Senator Al Franken knows a thing or two about the nation’s health care reform law that was passed in March. He helped write some key sections of it. So he was taken aback today by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s executive order restricting what the Governor calls “Obamacare” from being implemented in Minnesota.
Franken noted that people thank him for getting health care reform passed.
“Even members of the Pawlenty administration thank me.” said Franken at an AM950 interview at the Minnesota State Fair. “I think it’s very bad that he’s turned down this hundreds of millions of dollars. And I saw the proclamation. I think he very much misrepresents what the health care reform bill is. The fact that it brings, you know… According to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), that’s all we can go on. It’s what Republicans and Democrats go on in the Congress, they say it will reduce the deficit. And the whole point of health care reform was to address the unsustainability of increasing health care costs.
“And I’m very proud of the medical loss ration amendment that I put in, it’s now part of the law, which says that health insurance companies that have large group insurance policies have to use 85 percent of the premiums in the policies towards actual health care and use 15 percent for administrative, profits, marketing. But they have to use 85 percent for actual health care and 80 percent in small group and and individual policies. And that’s a very important cost containment thing.
“This is about being on the side of people who were previously turned down for health insurance because they had a pre-existing condition. This is about people who go bankrupt because their health care, they’ve reached their caps — their annual cap or their lifelong cap. This is about security for folks. And it’s also about changing the way we do health care, we provide health care to reflect more like what we do with Mayo.
“If we provided health care with an integrated approach like they do at Mayo, we’d save so much money. We actually do health care relatively, in Minnesota, very well, relative to the rest of the country. I remember having a roundtable where a health care economist in Minnesota said to me ‘in Minnesota we get an “A”, but that’s because we grade on a curve.’”
Earlier in the day DFL House and Senate leaders said Pawlenty’s action may be illegal and they plan to hold hearings to investigate.