Moving forth with health reforms


The chairman of the House Health Care and Human Services Finance Division is proposing Minnesota move forward with a series of major health care reforms, no matter the outcome of pending federal legislation. 

Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth) said he intends to introduce a bill that would help Minnesota make the most of the federal health care reform package being debated in Congress. He estimates the state would save $2.8 billion should federal reforms take effect in 2014, due in part to an expansion of Medical Assistance, the availability of federal subsidies and the shifting of some state costs on to the federal government.

If federal legislation doesn’t pass, Huntley wants local reform to proceed anyway, dubbing Minnesota “the state that would not wait.” He’s proposing the creation of a state public option that would replace MinnesotaCare and compete with private market insurance choices. He also wants to reduce or eliminate a tax on providers, permit the sale of health insurance across state lines and coordinate patient care among different providers. Such “accountable care organizations” have received past support from House Republicans and Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

“The status quo in health care will bankrupt America if we do nothing,” Huntley said.

His legislation does not have a bill number or a Senate companion. He did not name a potential Senate sponsor.