With Failure of Health Care Bill, Focus Shifts to MN Legislature

March 25, 2017 04:32 PM

Now that the Republican health reform bill has died in Congress, the focus will shift back to states to do what they can to stabilize health insurance markets.

Two state lawmakers with expertise in the health care field said at some point the focus needs to shift to containing the rising cost of medical care.


RELATED: House Republicans Withdraw Health Care Bill

"We've talked a lot about how to pay for insurance, it's now time to talk about cost," said Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska, who is also a family physician.

"We've gone from (medical care being) five percent of gross national product in the 1970s to almost 20 percent. The cost continues to rise and we can't afford it. So we have to talk about how do we help people reduce the cost."

State Representative Jennifer Schultz, DFL-Duluth, agreed.

She's an economics professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a focus on health care policy. Schultz said the Affordable Care Act initially included cost-containment measures.

"There were some pilot projects to help address the health care cost growth, and we haven't really done that in our state or at the national level," Schultz said in an interview on At Issue along with Sen. Jensen.

"And we need to get onboard and address the underlying cost of health care." 

The Minnesota House and Senate have passed "reinsurance" bills that would create a pool of money for health insurance companies to draw from to encourage them to offer lower premiums and stay in the market throughout Minnesota.

However, the Republican-controlled legislature rejected a proposal by Democrats to allow more Minnesotans to buy insurance through the state's public Minnesota Care program.

See the entire interview with Schultz and Jensen on "At Issue" at 10 a.m. Sunday morning on 5 Eyewitness News.


Tom Hauser

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