About Health Reform - Background - Minnesota Dept. of Health

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About Health Reform - Background

When it comes to overall health and the health care system, Minnesota can build on strong foundations:

  • Our uninsurance rate is among the lowest in the nation.
  • We are consistently ranked as one of the top two or three healthiest states in the nation.
  • There is a history of collaboration and innovation in the health care delivery system.

Why do we need health reform?

Despite starting in a good place, Minnesota faces challenges when it comes to health care. Health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate in Minnesota and the nation. Health care spending in Minnesota increased from $19 billion in 2000 to over $30 billion in 2006, a 60 percent increase in just six years. Between 2000 and 2007, the average out-of-pocket cost for Minnesotans with private health insurance more than doubled from $221 to $619. During the same timeframe, the percentage of Minnesotans with health insurance through an employer fell from 68 percent to 62.5 percent.

Health care growth in Minnesota has exceeded growth in income and wages

Chart of health care costs through 2008

The quality of care is uneven

At the same time, health care quality is low relative to the amount spent. Our payment system rewards volume, rather than value, leading to uneven quality across the population. If we look at diabetes, for example, we see that only one in six diabetes patients in Minnesota is receiving optimal care for the condition. Measures by MN Community Measurement (MNCM) show that there has been progress: the percent of patients who have achieved this "optimal result" has more than tripled since 2004. But there is still considerable variation from provider to provider, and even the best providers have room for improvement.

Chart showing the percent of patients receiving optimal diabetes care in Minnesota from 2004 to 2008.

Source: MN Community Measurement

Important first steps

The elements of Minnesota's Health Reform Initiative strive to both improve health care quality and contain costs. They will provide more information and transparency, so that health care providers, health plans, employers and consumers can have the tools they need to make better health care decisions. They focus on the whole person, enhancing the individual patient experience and investing in public health to make it easier for Minnesotans to live longer, healthier lives.


Updated Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 04:15PM