Residents sound off on health-care costs
Republican legislators got an earful Monday while in Moorhead to discuss the rising cost of health care. From eliminating unnecessary hospital mandates to having the government assume control of all health care, the handful of citizens attending ...
Republican legislators got an earful Monday while in Moorhead to discuss the rising cost of health care.
From eliminating unnecessary hospital mandates to having the government assume control of all health care, the handful of citizens attending the meeting provided legislators with diverse opinions on what's wrong with care and what needs to be done.
The comments came after Lynda Boudreau, a member of the Minnesota House Health & Human Services Committee, presented a Republican plan to help slow rising health-care costs.
The plan includes:
- Reducing the number of government mandates and regulations
- Improving health-care plan competition by allowing the creation of "for profit" plans
- Expanding the flexibility of medical savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts
"This is one attempt by one group to identify some of the cost drivers," Boudreau, R- Faribault, said.
More than $21 billion was spent in Minnesota on health care in 2001.
On average, families with only one member working spent 8.9 percent of their yearly wages on health-care costs in 2002. That's up from 6 percent in 1997.
Jeff Jones of Sabin told Boudreau and Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, he thinks the government needs to assume the cost of health care.
"According to the World Health Organization, we are 30th in (health-care) quality and No. 1 in health," Jones said.
He said it is wrong to "profit off other people's misery" and said the current system limits access to those most in need of care.
Moorhead attorney Keith Miller said Minnesota doesn't need new malpractice laws. The plan aims to limits the amount a person can receive in non-economic damages at $250,000.
There were 120 malpractice claims filed in Minnesota and 37 in North Dakota last year, he said. That's not an excessive number of cases, he said.
David Martin, public affairs director of the Fargo-Moorhead Chamber of Commerce, said he liked how the plan would eliminate some "wasteful" state mandates.
Minnesota ranks third in the nation in mandates with more than 40 on the books.
Martin also said he hoped the state will consider small businesses when implementing reforms.
Rep. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, did not attend the meeting but said Monday he thinks reform should focus on providing more competition in the prescription drug industry and curative and preventative health.
The suggestions will be part of the discussion on health care next legislative session. Boudreau said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Baird at (701) 241-5535