Minnesota moving forward with public option plan

Minnesota is moving forward with a plan to establish a public health insurance option in the state by 2027. 

Legislation passed May 22 by the state House and Senate will fund an actuarial analysis on the costs of expanding MinnesotaCare, the state's insurance program for individuals with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, to allow residents with incomes above the current cap to buy into the program. 

The legislation requires the state to apply for a waiver from CMS to implement a public insurance option by 2027. 

Groups representing payers and hospitals are opposed to the state's potential public option. A report commissioned by the Partnership for America's Health Care Future Action, a lobbying group that includes AHIP, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and several large health systems, said the proposal could hurt hospitals' finances. 

"Our analysis [suggests] that a public option in Minnesota could threaten the financial viability of the state's hospitals, in turn threatening access to healthcare for Minnesotans, without significantly contributing to achieving universal healthcare coverage in the state," the report concluded. 

Lawmakers also voted to expand MinnesotaCare eligibility to allow undocumented Minnesota residents to enroll in the program. The expansion will reach an estimated 40,000 residents, according to the Minnesota Reformer

Colorado and Washington have established public option programs, which are administered by private insurers. Nevada is set to implement a public option in 2026. 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign the legislation into law, the Minnesota Reformer reported. 

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