The party in power has a solution planned for unaffordable health care

But it could cost you dearly.


Health care and private insurance are nearly unaffordable. As a result, it is predictable that sometime in 2024, the DFL legislature will give Health Care for All Minnesotans its long-sought victory. The party in power will finally force government-run health care on nearly all Minnesotans.

During the last 12 months, the U.S. Postal Service raised the price of first-class stamps by 10 percent — from 60 to 66 cents. Since 2011, the same stamp that sold for 46 cents has increased by 160%. America’s Founders gave the Postal Service a monopoly over delivery of first-class mail because they recognized it as vital to liberty.

With apologies to postal workers, imagine health care run by the USPS, or as is now likely, by the Minnesota government — to which 2023 DFL legislation points us.

True enough, spending and cost are a crisis now, but should we summon the government to take it over?

Health care costs spiral higher and the DFL has a plan

It is relatively easy to demonstrate that health insurance and the cost of medical care is nearly unaffordable and getting worse. If you want to see how costs have gone sky-high, and are headed higher, see this sidebar.

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) legislators, and Gov. Tim Walz, took advantage of their tripartite control of government on a number of fronts in 2023. This included health care which, under their plan, will change dramatically.

DFL leaders are in the process of imposing a government-run health care solution on us. You will hear them talk about a “public option.” Dig into their 2023 bill regarding this public option, and their goals emerge.

The legislation cleverly hides behind a mandated study of the best way to establish a public option health plan, not a study that compares it to private health care models. Their idea is to replace private insurance with a plan operated by the Minnesota government. They see it as government bureaucrats negotiating reimbursement rates with providers, and then administering claims and payment processes (or they might farm this out to mega-third party corporations as the federal government does with Medicare).

To ensure their government plan is cheaper than private insurance, the DFL plan will pay providers at a rate less than Medicare reimburses, though this fact is not clear in the 2023 legislation.

Think about this. The government plans to pay providers 50-70% less than private insurance pays them. If you were a doctor, would you happily accept a 50% cut in pay? If you were a hospital, would you be excited about providing care at 60-70% less than you receive today? Or do you think that anyone with private insurance would gladly accept a 30-50% increase in premiums to help underwrite providers’ losses from the government plan?

Receiving lower payments from a government plan would be disastrous for providers and us. Yet if the government mandates that providers must accept patients from a health plan that pays them 50-70% less, what do you think providers will do? They will close up shop, or consolidate to save overhead, or find something else to do with their lives than practice medicine. Or they will move to a state that allows for a health care marketplace where providers can compete for patients.

How many people would enroll in a government-run health plan? Since it will be paying providers 50-70% less than private insurance, no doubt a near majority of individuals would sign up, and they would save thousands of dollars on insurance premium. Finding a provider, however, will be a different story.

Adopting a government-run public option plan will also drive the cost of private insurance higher. Providers cover their losses from Medicare, Medicaid, and other government plans like a public option by raising prices for individuals with private insurance, or who pay cash. It’s like a hidden tax. Who would willingly continue to underwrite the cost of a government-run health plan, when they can save 50% or more dropping private insurance and enrolling in the Minnesota Health Plan?

Minnesota Health Plan

The new 2023 law requires a government commission to consider whether the “Minnesota Health Plan” could meet the goals of this new government public option. The law required the commission to start meeting in July. Long-time supporters of the Minnesota Health Plan are quietly asserting that the commission will recommend their plan to the 2024 legislature.

Put simply, expect the DFL legislature, with its one-vote margin in the Senate, and its six-vote margin in the House, to pass Sen. John Marty’s “Health Care for All” bill. Minnesota will thereby force single-payer health care on its residents. The law will be signed by DFL Gov. Walz with great celebration.

The legislature will exclude itself and other state employees, allowing them to purchase private insurance at taxpayer expense. But that will make no difference when it comes time to see a doctor or undergo necessary surgery.

When hospitals cut staff, close buildings and clinics, when physicians and surgeons leave Minnesota to practice elsewhere, the kind of insurance you have will not matter much. You will struggle to find a primary care doctor, and specialists who find a way to survive on reduced incomes will have weeks- and months-long wait times.

A postage stamp sold by a government agency that has monopoly power goes from 60 to 66 cents in one year. What will happen when Minnesota bureaucrats run our single-payer health system?

If you anxiously await a check in the mail, but the mail carrier messes up, you won’t die. But if hospitals are understaffed because of a shortage of surgical specialists and other medical professionals, you will suffer needlessly, and you might die.

Keep a close eye on the DFL’s efforts to impose government-run health care on your family and you. Meanwhile, across the country there are smart people working on solutions to reduce health care prices without destroying medical care in the process. Watch for these ideas in the coming weeks.


Dave Racer

Dave Racer, MLitt, is an author, publisher, commentator, and teacher. He has 22 books about health care to his credit as author, co-author, or editor.