Letter: Marty presents health plan for Minnesota

To the editor:

On Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 Senator John Marty gave a presentation on his Minnesota Health Plan, a state-wide single-payer health plan that would cover all Minnesotans.

The Minnesota Health Plan which Senator Marty has designed would include dental coverage, prescription drug coverage, mental health coverage, optometry, chemical dependency treatment, medical equipment and supplies, as well as home care services, and nursing home care. The Minnesota Health Plan is intended to greatly reduce the cost of health care in our state, and would allow all patients to choose their providers. This plan would remove health insurance staff from making treatment decisions, and it would restore medical decision-making to the patient and his/her doctor.

In Minnesota there are currently 400,000 with no health insurance. Another one million have insurance but still cannot pay for their health care costs because of the burdensome co-pays, deductibles, and the “not covered” problems. In addition, many Minnesotans face another problem, and that is when a job is lost, so is the health insurance lost. We as tax payers are currently covering the health care costs of these people who are under insured and uninsured. With Senator Marty’s bill, H.F. 76, S.F. 18, Minnesota Health Plan, there would be no co-payments, no deductibles, and no loss of health insurance when an employee is eliminated.
More than 30 percent of the cost of health care at present is paper work, and under Senator Marty’s plan, these costs would be eliminated or greatly reduced as it is single-payer.

The Minnesota Health Plan would be funded by all Minnesotans based on their ability to pay. Payments would replace all premiums currently paid by employees, employers, and the unemployed.

An analysis of the proposed Vermont Single-Payer Plan by Harvard Professor Dr. John Hsiao indicated that there would be a 25 percent savings in health care total expenditures. Similarly, the Lewin Group, a research entity now owned by United Health, found that large savings were predicted for a proposed Colorado single-payer plan as well as for other states’ single-payer plans.

Numerous countries of our world spend half what Americans spend on the cost of their nations’ health care and have better longevity results. Shouldn’t we do something about that? How long are we going to hang on to an “old worn-out system”? The reality is our present health care costs are not sustainable and are already often the cause for bankruptcy as well as homelessness among Minnesotans.

The Minnesota Health Plan, is not currently being considered by any committees due to the fact that the Affordable Care Act law needs to get into place first.

Senator John Marty was happy to be able to present his Minnesota Health Plan to the people of Carver County. Here is his website: www.apple-pie.org, where you can read in more detail about the Minnesota Health Plan, H.F. 76, and S.F 18.

Audrey Kramer