Duluth City Council calls for universal health care

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The resolution was sponsored by 2nd District Councilor Joel Sipress and 3rd District Councilor Roz Randor.

“We have a huge problem with our unfunded liability for health care,” Randorf said. “It’s a crisis.”

She noted that the city alone will pay more than $ 16 million in medical bills this year.

Roz Randor

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The issue of rising healthcare costs hit city council hard as it struggled to reduce the proposed 10.72% tax increase by one point through a series of amendments budget Monday evening.

Much of the city’s need for additional tax dollars is due to employee health insurance costs which have increased at an average annual rate of 10%.

“The health care system in this country is broken,” Sipress said. “It’s dysfunctional. It’s actually a little crazy.”

“We are tired of pretending that the problem is not deep. We are tired of pretending that we have this great healthcare system, and if we can just play around the edges, it will be fine. The healthcare system in this country is out of control, ”he said, calling for meaningful reform.

Duluth City Councilor Joel Sipress speaks on the steps of Duluth Town Hall ahead of a protest march in June 2018. Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

Duluth City Councilor Joel Sipress speaks on the steps of Duluth Town Hall ahead of a protest march in June 2018. Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

Chris Rubesch, a local chapter manager for the Minnesota Nurses Association, said, “Here in the town of Duluth, 26% of our town’s budget is spent on health care costs.

“The current employer-based insurance system does not work for employees or employers,” he said. “These groups keep increasing costs, rather than tackling the root causes.”

The resolution argues that the country’s current private health insurance system “creates financial and bureaucratic barriers that prevent individuals from obtaining medical care, increases overall health care costs at unsustainable rates and imposes on individuals, unsustainable healthcare costs to businesses and local governments. “

Dr Mary Owen of Duluth said healthcare providers are spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with the growing burden of justifying care with insurers, which has led to burnout.

Insurance companies often dictate the care our patients receive, from how long they stay in the hospital to what medications we are authorized to prescribe,” she said.

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The resolution cited a 2021 survey which found that more than a quarter of Minnesotans had problems with healthcare costs and almost half postponed or foregone care because of the expenses involved.

Universal care advocates predict that if healthcare costs continue to rise at the current rate, Minnesota’s healthcare spending will double from $ 47 billion today to $ 94 billion in 10 years. This would represent about 19% of the state’s economy, more than Minnesota spends together on housing and transportation.

Proponents of universal care expect it to produce greater efficiency and lower costs. In fact, sponsors of the passage of a federal Medicare for All Act bill would yield between $ 2,000 billion and $ 5,000 billion in health care savings over the next decade.

While universal care has its advocates, some heavyweights in the medical industry continue to express skepticism and concerns about such a change. The American Hospital Association made a statement to Congress, stating, “While the AHA shares the goal of achieving health coverage for all Americans, we do not agree that a pay-as-you-go model. single run by government is good for this country. Such an approach would overturn a system that works for the vast majority of Americans and throw one of the largest sectors of the American economy into chaos.


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