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Health Care

Minnesota has long been cited as a leader in health care, boasting relatively low rates of uninsured, innovative programs for low income people and those with high risk conditions, a history of cooperation and collaboration to improve outcomes and share best practices, internationally recognized medical research and education, leadership in the med-tech industry and a healthier than average population. Despite being a stand-out in high value care, reforms, including innovation in health care delivery, have failed to diminish racial disparities in health or guarantee affordable access to quality care for all Minnesotans. Our health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate. Minnesotans are losing ground.

Growth & Justice set out to investigate whether, by moving toward a unified system and thereby reducing fragmentation, administrative complexity and fraud, and by countering the pricing power of our consolidated insurance and provider markets, Minnesota can establish stable, affordable access to health care for every Minnesotan without increasing total health care spending.
 

Current situation critical

More than 10% of Minnesotans are uninsured and an increasing number of employers are dropping employee coverage. Premium increases are far outstripping pay increases and patients are expected to pay a growing share of health care expenses out-of-pocket.  Read More
 

Health insurance reforms inadequate so far

The 2010 passage of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the months preceding and following its passage put health care reform in the headlines. Should the ACA survive court challenges and be fully implemented, it will expand access to insurance. It will not, however, achieve universal access and will fall far short of needed cost containment targets. States can, and must, continue to be laboratories for reform.  Read More
 

The cost problem

There are legitimate concerns about duplication of services due to poor coordination and the over-reliance on scans and elective or invasive procedures, but overall our spending is not due to excessive doctor visits or hospitalizations. We must continue to reduce medical errors and address the provision of marginally beneficial or potentially worthless medical interventions by changing incentives for physicians, improving health coordination and facilitating comparative effectiveness research, but not by erecting financial barriers which discourage patients from seeking medical care.  Read More
 

Achieving universal coverage with a unified system

The United States has a fragmented health care system that arose piecemeal rather than by design. The patchwork complexity of our system is administratively wasteful and economically unsuitable. A unified system is administratively simpler, more equitable, has monopsony power to lower prices, addresses public health and relieves employers from the unwanted responsibility of negotiating and managing health insurance.  Read More
 

What is next?

If Minnesota is to move toward implementation of a unified system such as the one modeled here, additional legal, economic, structural and political hurdles need to be addressed. Our public and private sector have the expertise and know-how to address these challenges and could plan for a transition over the next several years, if evidence can trump ideological hurdles.  Read More


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