Sen. Marty will meet in A.L. to discuss health care options

Published 4:38 pm Saturday, June 19, 2010

On Tuesday, June 29, at the America’s Best Value Inn in Albert Lea, state Sen. John Marty will meet with area business owners and farmers to discuss the impact of rising health care costs on business and the Minnesota Health Plan as a possible solution. The Minnesota Health Plan, authored by Marty, would provide universal, comprehensive coverage for all Minnesotans while dramatically cutting costs and increasing efficiency.

“Although most of the health care reform debate has focused on individuals and families, a very important component that has been left unaddressed is the impact of rising health care costs on business,” said Marty. “This has become even more important over the past year as the economy has put additional financial stress on business, causing many employers to layoff workers. One of the best ways we can help business in Minnesota is to help stabilize health care costs.”

A survey of 180 area employers conducted in November 2009 by Health Partners, Minnesota’s third biggest health insurer, found that the largest barrier to business growth in our state is rising health care costs. According to the Star Tribune, the report found that “[a]lmost two-thirds of companies said health costs jumped 10 percent or more in the past two years, with a quarter reporting costs surging by more than 20 percent.”

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The Minnesota Health Plan would help business by doing the following:

Separating employment from health care coverage, and allowing people to be entrepreneurs without fear of losing access to health care.

Controlling health care inflation.

Eliminating the competitive disadvantage for businesses that are unable to provide health care for their employees.

Allowing businesses to plan more accurately for future growth by stabilizing the currently unpredictable expenses of health coverage.

Saving business owners time and resources currently spent selecting and negotiating with health insurers.

Eliminating employer fiscal concerns over hiring employees with pre-existing conditions.

Increases quality of care by emphasizing preventive medicine.

The forum will be from 10 a.m. to noon.

It is hosted by the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce.