With the support and urging of AARP, the State Legislature passed groundbreaking health care reform legislation, signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The reform package puts Minnesota on the map as a national leader in the health care reform debate.
“We are pleased that our leaders listened to Minnesotans and put politics aside to pass bipartisan health care reform this session,” said Michele Kimball, AARP State Director. “This reform package will begin to stem the tide of rising costs, and empower consumers to improve the quality of their health care.”
Throughout the 2008 Session, AARP worked closely with the governor and health care legislative leaders, including Senator Linda Berglin and Representative Tom Huntley, advocating for comprehensive health care reform. More than 5,500 AARP members contacted either their legislator or Governor Pawlenty to weigh in on health care reform. AARP highlighted several positive aspects of the bill:
• The “health care homes” proposal will help Minnesotans with chronic diseases receive more coordinated care.
• Publishing data on providers will help consumers compare costs and quality.
• Reform of the payment system will help ensure that we pay doctors for results.
• Coverage provisions will help 12,000 more Minnesotans obtain insurance—7,000 through public programs and 5,000 through tax incentives.
• Public health investments will help fight obesity and smoking.
• Standards will be set for electronic health records to make them interoperable among providers and providers will be required to e-prescribe by 2011.
• Affordability standards will be set for MinnesotaCare, ensuring that the premium does not exceed 8 percent of an individual’s income. Standards will also be developed for the private market that will help ensure that no Minnesotan is priced out of the health care market.
“AARP will now be publicly thanking Governor Pawlenty and each member of the Legislature who supported the proposal for coming together and getting health care reforms passed for Minnesotans,” said Kimball.