The U.S. Supreme Court's June 28 ruling on the Affordable Care Act does not mean our work is done. All stakeholders must work together to help Minnesota implement the provisions in the ACA in a way that works for everyone.
Nationally, we need to make sure that the law doesn't increase the cost of health care coverage for individuals and smaller employers. Under current state and federal laws, premiums paid by individuals and smaller employers will include 8.1 to 8.5 percent in taxes and assessments. In addition, individuals who earn more than $43,320 a year ($88,200 for a family of four) will experience an additional increase in premium costs in 2014. That is not sustainable, and lawmakers need to act to avoid these unintended consequences.
Locally, work continues to help slow rising costs while ensuring the best outcomes for individuals. Minnesota's health plans and health care providers have created unique contracts that change the incentives in the system. For example, clinics treating people with diabetes receive payment not only for the tests and procedures the patient needs, but also for ensuring that the person meets all five measures of great care while reducing the total cost. Early results show that these changes are reducing overall costs and improving care. As the rest of the country waited for the Supreme Court to rule, Minnesota was taking action. These overall changes are taking place through collaboration among providers, consumers, employers and other stakeholders, all of whom share the goal of high-quality health care for all Minnesotans.
The University of Minnesota's health data center estimates that the provisions of the ACA will extend coverage to about 290,000 additional Minnesotans. Our community must work harder than ever to guarantee that these new enrollees, along with the more than 4.3 million people already covered through our member health plans, receive the best, most affordable care.
The writer is executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans in St. Paul.
"The present evils which afflict the country have been produced by overbanking, overtrading, overspending, overliving, overdashing, overdriving, overreaching, overcheating, overborrowing, overeating, overdrinking, overpraying, oversinning, overthinking, overplaying, overriding, overstepping, overfiddling, and over acting of every kind and description, except over ploughing."New York Herald, May 3, 1837, quoted in an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York on the history of New York's banks and cited by the New York Times' Economix blog.