Last week I joined Governor Dayton in his reception room for the signing of his executive order to enroll Minnesota in early Medical Assistance (MA). It was the next step in what has been a long and ongoing journey to provide health care in a cost-effective manner for all Minnesotans.
Many people attended the signing and Governor Dayton allowed both supporters and opponents of early MA to voice their opinions. It was a refreshing display of democracy in action, which is why many news outlets spent a good deal of time discussing his remarkable decision to open his office to the people.
Along with appreciating Governor Dayton’s openness, I would like to highlight some the positive outcome for Minnesotans that his decision to enroll Minnesota in early MA. I’d also like to highlight some of the Republican myths you may have heard about early MA:
Health care for 95,000 Minnesotans
Covers 95,000 uninsured or underinsured Minnesotans who earn less than $8,000 per year with basic health care by capturing federal resources at no additional cost to the state.
Creates as many as 20,000 Minnesota Jobs
Provides more than $1 billion in additional payments to Minnesota’s health care workforce, hospitals and care providers who have been hit hard by past cuts.
Reduces the hidden tax on working families
Minnesota families pay a $1,500 hidden tax to cover the uninsured. Reducing unpaid care for 95,000 Minnesotans will significantly reduce that hidden tax for working families.
Eases strain on state budget deficit
Captures federal resources and provides care more cost effectively to SAVE the state $32 million next biennium and $233 million over five years.
Broad support from health care, businesses, and faith community
MA enrollment is supported by hospitals, nurses, seniors, business leaders, and faith organizations and more.
Dispelling Republican Myths
Don’t be fooled by “Tea Party” rhetoric
MA is not a radical form of “Obamacare.” It was created in 1965 as a federal/state partnership to provide basic health care to seniors, low-income, and the disabled.
MA enables us to move forward with cost saving reforms
MA does not “end” reform. To the contrary, MA retains innovative reforms passed in 2008 like health care homes, providing additional opportunities to reduce health care costs.
Authority to enroll Minnesota in MA passed bipartisanly
Dozens of legislative Republicans including the new Speaker of the House, Kurt Zellers, voted for the bill signed into law by Governor Pawlenty that authorized early MA enrollment.
The Work Ahead
Medical Assistance has long provided health coverage for low income seniors, disabled Minnesotans and low income families with children. The majority of the Medicaid budget is spent for the care of seniors and the disabled.
To tackle the cost trajectory in the years ahead, we must continue to pursue delivery and payment reforms across the system.
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by Erin Murphy,