6:41 PM | Posted in , ,
I have been periodically sending questions off to a few Minnesota House candidates. One of those candidates is District 16B candidate, Steve Andrews. Last time around we covered questions about his positions on different education issues. For this round of questioning, I sent off some health care questions. Here is what Mr. Andrews had to say:

1. The rising cost of health care is a concern for many citizens. What do you see as the biggest concern in our current health care system?

The problems with our health care system vary depending on who you talk to. To the small business owners the problem is the rising cost which is greatly out-pacing inflation. My employer saw a large increase in her premiums this year and so she had to increase the amount I pay for my family coverage by 24%. If you're a Union worker you have seen your benefits decrease or your wages threatened to maintain your health coverage because your employer is feeling the pinch of out of control health care cost. Employees in general are worried about losing coverage should they become unemployed. If you're a health care provider you are frustrated by the bureaucracy and administrative cost that is required to collect payment from insurers. And if you're one of the 400,00 Minnesotans (80,000 kids alone) without health insurance, you're just one illness or injury away from financial ruin.

This past year alone, my health care rose roughly 19%. Apart from a one year blip in which our costs went down, we have seen increases each year of at least 10%. A colleague put it best when she explained that you take one step forward with contract negotiations and then take two steps backwards with the costs of health care.

2. What solutions do you have for bringing down the cost of health care?

The easiest thing we can do is cut back on the administrative cost by standardizing reimbursement requirements for health care providers. This will lower the cost of both insurance and health care. There are a lot of good and bad plans out there but one thing is for certain, we cannot afford to continue to ignore this problem.

3. Do you support some form of single payer health care in Minnesota? Why or why not?

If the current trends continue we may very well find ourselves in a position where single payer is the only option left. I am open to all suggestions except for doing nothing and ignoring the problem.

With all due respect to Mr. Andrews, I am going to have to call him on this non-answer. While it is certainly understandable, in the district he is running, to not show support for single payer health care but at the very least he ought to be taking a stand on something. If you are opposed to single payer, make it clear that is your stance and if you are in favor of single payer, it is time to work your tail off and convince those around you that it is the right solution to the problem.

4. How do your solutions differ from those of your opponent?

My opponents have fought for years to maintain the status quo; both of them have had government paid insurance available. That insurance is probably some of the best coverage out there, so they have no problems with the current system. In a few years Ms. Kiffmeyer will be covered by a single payer health care system run by the government called Medicare. Representative Olson has had access to taxpayer provided health insurance for 16 years now. Yet both will fight hard to make sure the rest of us make due with something less. We need better thinking on this subject than the two of them provide.

I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Olson a few years ago when I was lobbying for a statewide health insurance pool and he talked about his health care. Actually, it was more of a rambling about how he had to go to Colorado for something or another and I stopped listening after he talked in more than one circle. As for Kiffmeyer, she and her front group, Minnesota Majority, got into some trouble over their racial purity remarks on health care.

On a side note, the poll for House District 16B is still open and I encourage anyone living in the district to take a few moments and voice their candidate choice (anonymously, of course).


1 Response to "On The Issues: Steve Andrews (DFL) & Health Care"

  1. Michael On July 8, 2008 at 5:05 AM

    Group health insurance plan is a right option for an employer as well as an employee. Very few people are aware about the Florida group insurance plan and its benefit. This plan can be taken by any small or big organization, under which there all employees are provided the protection. A small organization of two people can also qualify for a group health plan. Florida Group health insurance can be attained without much paper work and it also takes your financial burden compare to individual health insurance plan.