Northlanders Discuss “MinnesotaCare Buy-In” Proposal

Lieutentant Governor Tina Smith and Commissioner Emily Piper Host Town Hall for Residents in Northeastern Minnesota

DULUTH, Minn. – Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith started the workweek with a stop in Duluth to talk healthcare Monday morning.

Smith along with Commissioner Emily Piper chose to host a town hall in Duluth on the MinnesotaCare Buy-In Proposal.

For Lt. Governor Smith, the goal of Monday’s meeting at Duluth City Hall was to inform residents of the plan which she believes would make healthcare more affordable for Minnesotans.

Smith and Commissioner Piper spoke to Northlanders yet also gave medical professionals the chance to share their thoughts on the healthcare industry as it stands today.

Under “MinnesotaCare Buy-In,” Minnesotans who buy health coverage on the individual market would be able to buy into MinnesotaCare, a program they believe offers high quality insurance at more affordable prices.

“Making sure that people in all of the northern part of the state have access to health care is extremely important and we think MinnesotaCare Buy-In could do that. It seems very relevant to Duluth. Duluth has great hospitals, great clinics and great networks but if people can’t afford them because they don’t have good health insurance, it’s not going to make any difference,” said Smith.

Smith says under the plan, premiums paid by consumers would cover the cost of the program along with upfront costs paid by the state.

Ely resident Teri Haapala spoke at Monday’s town hall.

She and her husband were forced to sell their second vehicle in order to pay for health coverage.

When her husband retired, Haapala paid nearly $1,000 dollars a month to be covered by health insurance.

“I have never wanted to be any other age until now and I can hardly wait until I’m 65, unless we can get this MinnesotaCare available for people like myself and then I can just wait for that 65 to come when it comes,” said Haapala.

Haapala and Lt. Governor Smith encourage residents to get informed about MinnesotaCare Buy-In.

You’re asked to reach out to local legislators to share thoughts before the 2018 legislative session.

If the proposal is passed through the 2018 legislative session, it would then go into effect for people during the 2019 enrollment period.

In 1992, Republican Governor Arne Carlson and a bipartisan coalition of legislators created MinnesotaCare.

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