The Minnesota Business Partnership, made up of the chief executives of the state’s largest employers, has long been a clear, respected voice in education policy debates. The release of its new “Minnesota Health Care Performance Scorecard” indicates that the partnership now intends to lend its expertise to health care policy. That’s a welcome development for the state.
After the toxic politics over the federal Affordable Care Act, the scorecard offers the opportunity to move beyond ideology and hit the reset button. It’s a pragmatic, nonpartisan assessment of what works in Minnesota health care and what areas need improvement.
The report, prepared by McKinsey & Co., compared Minnesota with other states. It offers a reassuring overall conclusion: Minnesota remains a health care standout. “The state’s results are particularly impressive in coverage and access, health outcomes and quality of care,’’ the report concludes. Minnesota also has one of the nation’s healthiest populations.
But there’s still much work to be done. Minnesotans in general still drink too much; too many of our young people smoke, and those with back pain often get expensive MRIs before trying less costly treatments first.
Overall, Minnesota “compares less well in health care costs,’’ the report states. In addition, there’s an alarming need for more primary care physicians in many parts of the state. The report also noted a mediocre assessment of Minnesota hospitals in a recent national evaluation of hospital safety. And the percent of 2-year-olds who received recommended immunizations lagged.
The report provides a valuable service by identifying specific areas for improvement. As HealthPartners CEO Mary Brainerd noted in a recent meeting with the Star Tribune Editorial Board, “a better civic conversation” is sorely needed in health care. This report is an excellent start to making that happen.