as introduced - 83rd Legislature (2003 - 2004) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am
1.1 A bill for an act 1.2 relating to health; providing for a universal health 1.3 care system that provides affordable access to high 1.4 quality medical care for all Minnesotans; requiring a 1.5 focus on preventive care and early intervention; 1.6 providing comprehensive benefits; reducing costs 1.7 through prevention, efficiency, and elimination of 1.8 bureaucracy; directing the commissioner of health to 1.9 prepare a plan to be implemented by 2010; proposing 1.10 coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 144. 1.11 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 1.12 Section 1. [LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.] 1.13 (a) All people deserve quality health care, yet an 1.14 increasing number of Minnesota families are unable to pay for 1.15 coverage. 1.16 (b) Many seniors find that Medicare, which promised health 1.17 care in their retirement, does not provide needed coverage 1.18 without costly Medicare supplemental policies and, even then, 1.19 find they cannot get coverage for needed prescriptions. 1.20 (c) Many workers do not earn enough to pay for health 1.21 care. As a result, they do not receive preventive care and put 1.22 off necessary treatment for themselves and their families until 1.23 the medical condition becomes acute, requiring more costly 1.24 treatment. 1.25 (d) Many people are forced, against their wishes, to switch 1.26 from their personal doctors, clinics, and hospitals, not based 1.27 on medical need, but because they switched jobs or their 1.28 employer switched health plans. This replaces doctors who have 2.1 their trust with new providers who do not know their medical 2.2 history. Loss of continuity of care can put health at risk and 2.3 wastes the time and resources of both doctor and patient. 2.4 (e) The lack of universal care has particularly serious 2.5 consequences for the uninsured, but it also creates extra 2.6 hardship and risks for many with health care coverage and more 2.7 expenses for the public. 2.8 (f) The lack of affordable care creates a huge burden on 2.9 the Minnesota economy through lost worker productivity, higher 2.10 special education costs, the spread of preventable infectious 2.11 diseases, and skyrocketing long-term care expenses that could 2.12 have been prevented with affordable in-home care alternatives. 2.13 Furthermore, taxpayer-funded expenses for education, housing, 2.14 health care, and crime prevention, including law enforcement, 2.15 prosecution, and corrections, are higher due to untreated 2.16 chemical dependency and mental illness. 2.17 (g) Insured patients and taxpayers end up paying costs to 2.18 cover the underinsured and uninsured through cost-shifting when 2.19 hospitals provide expensive emergency care for illnesses and 2.20 diseases that could have been prevented with routine preventive 2.21 care. 2.22 (h) Bureaucratic paperwork for medical providers, insurers, 2.23 patients, and government agencies, which is used to determine 2.24 eligibility and financial responsibility, currently consumes 2.25 more than one-fourth of all health care dollars in Minnesota. 2.26 In addition, cost-shifting between third-party payers results in 2.27 expensive gatekeepers aimed at reducing financial responsibility 2.28 and in higher billing costs. A simple universal health care 2.29 system would greatly reduce these expenses that do nothing to 2.30 promote health. 2.31 (i) Providing a universal health care system would improve 2.32 the quality of life for all Minnesotans and would actually 2.33 reduce overall costs to the public through prevention and 2.34 efficiency. 2.35 (j) A well-designed universal health care system would 2.36 continue to promote Minnesota's leadership in medical education, 3.1 training, research, and technology and would free medical 3.2 providers to focus on providing quality care without needing to 3.3 worry whether the treatment or referrals they provide will be 3.4 approved by the insurer and without wasting unnecessary 3.5 resources on billing. 3.6 (k) A well-designed universal health care system would free 3.7 small employers from wasting resources shopping for an 3.8 affordable plan for their workers and would free employees to 3.9 seek employment that best uses their talents instead of seeking 3.10 jobs based on the employer's health benefits. 3.11 (l) A well-designed universal health care system would mean 3.12 that patients would be able to get needed treatment promptly, 3.13 instead of going through numerous additional doctor visits that 3.14 are designed to deny care instead of provide it. 3.15 (m) It is in the public interest to establish a universal 3.16 health care system for medical and economic reasons. Because 3.17 the federal government has not provided universal health care, 3.18 Minnesota will not obtain such coverage unless the state 3.19 develops a system on its own. 3.20 (n) In order to develop a system that serves Minnesotans 3.21 best, the system must ensure that all Minnesotans receive 3.22 comprehensive health care of the highest quality available, 3.23 regardless of their income; allow patients the ability to choose 3.24 their own providers; provide an adequate number of qualified 3.25 health care professionals and facilities to guarantee timely 3.26 access to quality care; continue promoting Minnesota's 3.27 leadership in medical education, training, research, and 3.28 technology; focus on preventive care and early intervention; 3.29 provide comprehensive benefits, including complete mental health 3.30 services, chemical dependency treatment, prescription drugs, 3.31 medical equipment, dental care, long-term care, and home care 3.32 services; be funded through premiums and other payments based on 3.33 the citizen's ability to pay, so as not to deny full access to 3.34 all Minnesotans; and hold down costs, not by restricting or 3.35 denying coverage or reducing the quality of care, but through 3.36 prevention, efficiency, and elimination of bureaucracy. 4.1 Sec. 2. [144.7055] [UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.] 4.2 Subdivision 1. [COMMISSIONER'S WORKING GROUP.] (a) The 4.3 commissioner of health shall establish a working group to design 4.4 a universal health care system for Minnesota. The commissioner 4.5 shall prepare proposed legislation for submission to the 4.6 legislature by January 31, 2006, to establish a universal health 4.7 care system for Minnesota to take effect in January 2010. The 4.8 proposed legislation must meet all of the requirements specified 4.9 in subdivision 2. 4.10 (b) The working group shall include medical providers, 4.11 patients, and representatives of employers and employees in 4.12 preparing the proposed universal health care system. 4.13 (c) The working group is governed by section 15.059, 4.14 subdivision 6, and expires January 31, 2006. 4.15 Subd. 2. [REQUIREMENTS FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.] 4.16 The commissioner's proposal to the legislature under subdivision 4.17 1 shall be designed in a manner that: 4.18 (1) ensures all Minnesotans receive comprehensive health 4.19 care of the highest quality available, regardless of their 4.20 income; 4.21 (2) allows patients the ability to choose their own 4.22 providers; 4.23 (3) focuses on preventive care and early intervention to 4.24 improve the health of all Minnesotans and to reduce later costs 4.25 from untreated illnesses and diseases; 4.26 (4) provides comprehensive benefits, including all coverage 4.27 currently required by law, complete mental health services, 4.28 chemical dependency treatment, prescription drugs, medical 4.29 equipment, dental care, long-term care, and home care services; 4.30 (5) continues promoting Minnesota's leadership in medical 4.31 education, training, research, and technology; 4.32 (6) ensures an adequate number of qualified health care 4.33 professionals and facilities to guarantee timely access to 4.34 quality care; 4.35 (7) does not restrict or deny care or reduce the quality of 4.36 care to hold down costs, but instead reduces costs through 5.1 prevention, efficiency, and elimination of bureaucracy; 5.2 (8) provides adequate and timely payments to providers; and 5.3 (9) is funded through premiums and other payments based on 5.4 the citizen's ability to pay, so as not to deny quality health 5.5 care to all Minnesotans. 5.6 Sec. 3. [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 5.7 Section 2 is effective the day following final enactment.