A Major Problem

A thing that has been repeated again and again as I've been talking to people all over the district, is that health care is a major problem. The costs are unmanageable. The options are limited. And many families are falling into a big gap that exists right now in affordability.

A few things we know for sure about health care: the challenge is big, there’s no quick fix and - especially in areas where there are few providers to choose from - hoping that forcing published price lists will cause market forces to quickly make costs manageable is just wishful thinking.

It's going to take an open-minded, many-pronged and bipartisan approach to make real progress on health care. And most importantly, it's going to require focus on practical outcomes for our families, not partisan ideology.

Many Initiatives, One Goal:
Affordable, Available Healthcare in Greater MN

The good news is, even though it’s a big challenge, there really are things we can do to start to address health care affordability and access in the state legislature and this will be my top priority in St. Paul.

I will work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to:

Support legislation to to allow more farmers, self-employed and other "affordability gap" Minnesotans to buy in to MinnesotaCare - an affordable, large-group, low premium insurance plan
Support efforts to improve public insurance payouts for healthcare providers - especially where revenue-neutral options are available!
Support negotiation by public agencies to lower the cost of prescription drugs, especially for our seniors who depend on Medicare to pay for their drugs.
Work on programs and incentives that help attract and retain health providers and practitioners that offer important health services in rural communities.
Support efforts to improve and stabilize the insurance exchange so that MNSure can become the consumer tool it was meant to be.
Continue to talk to health care providers and professionals to find ways to address operating challenges, access, and patient care especially in rural areas

What about Price Transparency?

Price transparency isn't a bad tool to have, and I would certainly consider any effective legislation aimed a putting better pricing information in the hands of patients. After all, who wouldn't?

However, pricing information alone is not going to take us very far towards a solution on healthcare. People buy most health care services very differently than consumer goods or elective procedures and studies seem to repeatedly show that, even when price estimating and comparison tools are available, they don't have much success in actually lowering costs.

More reading on these issues:

What do you think?

Do you have other ideas or suggestions for how we could improve rural health care?

Email me and let me know your thoughts.