It’s difficult for small businesses to offer health care coverage benefits because most don’t have a large pool of employees that would allow them to consolidate costs, making them less competitive with larger corporations. Against the wishes of small business owners, provisions for a small business benefits pool were cut out of MNSure legislation when it was enacted. Now there is other legislation being considered that would help relieve small businesses of this inequity.
Would you support a proposed MinnesotaCare buy-in program?
Yes. In fact, I authored the legislation that would seek the federal waivers necessary to allow a MinnesotaCare buy-in option for anyone who wants to participate. In 2014, I passed legislation that expanded a public option for school employees, and they are seeing lower costs and higher-quality care. I believe this is the first step we can take as we move toward a single-payer health system, which is why I am a co-author on Sen. John Marty’s Minnesota Health Plan. As you know, healthcare costs are out of control. Minnesotans and employers are paying more and more in premiums, copays, and deductibles and getting less care in return from increasingly smaller networks of providers. Starting with a MinnesotaCare buy-in program and then moving to single-payer will take a big burden off employers and employees and help ensure a healthy workforce necessary to build a strong Minnesota economy.
Peggy and I support expanding MinnesotaCare to all Minnesotans. I ran for Congress in 2006 on the basis that healthcare is a human right and I proudly fought, and voted, for the Affordable Care Act. Through an expanded MinnesotaCare option we will be able to harness the the power of small businesses and their employees to bargain for lower healthcare costs, including prescriptions. However, we also recognize that expanding Minnesota’s public option is just a start, ultimately, we need to enact a single-payer system, and as Governor I will fight to put us on a path towards single-payer healthcare.
No. My approach would be just the opposite: Take action to increase options and choices for consumers and bring back Minnesota’s high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions.