Affordable, quality health coverage should be available to all. Cost-containing efforts should be about promoting health, not underinsuring care or discouraging the use of care with unaffordable high deductibles and cost sharing. Ever increasing health care costs are: causing more individuals and families to be uninsured or delay care, employers to drop coverage, and wages to stagnate (while contributions to health premiums skyrocket). It creates a drag on the ability of our businesses to compete in the global market.
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 been a strong advocate for better options for small businesses and their employees.
- Diane enabled most employees with job based coverage to pay insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars, an option once available mostly in large businesses.
- Diane worked to expand MinnesotaCare and other affordable health coverage. MinnesotaCare is our state’s unique program for many workers without employer coverage.
- Diane passed the original coverage for students up to age 26 to stay on family policies, which eventually went nationwide when included in the federal Affordable Care Act.
- Diane advocated for prevention on many fronts and created the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). SHIP has made school and work menus healthier, encouraged walking and biking to school, created farm to city and school programs to increase access to affordable fresh vegetables, and many 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 expensive to manage diabetes, cardiac diseases and other chronic and expensive health problems. Best of all – people will live longer, healthier lives.
- Diane authored and supported many improvements in mental health prevention, diagnosis and treatment, which catch problems earlier, get faster results, and get people back on track in more fulfilling lives.
But more needs to be done
- Affordability is a huge challenge that must be addressed. Public option coverage or single payer remains out of reach without federal action, but Diane will continue to lead on new ways to bring insurance back to affordable levels for workers and their families until that is possible.
- Diane will continue to work to reduce the cost of health care and prescription drugs through putting medical research into practice sooner, smarter purchasing options, and policy changes.
- Prevention is still our best option for ensuring good health for as long as possible. More can be done to make “the healthy choice the easy choice”.