MFU member calls for MinnesotaCare public option

ST. PAUL – Today, Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) testified before the Minnesota House Commerce Committee in support of House File 96, Representative Jamie Long’s bill to expand MinnesotaCare with a public option.

“Unaffordable health insurance forces many family farmers to seek off-farm jobs in order to access affordable health insurance for their families,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “Our members have consistently placed affordable health insurance and accessible health care atop their list of policy priorities. This is the year to make it happen.” 

MinnesotaCare provides health insurance coverage to people who do not have access to affordable health insurance. Most members pay a monthly premium and the premium is based on the member’s income. The public option allows all Minnesotans to buy-in to this health insurance. Farmers’ incomes are typically variable, rising when product prices are high and falling when product prices fall. This means farmers may qualify in some years and not others.  

Danny Lundell, who farms near Cannon Falls with his wife, Mary, said the rising cost of purchasing health insurance on their own forced them to seek other options. 

At one point, we had a $20,000 deductible and were allowed $100 to use for wellness visits,” Lundell said. “That was a joke as it didn’t cover the doctor’s visit, let alone any lab fees.” 

Now, Mary is employed off-the-farm to provide health insurance coverage for the couple. 

Everyone needs and deserves health care, and it needs to be accessible and affordable,” Lundell said. “A MinnesotaCare buy-in option would provide health care insurance that we and other farmers could actually afford to purchase and use while providing high-quality care. It would allow the next generation of family farmers the ability to live and work in rural communities. Let’s get this done.” 

About Minnesota Farmers Union 

Minnesota Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization. Membership is open to everyone. Learn more and join at and follow MFU on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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