Governor Calls For Minnesota Health Insurance Mandate

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A Minnesota task force onTuesday recommended that the state require all residents to obtain healthcoverage and that the state use savings from reducing inefficiencies andinsurers' administrative costs to extend health coverage to the uninsured, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The task force, which wasappointed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), also recommended paying physicians based onpatients' health outcomes and not visits or procedures, and challenged stateresidents to reduce smoking and binge drinking and to halt the state's obesityrate.

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The task force estimates that adopting the recommendations could reduce Minnesota's health carespending by 14% by 2011 and by nearly 20% in 2015. The savings are based onprogress in prevention, payment, quality and cost and would be achieved throughseveral initiatives, such as creating healthy living programs, using preventivecare and switching to electronic health records by 2010.

Pawlenty praised the report's "comprehensive fashion" and said it isa "framework" for improving the state's health care system, but hesaid he disagreed with the health insurance mandate and further penalties onsmokers. Pawlenty said that the insurance mandate would place fines or criminalpenalties on low-income residents who cannot afford health insurance and thatthe state already has "hit the smokers hard enough" (Olson, St.Paul Pioneer Press, 2/5).

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