Every single person is entitled to the health care they need when they need it. No exceptions.
Race, income, employment, or legal status should not determine if someone receives the health care they need. For healthy families and communities and a prosperous Minnesota, everyone should have access to affordable health care. From children to seniors, people must be able to access medical, dental, vision, hearing, mental health, addiction services, reproductive care, and transgender coverage to allow them to live their lives to their full potential.
Our Current Situation
As we all know, our current outdated system does not provide the care people deserve. Employers make decisions about the types and levels of care available to employees and their families. This gives large employers an advantage in hiring because they can afford to provide better benefits than small business owners. Employees may feel stuck working for health insurance instead of for what fulfills their lives.
Bias and disparities pervade our system. Two examples tell the story:
Minnesota’s uninsured rate was 6.3% in 2017, according to the Department of Health. Rates by race show the inequity:
Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the nation, but has some of the worst health disparities according to The Cost of Health Inequities in Minnesota, a 2018 report by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
MinnesotaCare expansion is a quick and clear solution. It’s a quality offering that will provide immediate relief using existing tools. Where there are gaps; for example, on meeting the needs of specific cultures, we must work with the affected communities to design solutions together.
I support federal action to guarantee universal coverage, but there are too many Minnesotans who can’t wait for that. The same is true with enacting universal coverage in Minnesota. We should pursue these fundamental system redesigns, and at the same, provide immediate relief.
This is especially important with the COVID-19 pandemic underway, record unemployment, and the ongoing attacks on the Affordable Care Act in Washington D.C.
We need to be smart and move fast —this approach will take us forward. It will meet the immediate health care needs of every Minnesotan right away. Once we do this, I will work with state Sen. John Marty and others to phase in a complete and comprehensive health care system of which we all can be proud.
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