Step therapy legislation shows bipartisan policies work
It's only been a few months since Gov. Mark Dayton signed step therapy legislation into law. The bill was introduced by Rep. Kelly Fenton of Woodbury. It was an amazing moment for those of us who have family members who struggle daily with chronic diseases.
Previously, the step therapy insurer process forced patients to try and fail at multiple medications before a health plan would cover what the doctor prescribed. Many with chronic diseases were often forced to suffer months of pain during the wait. The law now allows patients like my 6-year-old son with epilepsy and his doctor easier and more direct access to these medications and offers additional patient protections with new guardrails.
My son has tried and failed dozens of different medications and therapies. It's heartbreaking to watch your child go through this, let alone when a policy forces them to endure pain or get progressively worse before trying the next best option. It's not fair.
Fenton brought all sides together and a law passed that will provide better health for all Minnesotans. Thank you all who voted unanimously for the bipartisan step therapy law. It will now protect Minnesota citizens for years to come.
A leap of faith
It is gratifying to know that Mr. Clemmer, a recent Bulletin correspondent, recognizes that there is no free lunch, even if his vaunted single payer health care system were to be enacted. Sadly, however, he then goes on, asking us to make a big leap of faith and overlook the problematic aspects of a regimented, centrally run governmental bureaucratized health care program.
To begin with, he points out how involved the insurance companies are in what will be covered or not, along with high administrative costs. According to Daniel J. Mitchell of the Foundation for Economic Education: "Third-party payer is what causes prices to climb. Then, government and insurance companies respond with various cost-control measures that require lots of paperwork and monitoring. Hence, more administrators. In other words, the third-party payer is the problem and regulations and administrators are both symptoms." This is what has happened in Medicare.
State advocates of John Marty's MN Health Plan would just be transferring administration to government bureaucrats. This would result in elimination of private health insurance cos. The Department of Revenue would be tasked with determining how much each of us would be taxed based on income. With all the problems the State has trying to run the motor vehicle system, do you think adding millions of health care subscribers is going to be without problems?
Single-payer ideas offer big promises but result in low quality and poor outcomes with less choice at higher cost. Kenneth Thorpe, health policy professor at Emory University, said, "Even though people don't pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous. There are going to be a lot of people who'll pay more in taxes than they save on premiums."
It is individuals motivated by a desire to improve the lives of others that have discovered cures to diseases. Look at any other country and carefully examine the quality of care. Nothing matches American quality of care. At the end of the day, any single payer system will only add to our staggering deficit and like Medicare and Social Security, might simply implode in a wave of higher taxes, rising debt service costs and, at worst, painful cost cutting measures.
The answer to problems in health care lie in the marketplace. High quality, low cost healthcare is only possible through a free market system. Since the market delivers on providing our food, clothing and cell phones, it can do the same with health care.