November, 2017: Healthcare

Indivisible Minnesota led a discussion on Helathcare and attempted to uncomplicate a complicated issue.

Healthcare is complicated — there’s no question about it.

Indivisible MN tackled the topic at the November Third Thursday. It wasn’t the most upbeat conversation, but panelists gave a good overview of the current situation in Minnesota, including insights into what they think will happen next and what we can do about it.

While Minnesota ranks high on health insurance coverage — thanks to good planning and investment — the state ranks low on the racial and ethnic disparities in coverage. We need to change this.

The impact of the Senate tax bill’s individual mandate repeal will be huge and is of great concern especially since a focus is also on breaking away from federal assistance. Minnesota will lose $1 billion from the Affordable Healthcare Act and will have to create new laws and systems to replace this.

This is not tax reform, this is forcing public health insurance into a death spiral. Sixty percent of costs of Medicaid is for seniors and 20 percent of people on Medicaid receive mental health services. If there is no mandate, healthy people will drop out and the prices will rise for the people left in including people with pre-existing conditions.

State Senator Tom Lourey anticipates that things will get worse before they get better, but they will get better.

“Healthcare is one of the major challenges of our generation,” Lourey said.

The needs of our communities are not going to go away. The cost will fall to us at some point.  Medicaid and our collective health in all communities matters. This message is critical — share it with your family, neighbors, acquaintances and community. Contacting legislators and members of Congress is not enough. We must educate ourselves and take part in community conversations to help inform others about the issues. 

The Governor’s race is probably the most important race next year. Find out about each candidate and be sure to ask them hard questions about healthcare.

Universal healthcare is giving every Minnesotan access to quality, affordable healthcare. More and more people want this from both sides of the aisle, but to make it a reality, partnerships are required. It has to be achieved through civil, non-partisan conversations, grounded in facts. We must try to get healthcare back to being less partisan and more about public policy.

Thanks to our good friends at Indivisible Minnesota Local for organizing last week’s very informative event on Healthcare.

Many thanks also to the excellent panelists: Stacie Weeks, Policy Advisor at the MN Dept. of Human Services;  Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL (District 11), Ranking Minority Member of Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee; Dan Pollock- Deputy Commissioner for the Minnesota Dept. of Health.