MN2020 has alot of ideas that are a fair amount outside the mainstream but their idea of affordable health care is totally warped:

Few pieces of legislation reflect conservative public policy sentiment quite as neatly as State Senator David Hann’s Health and Human Services Bill. It would strip $1.8 billion from affordable healthcare spending and eliminate care for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.

What Mr. Van Hecke describes as affordable, actuaries would call unsustainable. Increasing HHS spending by “$1.8 billion” equates to a 40+ percent spending increase for a single biennium. That might be sustainable for a small budget like veterans or agriculture but it isn’t for the fastest-growing budget item, especially when that item is the second biggest budget item in the state general fund budget.

Then Van Hecke misrepresents Sen. Hann:

Hann, R-Eden Prairie, proposes that low-income Minnesotans receive a modest state subsidy to facilitate enrollment in privately-provided health insurance. This action will require a federal health-care waiver for implementation. Instead of being part of a state-lead purchasing pool, negotiating for a group rate, Minnesota’s lowest income-earners would face the market only as an individual. That’s a little like buying a car by purchasing each individual piece separately.

Actually, Van Hecke is wrong about this part. I sought clarification on this from Rep. Steve Gottwalt because, as chairman of the House HHS Reform Committee and member of the House HHS Finance Committee, he easily qualifies as an expert on the subject. Here’s what Rep. Gottwalt said about Van Hecke’s statement about shoveling “low-income Minnesotans” into a high-priced plan for individuals:

The basic approach that Sen. Hann and I have promoted is to provide a straight subsidy to low income Minnesotans to purchase a private insurance policy. This gets them better overall coverage, and at a rate that the state can afford. Most of us agree very low income Minnesotans (those making less than 75% of the Federal Poverty Guideline FPG) need a different approach because most have serious mental health and chemical dependency issues.

Rep. Gottwalt further explains their approach:

By reducing the increases (not “cutting”) we are also putting us on a sustainable path. Our HHS bill contains numerous real reforms that help us keep promises, achieving better outcomes for people in need with a smaller increase in dollars.

Van Hecke is right that a federal waiver is needed to implement this program. Rep. Gottwalt has already spoken to the HHS about this. Early indications are that they’re willing to give Minnesota some flexibility because of Minnesota’s track record of excellence on this issue.

Where MN2020 and other progressives go wrong is in thinking that we need to stay wedded to the same status quo stupidity that we’ve been locked in from the outset. We don’t need to take that approach. In fact, we shouldn’t take that approach because it’s the path to unsustainability and increasing costs.

Why would we pick the path to unsustainability?

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3 Responses to “MN2020’s Warped Idea of Affordable”

  • Van Hecke is spelled with a capital “V”. We’re Belgians and would never try to pass ourselves off as titled Germans.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Duly noted & corrected.

    I’d add that you aren’t passing yourself off as an informed scholar on health care issues.

    Is that intentional, aka spin, or is it ignorance?

  • eric z. says:

    Is MN2020 politically relevant?

    Entenza is out of office and did not have much traction last election cycle.

    With Entenza family roots reaching to UnitedHealth, some think that MN2020 on healthcare is missing an opportunity to embrace single payer, for whatever reasons.

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