Our Opinion: Health care must be affordable for everyone

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

For many years, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has been an advocate of the Affordable Care Act, but last week he made a bold statement when he said he thinks the law is “no longer affordable” for many.

The comments came as Dayton addressed Minnesota’s health insurance market, where some individual plans are facing double-digit increases after all insurers threatened to exit the market in 2017.

He is the only Democratic governor to publicly suggest the law isn’t working as intended, and we applaud him for recognizing and bringing attention to the need for more affordable health care coverage.

Email newsletter signup

Here in south-central Minnesota, many eagerly await changes. We have heard from many of our own readers who are concerned.

After several years of steadily increasing premiums, top state regulators said this fall that Minnesota’s individual market is in “a state of emergency.” The state scrambled to stop all seven companies that sell insurance directly to consumers or through the state exchange, MNsure, from fleeing for 2017, but the state’s largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, is still exiting.

In addition to increased costs, people have also experienced problems with poor service and long wait times. Some problems have been worse in our part of the state than others.

We appreciate when politicians are willing to look at issues with an open mind, and we ask that our state’s leaders consider these issues when moving forward.

We also appreciate efforts from legislators and others to come up with solutions to the problems, such as possible tax credits, and encourage exploration of additional solutions.