Pawlenty presents state health care plan
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's health care system would rely more on market-based solutions, and all but the smallest Minnesota employers would be required to provide access to it under Gov.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's health care system would rely more on market-based solutions, and all but the smallest Minnesota employers would be required to provide access to it under Gov. Tim Pawlenty's plan to fix the system.
On Thursday, he unveiled his proposal for health care reform in the state - a multipronged plan that calls for modernization of a state health care program and establishes a nonprofit Health Insurance Exchange modeled after a Massachusetts program.
Senate Democrats on Wednesday outlined their health care package, which focuses strongly on providing greater access to coverage. Pawlenty was unabashed as he compared that goal to his plan.
"I'm not going to have a fixation on access when the system is overall broken," he said.
The governor said access is just part of the puzzle. He said his plan - dubbed "Healthy Connections" - achieves success in health care's three chief areas of concern: access, quality of care and cost containment.
In his plan, a private sector option for children called MinnesotaCare II is added to allow enrollees access to subsidized private care.
Employers with more than 10 employees would be required to open a tax shelter where employees would deposit pretax dollars. Those funds would then go to the exchange, where health care costs would be processed, Pawlenty explained.
The government-subsidized exchange serves as a virtual clearinghouse, where administrative functions are centralized through a private, nonprofit organization.
Employees using the exchange through group coverage could pay for services with pretax dollars. Individual health insurance enrollees could purchase policies with pretax dollars.
In turn, the exchange would receive the pretax payments for health insurance premiums and make payments to health plans.
Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, who is sponsoring the Senate health care bill, isn't sold on the concept of an exchange. The tax ramifications, she said, could lead to inflation.
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