09 February 2008

Minnesota Health Plan

The Bemidji Pioneer reports that Sen. John Marty, a Minnesota state legislator, led a delegation of freshmen legislators to Bemidji to unveil the Minnesota Health Plan, a bill he introduced late last session and which he hopes will be heard this session.

It would create a single-payer system -- or, as the Legislators introducing the bill prefer, a single-administrator plan. A board, set up by the Legislature, would collect premiums from all Minnesotans -- based on ability to pay.

The plan obviously creates savings by centralized billing and by spreading premiums among all Minnesotans. They take pains to explain that the plan is not socialized medicine as providers such as doctors are still private.

Marty outlined the proposal as:
  • Allowing people to go to the doctor, clinic or hospital of the patient’s choice.
  • The plan covers all medical needs including prescriptions, mental health care, dental services, chiropractic.
  • A patient cannot be rejected because of a pre-existing condition.
  • No deductible or co-payments.
  • Premiums on individuals and businesses are based on ability to pay.
  • The plan is administered by a 15-member public board representing the public, not just insurance company executives.
  • The plan focuses on preventive care and early intervention to keep people healthy and save money.
Marty expects it may take four or five years to make a full change.

Health insurance, he says, is not something we should be selling. It is rather something we should be making sure we all pay into and we all get the service, like we do with police and fire.

Well put.

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