• Health Care Reform Bill Faces Hurdles in the Senate
  • May 6, 2008
  • Law Firm: Leonard, Street and Deinard, Professional Association - Minneapolis Office
  • After much anticipation, last week the Senate debated its health care reform bill, S.F. 3099, authored by Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL-Minneapolis). Despite a final vote of 39-23, the health care reform package faced bipartisan scrutiny and opposition Thursday as members debated the language for more than four hours.

    According to Berglin, the bill will insure 47,000 additional Minnesotans and is designed to improve health care outcomes. “The goal is to prevent people from needing health care,” said Berglin. S.F. 3099 creates a statewide health improvement plan, imposes a public health improvement assessment on hospitals and health plans, creates a health insurance exchange, restructures the health care payment system, and addresses health care availability and affordability through the reduction of administrative costs in the payment system.

    Another important component of the bill is the establishment of the health care home model, aimed at patients with chronic care conditions such as diabetes. The health care home model applies a patient-centered approach to provide a continuum of care. Under the bill, providers are rewarded financially for implementing and using the health care home model.

    The most contentious part of the debate occurred when Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville) offered an amendment to remove the Health Care Transformation Commission provisions and provide for a study to review the efficacy and costs of reforms. He said despite a number of positive elements of the bill, the creation of new bureaucracy in the system may actually increase costs. Despite a very heated and thorough discussion of the amendment, it failed on a 32-33 roll call vote.

    The Senate bill will be sent to the House, where they still wait to debate their own health care reform legislation, possibly later this week.