Star Tribune: DFL leaders want new option for healthcare

A public option that competes with Minnesota’s private health insurers could entice more than 100,000 people at a cost up to $364 million per year to state taxpayers.

Those estimates were included in a study released Thursday by the state Department of Commerce ahead of what’s likely to be a divisive debate in the Legislature over expanding the state’s role in insuring Minnesotans.

Minnesotans seeking better health insurance options include Lisa Phillips, a Minnesota Farmers Union member whose family raises livestock and grows pumpkins and produce on 450 acres in Good Thunder, about 14 miles south of Mankato. Phillips said during a public forum that her family recently went uninsured because it couldn’t afford annual premiums of $25,500 and keep its business afloat. She said that decision might have delayed identification and treatment of her husband’s cancer and worsened his prognosis.

Phillips said she wants to pass the farm to her daughter and son-in-law but doesn’t want to bind them to farming unless they have access to affordable health insurance.

“This could be the end of our family farm,” she said.

Read the Star Tribune story.