Right now, a conference committee of 10 Minnesota state legislators is crafting an end-of-session deal consisting of two very different visions for healthcare in Minnesota. The Minnesota Senate’s approach simplifies and expands affordable healthcare by building on MinnesotaCare, while the House proposes to complicate and cut it.
Hiding in the hundreds of pages of budget language is one especially bad idea: an “asset test” that would knock farmers, small business people, and other hardworking Minnesotans with more than $20,000 in assets off of Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.
The legislators who proposed the asset test, such as conference committee member Rep. Matt Dean (R–Dellwood), say this is about keeping “millionaires” off of the public healthcare programs. Well, an asset test is also about kicking a family with three young children that’s building a CSA farm on fourth-generation land near Le Sueur off of Medical Assistance. It is about telling a family near Belle Plaine that they need to buy high-deductible health insurance with the money they have carefully saved for their two boys to attend college, even though their income otherwise qualifies them for the affordable MinnesotaCare program.
The conference committee has the opportunity to make real progress on healthcare. We could address the affordability “cliff” families face between qualifying for MinnesotaCare and being able to afford health insurance on the individual market. We could fix the “family glitch” that leaves spouses and children with no affordable health coverage if one family member has insurance through a job.
Let’s make sure an asset test is taken out of the final bill, and push the committee to take positive steps instead. E-mail the conference committee members now.
Thanks for pushing to build a healthcare system that works for all of us.
PS: For more information on the problems an asset test would cause, here is an article from the Minnesota Budget Project, a partner organization of LSP.