Minnesota Lobbyists and Senators Face Off over Health Bill

Thursday, February 12, 2009 by: Kathlyn Stone
Tags: health care, health news, Natural News

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) If passed, the Minnesota Health Care Act would eliminate insurance companies and for-profit administrators from the state`s health care system. It would also be the first truly universal no-strings-attached health care system in the United States.

The bill received its first hearing Jan. 26 in the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee, chaired by Democrat John Marty, lead author of the bill, and was passed out of the committee on an 8-5 party line vote. Just as senators and business association spokeswomen debated the merits of the Minnesota Health Care Act, more U.S. companies were announcing tens of thousands of job lay-offs. Mounting job losses were claimed as a talking point for those in support and those in opposition to the plan.

The universal single-payer plan would require a major shift in the administration and budgeting of health care. In order to pass, it must also inspire a shift in conventional thinking about the role of health care.

This bill, with 25 co-authors, is a more detailed and concrete iteration of the single-payer plan Marty introduced last year.

Tagging the current system "a patchwork mess," Marty said the overhaul plan would cover everyone while controlling costs for businesses and individuals. Cost savings would come through the elimination of layers of for-profit and non-profit administrators including health maintenance organizations (HMOs), insurance companies, in-house hospital and clinic staff devoted to billing and collections, marketing costs, and companies that exist solely to help individuals maneuver through the system. Further savings would come through as a provision for buying drugs and medical supplies in bulk, at negotiated prices.

Together, these administrative costs are responsible for 31 cents of every dollar spent on health care, and they divert actual delivery of health care away from people, said Marty.

Under his bill, more resources would be funneled directly to people for quality care, preventative care, dental care, mental health care and prescriptions. There would be no more restrictions on pre-existing conditions and denial of claims would be a thing of the past. The new system would be under the authority of a 15-member board with representation from different regions of the state, chosen by county officials.

The plan "treats health care like a community good, like police, fire and schools," said Marty.

That`s socialism, according to some business lobbyists who spoke in opposition.

Beth McMullin, health policy director for the Minnesota Business Partnership, said her organization`s members include the 10 largest companies in the state. The group is committed to a "market-based, patient-centered" system, she said, and would oppose a single payer system under "government control."

Stacia Smith, director of workforce and health policy for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber opposes a "government-run" health system, but said the business group is committed to discussions on other health reform proposals.

Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, was more sympathetic to the senator`s plan but said a "public-private" reform approach is in everyone`s best interest.

Twila Brase, president of the Citizens` Council on Health Care, a group that lobbies for "free markets" in health care, says the group "does not support socialized medicine" because it discourages innovation and "promises something it cannot provide."

McMullin added: "In this economy, when everyone is concerned about jobs, this would drive jobs away."

Committee member Sen. David Hann raised the question of job losses under the plan.

Along with provisions for retraining dislocated workers, Marty said the bill would give dislocated health care workers something other laid-off workers haven`t had -- health care.

Marty further defended the plan by saying the goal of reform is to "design a health care system to provide health care, not [give] jobs to people."

But questions remain, primarily on financing, such as: What will premiums cost individuals? How much will businesses be taxed? Specific costs are unknown, said Marty, adding that researching and compiling a cost-analysis report would cost half a million dollars, something the state hasn`t authorized. A foundation is working on a report, said Marty.

Advocates of the plan were elated when Sen. Linda Berglin, a Minneapolis Democrat who chairs the Senate`s powerful health finance division and a leading health care policy expert, recently signed on as a co-sponsor to the bill, something she didn`t do last year.

"I do support value-based [market-based] purchasing of health care, but I don`t think it works if you have more and more people each year who don`t have the ability to afford to purchase it," said Berglin.

Another health measure re-introduced this session is the Minnesota Health Security Act. This bill does not eliminate health insurance but takes a two-phased approach to expanding health insurance. Based on the Children`s Health Security Act passed by the House in 2007, the act mandates affordable and comprehensive insurance coverage for all children by 2010, and extends insurance coverage to all adults till 2012.

Under this plan, adults would pay no more than 5 percent of their household income on health care coverage. Marty`s committee heard the Health Security Act bill on Wed., Jan. 28.

Berglin has also introduced the "Cover all Kids" health insurance bill. The bill allows children of families whose parents have access, but can`t afford private insurance, to become eligible for MinnesotaCare, a state subsidized program for working residents who do not have access to affordable health insurance.

Minnesota Health Care Act -
Minnesota Health Security Act -

About the author

Kathlyn Stone is an independent journalist in St. Paul, MN covering health care news and policies for public and professional audiences. She is the publisher of

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.