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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today in the Senate

Today in the Minnesota Senate, they voted to increase their per-diems and housing allowances by 45% and 25% respectively. I am not a fan of the per-diem increases. Salaries are too low for legislators, so raise the salaries, not the "extras".

They also revealed a convoluted plan to cover all people with health insurance by 2010. The plan would cap insurance rate increases and increase eligibility for MinnesotaCare. I think this is a stupid way to go about covering people, and I find the arbitrary insurance rate increase cap particularly divorced from reality. You want to cover everybody? It's called single-payer. No arbitrary caps, no mandates, no stupid tricks. Expanding health care coverage is a good idea, but doing it in crazy ways doesn't help. The faster we get to the system we will eventually have, a single-payer system, the better. No point in taking the scenic route.

6 Comments:

At 3:00 AM, January 11, 2007, Anonymous Chris said...

It's not that simple. Medicare and Canadian single-payer are basically the same model. The provincial governments set a budget for the year in negotiation with the hospitals. Half the funding comes from the provincial government, and Ottawa pays the other half for each province. Down here, Washington pays 60% of Medicare costs for each state. Minnesota doing single-payer all on its own would mean expanding Medicare to cover everyone under 65, and paying for 100% of the costs for under-65s. I imagine there would have to be some kind of federal waiver process to go through as well. For an example of how long that can take, Oregon waited four years simply to get federal permission to reorder Medicaid spending priorities. There may also be issues concerning violation of the Commerce Clause, since Canadian-style single payer bans even supplementary private insurance from being offered, and Medicare Part D currently offers drugs only through private plans (although the new Congress might allow Medicare to negotiate and provide drugs directly in addition to the private options).

Universal health care? Yes, absolutely. Single-payer? It's very difficult if the feds aren't behind it.

 
At 1:14 AM, January 13, 2007, Anonymous Chris said...

Another obvious point on the matter: Pawlenty isn't going to sign a single-payer plan. Berglin is proposing a variety of measures, some of which Pawlenty might actually sign.

I have to object to your rather cavalier dismissal of these ideas as "crazy." Berglin's been the leading figure on health care in Minnesota for decades now, designed MinnesotaCare in the early '90s, and was one of the fiercest defenders of the low-income from Pawlenty's proposed health care cuts for the last four years. Show a little respect.

 
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