By Joe Kimball
MinnPost.com, April 21, 2011
The St. Paul City Council passed a resolution Wednesday supporting the Minnesota Health Plan, a proposal that’s floating around the Legislature (but not yet close to passing) for single-payer, universal health care in the state.
The Minneapolis and Duluth city councils previously have voted to support the plan, too.
The St. Paul council will now urge its local legislators to support the plan, which purports to make “health care guaranteed and affordable for every Minnesotan.”
The “Whereas” clauses in the council resolution note:
* At some point in 2009 approximately 14 percent of St. Paul residents were without health insurance
* Approximately 71 percent of those without health insurance statewide are employed
* The Minnesota Health Plan would lower the cost of health care through a single-payer system for all Minnesota residents
* Lower premiums as a result of the Minnesota Health Plan would have a positive effect on the city’s budget
* The Minnesota Health Plan would reduce the need for unnecessary emergency room visits, thus reducing the related costs and relieving area hospitals of a burden that threatens solvency.
The Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition, applauded the vote, noting: “It is time to break the link of health insurance to employment. It no longer works in a society and time where people change jobs frequently and work one or more part-time jobs. When health insurance is linked to employment, people often lose health insurance for themselves (and their families) when they need it most — when they are ill and unable to work.”