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MinnesotaCare reform bill passed

Published (5/6/2011)
By Hank Long
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The Healthy Minnesota Contribution Program would move certain MinnesotaCare enrollees to private health care insurance, under a bill passed 70-62 by the House April 28.

Sponsored by Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud), HF8 would give a state subsidy to low-income adults without children, and if approved by a federal waiver, low-income adults with children to purchase their own health care insurance. Those with family gross incomes between 133 percent and 275 percent of the federal poverty guidelines would meet the requirement for the subsidy. The bill now awaits action by the full Senate. Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) is the Senate sponsor.

DFL leaders said the bill amounts to an insurance exchange, an accusation Republicans objected to.

“Obviously this is not an insurance exchange; this is a way for Minnesotans to purchase individual health care,” said House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-Dellwood), adding the legislation provides a state-led solution to reform health care. “Minnesota should lead and not follow in health care going forward.”

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) said the bill offers “affordable health care to people that do not really exist.”

“The winners in this bill are big insurance and special interest,” he said.

Under the bill, a person would pay a monthly contribution based on age and income. For example, a person under age 21 would pay $122.79, and those 60 years and older would pay $357.19, although a sliding fee scale would be established by the health and human services commissioners.

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