As part of its
on-going examination of proposed remedies for soaring healthcare
costs, the Caucus visits with State Senator John Marty who outlines
his recommendation for a universal health plan for Minnesota. The
statewide Minnesota Health Plan (MHP) would pay providers for the care
of all residents, and would cover all medical services including
dental care, prescription drugs, optometry, mental health, chemical
dependency, and home care and nursing services. The plan would be
prohibited from denying medically necessary care to save money.
Premiums, based upon ability to pay, would be paid directly to the
Minnesota Health Fund, which would operate independently of
legislative appropriation. The governing board of the fund would be
democratically elected by regional health boards, which are elected
locally by elected county commissioners.
For the complete
interview summary see:
Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement,
to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed
by Senator Marty.
ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten
responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an
accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.
(6.4 average response)
state-sponsored health care coverage should include everyone, no
(5.7 average response)
seek federal waivers to enact a full coverage health plan for its own
(4.1 average response)
care plans should be financed directly by employer premiums and by
income-adjusted premiums for individuals, thereby replacing health
Jack Evert (7.5) (7.5) (10)
3. Financing. I
don't see much in this plan to reduce the costs of health care, but I
don't see much in the Federal plan either. This cost reduction
(outcome based payments, tort reform, etc) must be part of a
successful health care delivery program.
Ray Ayotte (10) (10) (7.5)
Dave Broden (2.5) (2.5) (0)
1. Coverage. The
term health care coverage is far too general to set a mandate. To
allow individual selection options, the definition of coverage needs
to start with what is the coverage content, etc.
2. Waivers. A
balanced approach to the role of federal and state must be sorted out.
Waivers are simply another twist to the entire complex discussions.
Private section structure and options must be central to the process.
Bob White (7.5) (0) (2.5)
Anonymous (10) (10) (10)
Anonymous (10) (10) (7.5)
Don Anderson (10) (0) (7.5)
3. Financing. If
you are retired and currently are in a health plan funded as part of
your retirement, would you be able to get universal health care funded
DeWayne Townsend (10) (7.5) (0)
Health is driven by genetics over which the individual has little
control. The system could increase co-pays for smokers or folks that
will not do as the doctor directed, but even that is likely to be
Income tax would be my preference, but since employment has some
health risk they could be a source and in some case a significant
Peter Hennessey (0) (10) (0)
1. Coverage. The
federal government is specifically not authorized to do anything like
this. Read the Constitution, read the ruling by Judge Vinson. Under
the 9th and 10th Amendments, a State can do whatever its residents
approve. However, before you plunge the unsuspecting public into a
blatantly communist scheme, do read the history of health care in the
Soviet Union, its Eastern Block satellites, China, Cuba, etc., as well
as the dual private/public system in France, as well as Britain and
the rest of Europe. I have experienced life under such systems.
Evidently you have not, or you would not look for ways to impose it.
Remember we are Americans. Our way is free enterprise. Let the people
buy the insurance they need, remove all the "social justice" mandates,
all the government bureaucracy and all the expensive compliance
paperwork requirements to make the system affordable, and limit
government welfare to only those few whose needs are too catastrophic
for private charities.
2. Waivers. Every
state must seek full waivers from every aspect of that abomination
Individuals must be free to buy the insurance coverage -- just like
every other product or service -- that they want, not what the
government mandates. They must own their policies, divorced from their
employment status, just like everything else. Are you also proposing
to make everything else -- mortgage, utilities, groceries, clothes,
car payments, vacations, etc. -- dependent on employment status and
ability to pay? Or is that the next step? Look; you can turn MN into
a communist state if you want to, and many of us non-Minnesotans
already think you're already there anyway, but do read history before
you do anything so stupid and so evil, and don't come to the rest of
us to bail you out when your … experiment fails -- again. Have you
read Atlas Shrugged yet?
Jan Gomer (10) (10) (7.5)
Scott Halstead (0) (0) (2.5)
3. Financing. The
health care system still needs reform. We need a wellness-based
lifestyle. We need personal responsibility and higher payments for
behaviors that increase our use of medical services. We have medical
ethics issues that need revision. Many people think a pill will solve
all of their problems. We need reform of screening, testing of
medical devices, drugs and marketing of these items.
Debby Frenzel (0) (0) (0)
Polly Bergerson (10) (10) (10)
1. Coverage. Very
strongly agree. Whenever someone loses a job, they could be
automatically enrolled and health care continued for them and their
family. Additionally, nobody should be made poor because of health
care costs due to illnesses and accidents. So, the nine components and
a single payer plan works for me. It should be a plan people can move
in and out of depending on circumstances
2. Waivers. For
residents without coverage availability. And COBRA should be done away
with. It is a completely exorbitant coverage for those who are
generally unable to pay but are locked in because they need to
continue their health care.
Seems like a reasonable way to cover the costs.
Albert Trostel (10) (7.5) (0)
2. Waivers. I'm
not clear what waivers are necessary
3. Financing. I
believe that we should push ahead and establish the health insurance
exchanges. Crucial there are the standards that the policies must
meet to be on the exchange. I know it is a bitter pill for those who
believe the problem is the insurance industry, but we need them on the
side of providing the kind of health care financing that will
accomplish both the access issues as well as the cost control issues.
Bormann (10) (10) (10)
1. Coverage. Who
should not have coverage? The quality of life for all of us suffers
when we deny coverage to anyone.
Someone needs to show the federal government what real health care
reform looks like. The current federal reforms still leave many
people uncovered or under covered and do nothing to control rising
health care costs. Insurance and drug companies are more protected
than ordinary citizens.
David Dillon (0) (0) (0)
Anonymous (10) (10) (10)
John Sievert (0) (0) (0)
D. (Bill) Hamm (0) (0) (0)
1. Coverage. I
absolutely oppose any government run socialist solution to this
problem. I have no interest in increasing either Federal or State
workers to achieve health care.
2. Waivers. If we
are to seek any waivers it should be for a citizen-run cooperative
structure not State-run Socialism.
While I would back health care for all, I will not back "government
run" health care. No socialism, it is unnecessary and counter
Dave Thul (0) (0) (0)
Health care coverage should be completely private.
“Obamacare” is unconstitutional, and Minnesota should not start
planning for it to be implemented.
Private health care insurance suffers because it is linked to
employment. Removing that link would help restore private health care
coverage to millions of Americans.
Laurie Johnson (0) (0) (0)
1. Coverage. I do
not want anything that is either Federal- or state-sponsored, because
it is the fastest way to completely ruin our health care system.
Socialist utopian ideas do not work, plain and simple. People need to
be invested in their own success or they will never do what is
necessary to achieve it, such as responsibly access what is already
available to them in a timely way to avoid unnecessary costs later.
They don't give a hoot about costs if it's all "free".
2. Waivers. They
should only seek federal waivers in order to be completely free to let
the market work in Minnesota, not to put a different state coverage
plan in place.
3. Financing. I
think it would be most advantageous to let the system go back to what
it was before artificial means of manipulating the economy forced
employers to pick up health care as a differentiator for an inability
to pay top performers more money. Many have suggested plans that
allow people to pay for the plan of their choice with tax-deductible
premiums, which seems a much more free market-driven and equitable
solution than to force all into the government-paid type of coverage
that is a breeding ground for waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer
Vici Oshiro (10) (10) (10)
Will Shapira (10) (10) (na)
I give a 10 for
Question 1 and Question 2 but re Question 3, being a socialist, I want
private business (employers) out of the health care business and I
want the government to run it. I think it would be useful if Civic
Caucus would examine how other states are doing this. This is John
Marty at his best, and I am fortunate to have him and Mindy Greiling
for my state senator and state rep.
Tom Neuville (10) (10) (0)
I would support
universal major medical coverage, after everyone has paid 10-12% of
annual family income first, out of pocket. The government cannot pay
for all primary care and expect portability, transparency, cost
control and efficiency. However, nobody should have to file bankruptcy
due to a medical problem either. I introduced my bill, "Common Sense
Solution" to health care crisis in the MN senate in 2007 patterned
after a concept described in a book by Don Larson in 1992. It would
also make a good model for Medicare reform. The plan would be paid for
by delinking employer based deductions and encouraging individual
Medical Saving accounts.
Ray Cox (0) (0) (0)
These plans seem
to eliminate the personal responsibility that must be involved in
health care. In addition, financing the plan by employer premiums
seems to continue a program that has already shown that it doesn’t
work well. The only reason we have employer paid health plans is a
government provision of wage and price controls after WWII. With
today’s high unemployment it shows us all what a poor plan it is to
have employer paid health premiums.
If health care is
an entitlement of everyone in America, why isn’t food or housing also
an entitlement, to be furnished by the government to us all?
We are ignoring the one big basic issue in health care, namely, what
amount of one’s income should be dedicated to health care? We have
raised generations of people that grew up under health care plans that
paid close to 100% of all needs…. that was a very poor idea. We now
need to re-educate people to expect to pay after-tax dollars to health
care, just like they do for all types of other items.
Quie (0) (0) (0)
Carolyn Ring (0) (0) (0)
It all sounds
ideal. However it is not realistic. Will the brightest and most
competent enter the medical profession under such a plan? Where is the
incentive? What are the Boards responsibilities and limitations? The
free enterprise system is still the best.
John Milton (10) (10) (10)
Chuck Lutz (10) (10) (8)
Cam A. Gordon (10) (10) (7)
Rick Bishop (10) (7) (5)
Alan Miller (10) (10) (8)
Bert Press (0) (0) (0)
Wayne Jennings (10) (10) (10)
All my life I’ve
wanted to see medical care as a right. It needs to be universal. Those
of us with medical care consider it one of the most important and
valuable assets. Why should that basic care be denied others? The
current insurance industry makes unseemly profits and won’t change
unless required to by law.
Mary Jane Morrison (10) (10) (6)
I understand there
is a difference between health care plans and health care insurance,
but I do not sufficiently understand the economic consequences of this
distinction for businesses and people, let alone our economy
Bill Kientz (na) (na) (na)
In 45 years in the
insurance business I earned a reputation for being professional,
knowledgeable, and well prepared by my customers, my competitors,
lawyers and the Ohio Insurance Department.
The health Care problem in this country is not an insurance problem.
It is a social problem caused by the uncontrolled cost of health
care…. The best health care in the world is the result of the best
hospitals, the most MRI’S, the best diagnostic equipment, the best
doctors, the best surgical procedures, etc.
The social problem is that “most” of the people in need of this
“unlimited” access to the best health care can’t afford it, and
neither the insurance industry nor the government( federal or state),
including Sen. Marty, can predict the cost or how to distribute it.
Only the government has an unlimited checkbook, which is the power to
tax without the approval of the people.
In the end, giving people that can’t afford it the “best” coverage is
an “entitlement”. That’s where Obama and Sen. Marty are going.
I could not have paid for (my health care cost for the last ten years)
without the Medicare that did pay for it.
Since I believe we are headed for a government-pay-all plan for half
the people in this country let me share my real concern. It is this:
Government management of the problem will add an unacceptable
administrative cost and US Post Office incompetence to perhaps the
most serious problem facing the country today. In addition to this
concern, I also fear that government incompetence will, in the end,
impair the quality of health care that we have enjoyed for several
I wish I had a happy solution to offer at the end but I do not. My
father died when I was 15 years old. He suffered seven years of
terminal Parkinson disease illness. My mother and I took care of him
as best we could. It never occurred to us at that time that our
neighbors, or the government, or the rich people should have to do it.
Paul and Ruth Hauge (7) (8) (7)
The likelihood of
a very abrupt change from a private health care system to a totally
universal system will not likely take place for a number of years
given the strong lobbying opposition. But it would cause some serious
disruption to many companies involved in delivering health care.
Although desirable, such a change must be done with due deliberation
without disrupting the health care delivery to the population.
Mina Harrigan (10) (3) (3)
Now is not the
time to address this; wait a while to see how the national health care
bill shakes out
William Kuisle (0) (0) (0)
Lyall Schwarzkopf (5) (1) (1)
Bright Dornblaser (10) (10) (1)
3. Financing. Not
politically feasible. The perfect can be the enemy of the good.
Obtaining progress to (1. Coverage) and (2. Waivers) will be prevented
by #3 (financing) proposal.
Thomas Wright (10) (10) (0)
I supported John
Marty's Minnesota Health Plan in my campaign for governor. We should
seek a waiver to enact full coverage and beat Vermont to the punch.
Let's be a leader and watch the rest of the country follow MN.
Although Governor Dayton supports single-payer healthcare, our
Republican legislature doesn't believe that government should promote
and protect the public health, safety and the general welfare when it
comes to healthcare because they're beholden to their corporate
paymasters. They're unpatriotic to America and Minnesota because
patriotism is a love of country, but it isn't a love at all unless
it's a corresponding love of the people. There is no love where there
is no care. And if you love the people you care for The People.
Republicans only have allegiance to the love of money not to the
people. At least John Marty believes in correct principles.
Tom Spitznagle (5) (5) (2)
conceptually interesting but how is it decided who qualifies for
premium subsidies and how much of a subsidy they should get? How do
you control those wanting to take advantage of the system thus forcing
others to pay for their expenses (a common problem in most government
Roy Thompson (10) (6) (8)
Friday, Jan. 28--Tom
Gillaspy, Minnesota State Demographer
Friday, Feb. 11--Steve
Rothschild, president, Twin Cities RISE!
Friday, Feb. 18--State
Rep. Carol McFarlane, co-chair, Legislative Committee on Redesign
Friday, Feb. 25--State
Sen. David Hann, chair, Senate Health and Human Services Committee
Recent additions to Civic Caucus website:
--Comment on summary of meeting with Bill Marx,
Chief Fiscal Analyst, MN House of Representatives:
--Comment on summary of meeting with Ted Kolderie, Founder of
--Comment on summary of meeting with Stacy Becker,
Citizens League Consultant on Long-term Care: