Affordable Healthcare

Quality health coverage should be available to all. Diane won't stop pushing until we get there. The efforts to date have resulted in MN having the second lowest rate of uninsured people in the U.S. and some of the lowest insurance rates. 

Diane supports a single payer system and wishes it wouldn’t require approval from Washington D.C. — by federal law MN can only control 26% of the market, too small to realize the full outcomes we want. We know Pres. Trump won’t approve the waivers we’d need. But that isn’t stopping Diane.

Diane’s an author of MinnesotaCare Buy In — it will give all access to the big group purchasing power of the state with a proven program Diane helped get passed. Area residents on MinnesotaCare, our affordable coverage for modest income workers, say they love it. Average premium savings would be 13% and there are no big deductibles and it’d be self-supporting.

Diane’s creation of the Statewide Health Improvement Program and supporting a wide variety of initiatives addressing health disparities are showing through evaluation the power of prevention in giving all a longer, healthier life. That’s the outcome we want — better health, not just better health care.

Diane’s considered an expert on health care policy and all the crazy complexity of the system (rate setting, reinsurance, risk sharing and adjustment, contract law, etc.). This enables her to take on the insurance industry, greedy drug companies and others who increase costs without reason, and effectively beat back bad proposals not in the consumer’s interest. The health laws are complex and you can’t take on the insurance industry with soundbites.

Too much greed is driving the costs of drugs and other essential health services and health insurance administration. Diane’s taken on those interests successfully in the past and will continue to do so. Meanwhile she helped authorize Hennepin Health — the innovative program that’s gotten national attention for getting better health outcomes and stabilized lives for those with serious health problems at lower cost and greater quality of life. We’re taking the learnings from this and other pilots and making change happen for all. I’m proud we’ve proven ways to improve health at lower costs by stressing prevention and focusing on health outcomes. Now we need to scale them up.

A record of results

  • Diane has taken on the health insurance industry and won. She fought them on lifetime limits on coverage and other provisions that weren’t in consumer’s best interests. She’s helped regulate their administrative costs and assure accountability for paying for care.
  • In 2017 Diane led efforts to defeat “junk insurance”. Diane’s efforts got the Republicans to back off a House passed bill that would have allowed employers and others to choose “junk” insurance – it wouldn’t have to cover emergency care, prescriptions, maternity, mental health or even cancer care. Diane activated the public and the press and got the Republicans on the defense and it died in a conference committee.
  • Diane’s passed better options for small businesses and their employees.
  • Enabled most employees with job based coverage to pay insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars, an option once available mostly in large businesses.
  • Worked to expand MinnesotaCare and other affordable health coverage. MinnesotaCare is our state’s unique program for many workers without employer coverage.
  • Authored coverage for students up to age 26 on family policies which eventually went nationwide when included in the federal Affordable Care Act.
  • Advocated for prevention on many fronts and created the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). SHIP has made school and work menus healthier, funded sidewalks and trails to enable walking and biking to school, created farm to city and school programs to increase access to affordable fresh vegetables, and other initiatives to “make the healthy choice the easy choice”. The result has been documented to have reduced the obesity rate among children and adults as compared to other states and improvements on many other health measures. Long term this will reduce health insurance costs as less people have diabetes, cardiac diseases and other chronic and expensive health problems. Best of all – people will live longer, healthier lives.
  • Authored and funded many initiatives to address health disparities among racial and ethnic groups, low income populations, and others with the efforts targeted to the unique issues of that population.
  • Authored and supported many improvements in mental health prevention, diagnosis and treatment which should catch problems earlier, get faster results, and get people back on track in more satisfying lives.
  • Authored and worked for years to authorize medical marijuana.

But more needs to be done

  • Affordable, quality coverage for all is a huge challenge that must be addressed. MinnesotaCare Buy-in is our best next step to getting there.
  • Diane will continue to work to reduce the cost of health care and prescription drugs through regulation, putting medical research into practice sooner, smarter purchasing options, and policy changes.
  • Prevention is still our best option for assuring all good health for as long as possible. More can be done to use proven research to improve the health of all, including the health disparities that disproportionately affect African Americans and Native Americans and other groups
  • Health care workforce shortages will increasingly need to be addressed. Diane’s worked on this by pushing wage increases in home care, through college loan forgiveness, creating career ladders for lower level health workers to achieve new licenses, and making it more possible for foreign trained physicians and nurses to get American licenses.  
  • Our mental health system needs continuing reform and greater investments in prevention, fast response, and community supports. Public health campaigns need to continue to reduce stigma.
  • Seniors need a broader and more affordable range of options when faced with health challenges. We have over built and under regulated expensive assisted living complexes while not investing enough in home care that allows many seniors to stay in their homes longer at lesser cost. We need to look to the better options in other countries.