$900 million given to insurance companies gone
For Immediate Release
(St. Paul) – July 31, 2017 – The newly announced insurance rates for the 2018 individual market show that the current healthcare system continues to be volatile and can only be temporarily stabilized with an infusion of taxpayer dollars. As a result, Minnesotans are still wondering whether they will pay more or less in 2018 versus 2017, even though the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton pushed through a 25 percent discount in 2017 and propped up insurance companies with a new program, called “reinsurance.”
“Reinsurance appears to be a tourniquet for the individual market. It may help stop some of the bleeding, but it’s a temporary treatment of the symptom rather than a cure for the disease of rapidly escalating health insurance rates,” said MNA President Mary Turner.
While some Minnesotans who buy their insurance on the individual market might pay less in 2018, many could pay more in 2018 than they did in 2017, even after record-high rate increases last year. Employees of small businesses buying from the small group market, it appears, will see even higher increases for 2018 than individuals.
The current private insurance system is broken, and Minnesota taxpayers cannot afford to keep bailing out insurance companies with premium subsidies and reinsurance funding that total almost a billion dollars. The system is broken, and continuing to raid state funds to cut rates is not sustainable.
We call on leaders at all levels to take immediate action that moves Minnesota and the nation towards a publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare system that serves us all when we need it. A majority of Americans now support this. Nurses continue to see patients who neglect their health because they cannot afford high deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses or because they cannot see their family doctor. A publicly financed, privately delivered system would allow broader access to community clinics and the doctors that patients already see. It is the only way we can actually lower healthcare costs, and it is irresponsible to ignore that option any longer.
As we mark the 52nd Anniversary of Medicare, a publicly financed, privately delivered program that expanded access to healthcare for millions of Americans, nurses are saddened to see attacks against healthcare at both the federal and state levels. We are relieved that Congress did not take a harmful step backwards this past week, but now is the time to move our state and our country forward by adopting a system that guarantees healthcare to everyone when they need it regardless of their ability to pay.