Governor Mark Dayton renewed his push this week to allow anyone, not just low-income people, to buy health coverage through state-run MinnesotaCare — but he’ll face stiff opposition at the legislature. Dayton says what will make the difference: “There’s gonna be an election. You either side with the insurance companies… or you side with the people of Minnesota.” Republicans warn doctors could be hurt because MinnesotaCare reimburses at lower rates than commercial insurers. They say patients with other insurance could end up paying more to compensate.
Dayton contends expanding MinnesotaCare benefits particularly Greater Minnesota, where many people have only a few insurers to choose from. Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish was asked, would an expanded MinnesotaCare hurt ag co-op programs? “No, I don’t believe so. There’s a need for health care. The two could work very well together,” he says.
Governor Dayton says after about 13 million dollars in start-up costs to expand MinnesotaCare, the intent is the program would be self-sufficient from patient premiums.