaker's view: Minnesota again leads in health careIn 1992, a year before I first arrived at the state Legislature, lawmakers passed MinnesotaCare. It set a national standard for how a state should care for its uninsured.
By: Rep. Tom Huntley, Duluth News Tribune
In 1992, a year before I first arrived at the state Legislature, lawmakers passed MinnesotaCare. It set a national standard for how a state should care for its uninsured.
But in the years since Minnesota has slipped a bit. We’ve seen our ranks of uninsured grow as St. Paul failed to address the issue.
This year lawmakers once again stepped up and, in doing so, returned the state to the forefront of how we care for our citizens.
On Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law an expansion of Medical Assistance eligibility. The law will provide access to quality health-care coverage for an additional 35,000 low-
income adults. It is a key component of the federal Affordable Care Act. This legislation allows us to cover more Minnesotans with health insurance and, at the same time, get more bang for Minnesota taxpayers’ buck. In addition, this helps our hospitals across the state and is better for our economy and state budget moving forward. This is a win-win for all Minnesotans.
The expansion of Medical Assistance eligibility will provide $129 million in projected savings for the 2014-15 biennium. That’s in addition to the $1.3 billion Minnesota already is expected to save by 2015 as a result of the Affordable Care Act. And it will bring an additional $1.7 million for our state’s hospitals and doctors.
I have fought for years to insure Minnesotans who cannot afford insurance — and not just because it is the decent thing to do. It makes financial sense for the average Minnesotan as well. The greater the number of Minnesotans with insurance the fewer cases of the uninsured seeking costly uncompensated care in emergency rooms. It has been a hidden tax on Minnesotans who do have health insurance. For a family that pays $15,000 a year for insurance, an estimated $1,000 goes to pay for uncompensated care.
There’s more work to do on the health-care front. But this law should cheer all who want to see Minnesota return to the greatness it once was.
Rep. Tom Huntley is a DFLer from Duluth who represents District 7A in the Minnesota House.