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Investing in Minnesota's Health

    It is time for Minnesota to lead the nation in real health reform -- universal, single-payer health care that will make Minnesotans healthier, save money, and stimulate the economy. John Marty is the chief author of the Minnesota Health Plan (MHP), and growing numbers of Minnesotans from every community are recognizing that the MHP is the only solution on the table that meets our health care needs, and that the recent health legislation in Washington makes the MHP more necessary than ever.

    People recognize John Marty’s leadership on the MHP (more information about the plan below), but first have two big questions about it: “Can we afford it?” and “Can we pass it?”

    “Can We Afford It?” Yes. The MHP actually costs less than Minnesotans are spending now! By addressing the costly insurance bureaucracy, the countless billing clerks in every clinic and hospital, the lack of cost-saving preventive care, and the expensive ER care for uninsured and under-insured Minnesotans, the MHP would save government, employers and individuals billions of dollars per year in health care costs. The MHP would replace current premiums paid by individuals and employers, as well as co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses, with sliding-scale premiums that would fund the Minnesota Health Plan. Everyone would contribute to the plan, and everyone would benefit. With the MHP, Minnesota families will no longer go bankrupt from medical bills. And, at the rate health care costs are rising, the reality is that we can no longer afford not to have the Minnesota Health Plan. For additional information about the costs and savings of the Minnesota Health Plan, click here.

    Can We Pass It? Yes! With your support, we can. But it will not be easy. Health care is one-sixth of our economy, far bigger than all of state government. Putting it into a rational system is not as simple as passing "another important piece of legislation."

    In fact, this may well become the biggest political and economic reform in Minnesota history, and consequently could become the biggest political fight of our lives. When the insurance lobby gears up, they will spend millions of dollars attacking the plan through TV ads, mailings, and heavy lobbying. The pressure will be intense, and many legislative supporters will back away from it.

    Passing the MHP requires legislators willing to fight for it. John Marty has done far more than offer verbal support to health care reform: He designed and wrote the MHP, and has been publicly and vocally promoting the MHP everywhere, including to businesses and conservative groups. Under John's leadership, the MHP is already making great progress in the legislature.

    A look at the current health care crisis, and why the Minnesota Health Plan is the answer.

    The Problem: The current system of private health insurance is failing Minnesota in too many ways. Many people lack quality, reliable health care coverage, and the combined government, employer and individual costs of health care are bankrupting our state and far too many people. The short and long-term costs associated with the deficiencies in our current system are many: We sustain high costs of care for the uninsured. We have higher crime costs from untreated mental health and chemical dependency. Many delay getting the care they need for financial reasons, ultimately getting sicker and needing more costly care later. Many are locked in jobs that don't fit their talents in order to keep health insurance. Employers continue to experience higher and higher costs. Health professionals, families and seniors endure endless paperwork at all the wrong times. And our premiums and co-pays continue to go up. All this while insurance companies pay out huge salaries and deny people needed care.

    Incremental efforts have badly failed to address this reality. We waste time and money every year in the state legislature patching together short-term solutions that do not fully take advantage of opportunities for system-wide costs savings. We cover a few more people here and there, but in the end have a higher number of uninsured Minnesotans now than we did ten years ago. We experience skyrocketing premiums and co-pays, and the length of the list of disqualifying pre-existing conditions grows each year. Health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate.

    It is time for comprehensive health care reform in Minnesota. Smart reform, that will save money and lives. We need a Senator like John Marty who will fight for true reform.

    The Solution: The single-payer Minnesota Health Plan. John Marty designed and authored the Minnesota Health Plan, a single, statewide health plan that would cover all Minnesotans for all their medical and dental needs. It will not only keep people healthier and save them from bankruptcy, but it will help to balance the state budget by reducing health and human service costs, and it will do more to create jobs than anything else.

    While it is worth applauding the recent federal changes that will help many, we cannot lose sight of what we really need -- affordable health care for everyone, no exceptions. The recent federal reform is a big step forward, but neither the federal legislation, nor any other proposal here in Minnesota truly fixes our health care crisis.*

    Why the Minnesota Health Plan?

      • No other health reform proposal covers everyone.

      • No other health reform proposal covers all medical needs.

      • No other health reform proposal gives patients their choice of provider.

      • No other health reform proposal addresses the shortage of primary care doctors, nurses, dentists, and other providers.

      • No other health reform proposal prevents both insurance companies and the government from denying healthcare.

      • No other health reform proposal saves money.

        Under the Minnesota Health Plan, patients would be able to see the medical providers of their choice when they need care, and their coverage by the MHP would not end when they lose their job or switch to a new employer. Consumers would use the same doctors and medical professionals, the same hospitals and clinics, but all the payments, covering all of the costs, would be made by the MHP, and everyone would be covered. The MHP would cover all medical needs, including dental care, prescription drugs, optometry, mental health services, chemical dependency treatment, and medical supplies and equipment.

        There would be no time-consuming and divisive MinnesotaCare and GAMC battles at the Capitol. No more insurance company horror stories. No more lives ruined and families bankrupted by lack of adequate health care. Neither insurance companies nor government could take away your health care or interfere with your doctor/patient relationship.

        That is the Minnesota with the Minnesota Health Plan, and that is the Minnesota John Marty is fighting for.

        For additional details about the costs and savings of the Minnesota Health Plan, see MN Health Plan: Savings and Costs.

        [*Note on the recent federal legislation: The recent health reform in DC is an important, but expensive and short-term, improvement. It improves conditions for people who are currently without any health insurance, and for those denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, it is based on health insurance, not health care. As a result, it is not universal, as it leaves millions of people uninsured, and doesn't cover many medical needs such as dental care, chemical dependency treatment, and prescription drugs. Rather than simplifying and streamlining, it adds yet another layer of bureaucracy on top of our already complex and bureaucratic system.]

        Senator Marty has a long record of courageous and outspoken leadership on issues facing Minnesota. Perhaps the best way to illustrate his vision and leadership is to use his own words. Click on the links below to see John's columns on some key issues facing Minnesota.