MNsure health insurance premiums in Minnesota’s individual market will drop significantly next year, but the debate wages on concerning the use of taxpayer dollars to hold down premium increases — what’s called “reinsurance” – and about a better approach to health care coverage in general.

Mankato D.F.L. State Representative Jack Considine.

Mankato Democrat Representative Jack Considine said 17 other industrialized nations have a single-payer system, which costs half of what the current system here does and is what he would advocate for in the US.

“They have higher life expectancy. They have lower infant mortality rates. We have better hospitals and doctors but we do not have a better system,” he said.

Considine believes that it’s not likely to happen immediately, though, and said there is a viable option on the state level. “There still seems to be some confusion in this country about what it will mean,” he stated, “In the short term, I think the MinnesotaCare buy-in is a better option.”

A proposal to allow all Minnesotans the choice to purchase their health insurance through MinnesotaCare – a state program that for 26 years has provided some eligible working Minnesota families a more affordable choice to purchase their health care – failed to cross the finish line last session.

Lake Crystal Republican State Representative Jeremy Munson agrees that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to subsidize health care coverage for the middle class, and he said MNsure’s contention that the premiums are lower statewide is misleading.

Republican District 23B state Representative, Jeremy Munson.

Munson checked on the MNsure rates for patients of Mayo Clinic Health Systems and said, “The cheapest plan for BlueCross that includes that health network is $25,608.48 four a family of four in Blue Earth County. That’s the bronze plan and it has a $13,300 deductible.”

He said that means people are paying the same as, if not a little more than, last year.

Muson advocates for less government involvement in health insurance and doesn’t support a MinnesotaCare buy-in or a single payer system. He said addressing the high cost of healthcare is a greater issue. “We need to go after actually reducing the underlying medical costs. That’s where price transparency, or having doctors post the prices to create some competition in the marketplace, is so essential to lowering costs.”

The healthcare price transparency bill Munson authored takes affect next July. It requires providers to inform patients of the costs of several common procedures.