Minn. legislature considers vouchers for coverage

Minnesota lawmakers in both chambers are debating bills that would have the state's low-income residents purchase healthcare insurance with vouchers, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

If signed into law, the vouchers would be used to replace MinnesotaCare, which provides $100,000 a year of hospital coverage. Versions in both the House and Senate differ, but the vouchers would range from $98 to $680 a month, depending on the individual's income, and cover 90 percent of a plan's cost.

The vouchers, which are supported by the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, "would cap the state's liability, treat low-income people with respect by giving them responsibility for their own care, and unleash the power of competition to contain rising healthcare costs," the Star-Tribune says.

Neither bill would fully cover out-of-pocket costs. The enrollee would have full coverage of the deductible, but would be responsible for 20 percent of the co-payments.

"For some lower-income people, something like this might work," said Dannette Coleman, vice president for individual and family business at the health plan Medica. "But they need to have to have enough financial resources, and enough ability to make good decisions, and I don't know how you draw that line."

It is unknown what action Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, will take on the final bill should it reach his desk.

For more information:
- Read the Star-Tribune article
- Read the In the Public Interest article