Corporate health care interests and right-wing lawmakers in Minnesota have been quietly seeking to eliminate MinnesotaCare for thousands of Minnesotans. Earlier today TakeAction Minnesota leaders fought back – attending a meeting of the Minnesota Health Reform Task Force Access Workgroup to fight for affordable, comprehensive health coverage for low-income Minnesotans.
Federal funds available through the Affordable Care Act could pay for an improved MinnesotaCare in the form of a Basic Health Plan. But right-wing groups in MN are calling for Minnesota to refuse this money – trying to instead push most of these low-income working Minnesotans onto the Health Benefits Exchange instead, where some would see their annual health care premiums double or even triple in cost.
Today’s meeting was a critical moment to make our voices heard. TakeAction leaders made their presence known, sharing powerful stories about how access to MinnesotaCare has quite literally saved lives.
Among the storytellers was Lara Christley. When Lara lost her job in 2010, she also lost her health insurance. That meant that what was most scary about landing in the hospital in 2011 was not her life-threatening condition, but the possibility of crippling medical debt.
While she was in the hospital a counselor told her that she qualified for MinnesotaCare. As she put it today, “the relief I felt was immediate and immense.” This coverage has allowed her access to essential health while she continues to look for employment. “Things do not go as planned in life. When the economy bottoms out and people lose their jobs they lose their income, heatlth insurance…without a safety net we all pay.”
Eliminating MinnesotaCare by failing to take advantage of the Basic Health Plan option would result in a more expensive system for the state and for Minnesotans. A Basic Health Plan would provide better and more reliable care, while costing the state and enrollees less.
Health care corporations and their right-wing allies think that they can push this radical change to MinnesotaCare with nobody noticing. They're wrong. We made that clear today.