20 YEARS OF MINNESOTACARE
Legislators hoping to broaden health care coverage to low-income working parents pass a comprehensive health care bill. It comes to newly elected Gov. Arne Carlson's desk with a $500 million price tag and no way to pay for it. With the state facing a $2.3 billion deficit, Carlson vetoes it.
April: The "Gang of 7," a bipartisan group of legislators, crafts a hotly debated bill that Carlson can live with. It provides subsidized basic health care to low-income, uninsured working families. Known as HealthRight, the program is expected to enroll 158,000 Minnesotans by 1997 and cost about $252 million a year. It is funded with a 2 percent tax on providers, an increase in the cigarette tax and a premium contribution from enrollees.
November: The name changes, because a California company has trademark dibs on HealthRight. After a contest at the Minnesota State Fair and more wrangling at the Capitol, the new health insurance program is renamed MinnesotaCare.
Income requirements change to cover more working families; inpatient hospital benefits added.
Benefits are extended to individuals and couples without children.
The state begins receiving funding from the federal government through Medicaid waivers.
To save costs and focus on prevention, the state converts enrollees to managed-care health plans, ending fee-for-service payments to doctors and other providers.
Definition of "family" is amended to include grandparents, foster parents and relative caregivers; children born into the program are covered to age 2.
Asset limits are established for parents and for adults without children.
Income limits for parents are increased to $57,500; more children of modest-income families become eligible and barriers are removed for poor children with inadequate insurance. Automatic eligibility is granted for children leaving foster care or correctional facilities.