consultants are sandburs

Monday, June 01, 2015

Strib's editorial board asks for innovation, and we citizens, we deserve innovation. Innovate to single payer healthcare for all Minnesotans because the time is ripe.

The editorial, online here, states the editorial board's beliefs; saying in part:

Seize Minnesota's chance to change and build on Affordable Care Act --- ‘Waiver’ offers Minnesota a historic chance to move [sic] improve health care.
By Editorial Board Star Tribune - May 31, 2015 — 4:51pm

What neither ACA proponents nor opponents seem to fully appreciate is that the law does contain detailed language in another place — known as Section 1332 ‘‘innovation waivers” — that allows states to get rid of the law’s key pillars, including insurance marketplaces like MNsure or the individual mandate to buy health insurance, beginning in 2017. But there’s a big catch.

States would have to provide equivalent or better coverage than the ACA, and prove it to federal health officials. But the federal government would also help foot the bill for an approved alternative approach, such as by allowing states to use federal funding currently flowing to subsidize low-income people’s purchase of private health plans. Those who want to blow up the ACA in their states don’t need to bet on the Supreme Court. Sec. 1332 is a surer approach, if opponents can do better with an alternative.

There’s a lot to like about the innovation waivers for ACA’s proponents, too. This section of the law is not a reset button to go back to pre-ACA days. Instead, it’s a timely way to evaluate what has worked during the federal law’s rollout and then allow the states to build on this. In Minnesota, the waiver is a chance to think big and to improve on the state’s medical assistance programs with an eye toward not only improving coverage numbers but improving public health outcomes. [...]

Minnesota is in a solid position to leverage innovation waiver opportunities. A new 29-member health care task force was created this past legislative session to tackle this daunting but exciting assignment. Members have not yet been named (see our accompanying “wish list”). Those tapped need deep expertise in health care or information technology. Small and large businesses also need robust representation. Minnesota’s wealth of academic experts should be tapped.

["innovation waivers" link in original]

While not a certainty, it appears the editorial writers intended a second link (at the above italicized "task force" text) to link specifically to "Sec. 62. TASK FORCE ON HEALTH CARE FINANCING"; (at p.360 of the published 400 pages of LAWS of MINNESOTA 2015, CHAPTER 71 -- S.F.No. 1458); online here.

[For clarification, the link would be Laws Mn 2016, Ch 71, Art 11, Sect. 62; and we await codification of the task force creation and duties by the Code Revisor's office before being able to give any "Minn. Stat." code citation.]

There is some confusion because that extensive legislation, (signed into law by the governor and not a part of ongoing veto-special session affairs), creates two task forces, the first being focused on child protection concerns, with the second focused on innovative health care cost considerations; the latter being the one created in Article 11, Sec. 62, as referenced.

If reading things correctly, Minnesota has the opportunity to shift itself to single payer. Minnesota should do precisely that, and nothing less. There will be a task force having the power to act toward shifting our state in such a direction, and we may hope the proper people get appointed to seize the moment.

Medicare for All is within reach, for our State, and so far only a collective will to reach that way has been lacking.

Troubling, Strib references "an accompanying 'wish list'" where it is unclear how readers can find such a thing. Reader help would be appreciated.

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