ST. PAUL, MN – State Representative
Aaron Peterson (DFL-Appleton) said that the House Health Care bill
released on Wednesday signifies a monumental step forward for Minnesota.
The bill will not only provide health care for every child in the state
by 2011, it also proposes significant reform that will bring down health
care costs for everyone in the state.
"Whether you have insurance or not, health care is taking a bigger
chunk out of the average family's budget," said Peterson. "This bill
will not only expand coverage to more people, it will also reduce the
cost of health care coverage for Minnesotans who are already covered."
According to Peterson, 93 percent of Minnesotans with health
insurance have seen their costs increase by an average of 12.54 percent
each year, between the years of 2000 and 2005. During that same time
period, per capita income rose by 3.1 percent.
"Do the math," said Peterson. "Unless something changes, we can't
keep up with our rising health care costs."
The centerpiece of the bill is a provision that provides better
access and uniformity to health cost information and lower costs through
a medical home model, physician-directed care coordination and payment
The other major component of the bill is the Cover All Kids
provision, which was one of the House DFL's priority bills introduced
during the first week of the session.
"Minnesotans understand that every child deserves to get their
immunizations so they don't get sick, and when they are sick, to see a
doctor," said Peterson. "This is the right thing to do."
The Cover-All-Kids Initiative will provide coverage for the 70,000
Minnesota children currently without health care coverage. It also
extends coverage to dependent young adults up to age 25. The cost is $99
million in 2008-2009 and $373 million in 2010-2011 when the initiative
is fully phased in.
Other highlights of the bill include:
· $393 million for rate increases for long term care providers
· $116 million in Mental Health Initiatives
· $101 million to reduce Medicaid asset limits for elderly and
· $28 million to reduce copays for Medicaid coverage of Medicare Part
· $3 million to provide access to MinnesotaCare for farmers
"This legislation supports not just our families, but the mentally
ill, our seniors, farmers and long term care providers," said Peterson.
"I believe everyone understands our health care system is in a state of
crisis –we need this bill to begin to move us toward a manageable,
affordable and accessible health care system for every Minnesotan."