With health care on the top of many voters’ minds this election season, it’s important that people are fully informed on where both parties stand on this important issue.

Apparently, to my surprise, the Star Tribune Editorial Board wants us to pay no mind to the radical single-payer government takeover that many Democrats on the state and federal level are actively campaigning on, and the billions in tax increases it would take to pay for it.

The board, of course, would much prefer that we look more closely at the “middle-way” approaches — the plans that many Democrats are hiding behind while their party leaders and radical base clamor for much more extreme proposals (“Find middle-ground on ‘Medicare for All,’ ” Aug. 24).

This is insulting to voters, and it keeps Minnesotans in the dark about what Democrats are running on this election season. After all, these are the same Democrats who spent more than $300 million to build a failed MNsure website, brought us years of double-digit premium increases and fewer choices, and gave bonuses to the bureaucrats responsible for it. We need an open, honest debate about the direction of health care in this state.

The costs of a government-run health care system are staggering. A study by the left-leaning group Growth and Justice estimated the cost at about $35 billion per year. When you fold that into Minnesota’s two-year budget, we would have to more than double our state budget to pay for it.

How would we pay for such dramatic growth in state spending? The only solution has to be massive tax increases. And we aren’t just talking about a small tax hike — a recent study at the federal level suggested it would take a 10 percent increase in the income tax to pay for the gargantuan $32 trillion federal single-payer plan.

On top of the eye-popping price tag and massive tax increases, Minnesotans need to know another major implication of a government-run system: the total elimination of the health plans Minnesotans enjoy today.

A government plan would require everyone to give up their employer-based plan or the Medicare plans that seniors rely on. Remember the grand promises of “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan”? That all goes out the window under the radical single-payer proposals. Millions of Minnesotans have relationships with doctors or specialists that would instantly be imperiled by this government scheme.

While the Editorial Board would like you to focus on the more reasonable-sounding approaches, I think Minnesota needs a clear-eyed picture of the choice before them this November.

Republicans are proud of our record on health care — we promised voters two years ago that we would have a laser-focus on lowering costs, increasing choice and preserving access to doctors and hospitals.

While there’s undoubtedly still work to do, and while too many Minnesotans are still burdened by a system that Democrats nearly destroyed, the results speak for themselves.

After years of double-digit premium spikes, Republican reforms kept rates on the individual market steady in 2017 and are projected to actually lower premiums as we look ahead to 2018 open enrollment.

Bipartisan reforms helped bring more health plan options to seniors and employees and strengthened health networks, particularly for rural areas with fewer choices. We preserved access for Minnesotans receiving lifesaving treatments and put an end to surprise billing and the sticker shock that came with it.

While Democrats and the Star Tribune Editorial Board want you to ignore the more radical proposals being offered this election season, our view is simple: We think you should listen to the Democrats running for House and other offices and evaluate their plans based on the facts.

The choice could not be more clear. Democrats are backing a government takeover plan that would require billions in tax increases, end employer-based plans and Medicare plans for seniors, and more than double state spending.

Republicans want to continue doing what works: implementing reforms that have already proven to lower health care costs, boosting competition and transparency in the health care system, preserving the plans that are working and fixing those that aren’t, and making our system more consumer-focused.

Choose wisely.

 

Greg Davids, R-Preston, is a member of the Minnesota House, co-chair of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee and chief author of the bill that established Minnesota’s nationally recognized reinsurance program.