I wanted to pass along a troubling report from KSTP Channel 5 news
. Earlier this month, KSTP reported that MinnCare -- the state's low-income health program for working families -- faces a projected deficit of more than $500 million in the next five years. In two years alone, the deficit grows to more than $200 million. The program has a scant $26 million surplus as of today.
The projected deficit won't just impact Minnesotans on MinnCare. Any Minnesotan who visits the doctor or a health care provider pays into the MinnCare program, and taxes may have to rise on those doctor visits to make up the deficit.
Lawmakers also sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seeking more federal funds to help offset this future deficit and possibly avert a tax increase. I believe both these options are unacceptable. Taxpayers should not be on the hook to bail out an unsustainable program. Lawmakers should look at this as an opportunity for a discussion on how to reform MinnCare in a meaningful way so that we can continue to provide care for Minnesotans who truly need it in a cost-effective way that makes the program sustainable. Instead of taking the easy way out, we need to be tackling big issues like these to make government more effective, rather than more expensive.