Free to choose

Minnesotans are some of the healthiest people in the country, but as hearty as we are, we still get sick.

We’re all painfully aware medical and insurance costs are climbing much faster than our wages, and continue to increase despite legislative efforts to control them. Unfortunately many of those efforts, regardless of policy-makers’ good intentions, end up adding complexity and cost to an already complicated and expensive system. Many recent reforms have added unnecessary mandates and onerous regulations while limiting consumer choice and flexibility.

Some basic healthcare policy objectives: insurance portability; a wide range of plan cost options, including catastrophic coverage; simplicity; customer-directed care.

There are some simple ways to achieve those objectives: eliminate coverage mandates, allowing for more personal choice at a reduced cost; permit for-profit providers to operate in the state, increasing competition and choices; encourage consumers on state-subsidized plans to seek economical care by making co-pays a proportion of the total cost rather than a flat rate; further encourage economizing by requiring up-front, transparent pricing and billing; revise licensing standards to allow more health care professionals to practice in Minnesota.

Finally, as Governor, I would support the Legislative Auditor’s efforts, despite federal directives and objections, to review MNsure’s ability to accurately assess eligibility for public health insurance programs such as Medical Assistance.