Our health care system is a cruel nightmare for most everyone, and people say it is broken. However, it is not at all dysfunctional for the small wealthy elite who enjoy lavish profits off of everyone else’s hardship. The system works perfectly for the heads of insurance and drug companies and their large stockholders, who not only profiteer on an unprecedented scale by controlling the price and access to a basic human need. They also receive billions in corporate welfare from taxpayer dollars, and they have succeeded in buying off a large number of elected officials. Their reckless greed is bankrupting families and businesses, and threatens to derail our country’s entire economy. Inflated profits, obscene executive pay, endless marketing, and unproductive paper-pushing add up to enormous waste. We spend 20% to 30% more than we need to on health care, and get inferior results for all that expense.
A new issue is the fight over Medical Loss Ratios (MLR), which is a measure of how much insurance premium money actually goes to real medical care. To download our article on this issue, published in the Minnesota Physicain magazine (Dec., 2010), click here.
Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition
The Citizens Federation multiplies its effectiveness by being a key part of a statewide group which it helped found, the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition (GMHCC). Together, we work on state policy and statewide efforts; connect with allies in the Twin Cities and around the state; and approach our federal policy-makers. GMHCC started in 2003, and has four member groups: MN Citizens Federation – Northeast; Seven County Senior Federation (east central MN); Central MN Senior Federation (St. Cloud area); and Northern Lights Association (Iron Range). Together, we have over 3,000 members.
To learn more about GMHCC, click on its website link: www.gmhcc.org.
The priorities of the Citizens Federation and its state group, the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition, are focused on three main areas:
1. Public health coverage: Sometimes called government insurance, single payer, or Medicare for All. This simply means that the government replaces the role of the greedy, wasteful insurance companies with an efficient administration whose purpose is to care for the public, not gouge them. It eliminates the middleman industry that is simply a parasite, draining resources without adding any value.
For more information on our efforts for single-payer at both the state and national levels, click here.
The Citizens’ Federation and GMHCC work with some key ally organizations. One of these is the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (MUHC)
2. State Regulation of HMOS: On our path to achieve state single-payer, we are zeroing on our biggest opponents: The huge HMOs that dominate health care in Minnesota. They control an uncompetitive market; falsely claim they have low administrative expense; shaft taxpayers and low income people with their poor stewardship of the state’s public health care programs; and hide behind their official non-profit status to mask their true goals, which are not in the public’s interest.We aim to remove their role in the public programs; expose their false claims of efficiency; and create strong regulatory oversight.
For more information on our efforts regarding the HMOs, click here.
3. County-based, local control health care: One of the strategies of the Citizens Federation and Greater MN Health Care Coalition is to encourage county governments to replace the private HMOs in running the state’s low income health care programs. 28 counties are already doing this. This can eventually be expanded to offer coverage to local families and businesses, with a lower-cost coverage than what is sold by the insurance companies. This is community-controlled, publicly-run health care from the grassroots up.
For more information on our efforts regarding county-run care, click here.
4. Minnesota’s new Health Care Exchange: Minnesota’s new Health Care Exchange is being developed now for roll-out in October. Projections are that 1 million Minnesotans will be using this exchange to purchase heath insurance plans as part of the Affordable Care Act.
For information about the exchange, how it will affect you, income guidelines etc. click here